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US Accountants Back IFRS Opt-In

by Leroy Baker, Tax-News.com, Washington

24 October 2011


A majority of certified public accountants (CPAs) support optional adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by listed United States companies, according to a recent survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in the stage of requesting comments from interested parties on incorporating IFRS into the US financial reporting system for a possible decision later in 2011 that may set parameters for convergence of IFRS with US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and a phased timeline for US adoption of IFRS.

However, the AICPA believes that US issuers of securities should immediately be given the option to adopt IFRS as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), while the SEC decides whether to incorporate the standards into US reporting requirements. The choice also would apply during the implementation phase, if the SEC were to accept the standards.

The survey found that support for IFRS remains high among AICPA members, but it also found that, in the absence of a clear regulatory timetable, US firms and organizations continue to delay planning and preparation for the global standards.

“It’s clear the profession is looking for more guidance from the SEC,” said Susan Coffey, AICPA senior vice president, public practice and global alliances. “But whether or not the SEC decides to incorporate IFRS into the US financial reporting system through an endorsement approach, CPAs support giving US issuers an option to adopt IFRS as issued by the IASB.”

Among the findings of AICPA’s latest IFRS Readiness Survey, almost 54% of members support optional adoption of IFRS standards, in line with an AICPA recommendation. Only 18% said the SEC should not allow an option to use IFRS, while the rest were unsure.

However, 44% of respondents said they were delaying IFRS preparations until an SEC decision is reached.

TAGS: generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) | tax | business | accounting | corporation tax | international financial reporting standards (IFRS) | United States | financial reporting | standards

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