SEC staff releases reports as part of IFRS work plan The Securities and Exchange Commission staff on Nov. 16 released reports analyzing the current reporting practices of 183 companies that report under International Financial Reporting Standards and comparing U.S. GAAP and IFRS in 29 different areas. Journal of Accountancy(11/2011) FASB parent highlights concerns about “condorsement” approach to IFRS The Financial Accounting Foundation, the parent organization of the U.S. standards-setting Financial Accounting Standards Board, outlined on Nov. 15 its favored path for incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards into U.S. GAAP. In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the FAF listed a number of recommended changes to the approach dubbed “condorsement.” The FAF pointed to concerns about condorsement, including that it could affect the quality of financial reporting in the U.S. and elsewhere. JournalofAccountancy.com(11/15) U.K. accounting group head warns U.S. against condorsement: The head of the Financial Reporting Faculty at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales warned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Accounting Standards Board that the so-called condorsement approach to International Financial Reporting Standards could be risky. Nigel Sleigh-Johnson said a mandatory transition date has proven to be more effective for U.K. public companies than a gradual transition for private companies. The AICPA supports an adoption option for public companies. Read the comment letter for more information. Accounting Today(10/28) IASB plans to rework IFRS Rule 9 even as it is used in some countries International Accounting Standards Board Chairman Hans Hoogervorst announced Friday that International Financial Reporting Rule 9 will be reworked, despite its adoption in some countries, such as Australia. He said a reworked IFRS 9 rule would more easily integrate with insurance accounting reform and the U.S. fair value accounting rule reform. Reuters(11/25)
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New rules proposed for revenue recognition The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board responded Nov. 14 to calls by the AICPA and others for changes to a 2010 proposed joint standard on revenue recognition. The new proposal contains a number of changes from the previous plan, including added guidance on how to determine when a good or service is transferred over time and simplified proposals on warranties. Find resources and get up-to-date information on this and other convergence projects on IFRS.com. JournalofAccountancy.com(11/14) FASB could take up pension accounting rules again Investors want the Financial Accounting Standards Board to revisit pension accounting rules and make changes that go beyond the International Accounting Standards Board’s new standards, Chairman Leslie Seidman says. “That is a pressing matter we’re going to have to take seriously in terms of adding to the agenda,” she said. The FASB changed pension accounting rules in 2006 but has deferred a second phase of revisions. The Wall Street Journal/CFO Journal(11/14) New lease accounting proposal will still have controversial requirement The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board are considering the comments on an initial exposure draft for lease accounting and plan to release a revised draft early next year. Officials made several concessions in response to criticism of the first exposure draft but left one of the most controversial of the proposed changes: a requirement that companies split their rent expenses on the income statement into an amortization expense and an interest expense. Learn more about the lease accounting project and others at IFRS.com. CFO Magazine(11/2011) Retailers, banks oppose front-loading in lease accounting proposal: Financial institutions, retailers and airlines are pushing the International Accounting Standards Board and the Financial Accounting Standards Board to change a proposal to use front-loading to record leases on balance sheets. Companies have accepted that the centerpiece of the proposed lease accounting standard, which treats leases as a new kind of asset, is unlikely to change, but they say the front-loading issue is particularly sensitive to their operations. The Wall Street Journal/CFO Journal/CFO Report blog(11/16) Hoogervorst dismisses idea of more convergence work with FASB International Accounting Standards Board Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said that ongoing convergence between the IASB and the Financial Accounting Standards Board would not be in the best interests of either standard-setting authority or of the investors they represent. Late last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission floated a compromise approach to transitioning to International Financial Reporting Standards that would retain U.S. GAAP and avoid a “big bang” adoption that small companies believe would be very costly. The Wall Street Journal/CFO Journal/The CFO Report blog(11/25) Other News FASB launches new fair value reporting requirement project The Wall Street Journal/CFO Journal/The CFO Report blog(11/29)
IFRS at Work
Goodwill write-down could cost European banks $270 billion European banks may be forced to write down much of the $270 billion in goodwill on acquisitions made before the financial crisis. Under International Financial Reporting Standards, entities are required to write down certain assets to reflect changes in market value after their purchase. Bloomberg data show that European bank stocks are trading at about 58% of their book value. Bloomberg(11/18)
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European officials criticize international standards for small businesses Some European accounting regulators are pushing back against International Financial Reporting Standards for small businesses. There is no possibility of FRSME in Germany, said Liesel Knorr, president of the German Accounting Standards Board. France’s Jérôme Haas, chairman of accounting standard setter the ANC, called the proposed standards “jargon,” and David Loweth, technical director of the ASB in the U.K., emphasized small-business concerns about the standard. The standards have more traction outside Europe; more than 80 countries are on board. Accountancy Age (London)(11/7) IASB, IFAC agree to cooperate more closely The International Accounting Standards Board and the International Federation of Accountants agreed to more closely cooperate on standards development for both the private and public sectors. The boards have worked together in the past, but the new agreement is meant to ensure more consistency and transparency in their activities. Accounting Today(11/22) Other News IASB, ASBJ meet to continue work on convergence InAudit.com(11/8) Malaysia preps for IFRS rollout in 2012 Star Publications (Malaysia)(11/22) Romania says switch to IFRS will start in January Business Review (Romania)(11/15)
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Re-launched international interest area on AICPA.org is a valuable resource The re-launch of the AICPA’s International Interest Area creates a single, time-saving source for CPAs and accountants to find international information, such as compendiums of organized guides and links, including a growing National Fact Sheets library of nation-specific links. Students and aspiring CPAs will find up-to-date information about international administration of the U.S. CPA Exam, and AICPA members can access compiled links to U.S. income treaties and an extensive list of international accounting communities. The re-launched interest area also features Numbers That Shape Our World, which takes a lighter-side look at international statistics. Learn more in this AICPA blog post. Register today: Learn the areas of IFRS implementation Every calendar quarter, the IFRS Webcast Series, to be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern time Dec. 19, offers practical and down-to-earth sessions that will keep you “plugged in” to what’s important about IFRS standards — including the differences and similarities between IFRS and U.S. GAAP, and updates on the current convergence efforts. Register today.