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The Anti-IFRS Candidate
Posted by Tim Reason | | US
February 13, 2009 3:05 PM ET

We're not much given to publishing rumored appointments at, for the mostly self-interested reason that we'd often end up being wrong.

But I've been very politely nudged by our friend, accounting professor and blogger David Albrecht, to acknowledge that Bloomberg — echoed by the the NYSSCPA, among others — has reported that new SEC Chair Mary Schapiro is considering current PCAOB member Charles Niemeier as a candidate for SEC Chief Accountant.

That's a big deal because Niemeier is an outspoken critic of former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox's rush to IFRS and more or less the honorary Che Guevara of the anti-IFRS movement.

I contacted Niemeier, who was very gracious, but declined to comment.

I sat down with Niemeier at the CFO Rising West conference last October to talk about his concerns about IFRS — you can view that video interview here.

Listening to Niemeier talk leaves little doubt in my mind that his appointment would return the U.S. to a gradual reconciliation of IFRS and US GAAP that would likely take the better part of the next decade. Schapiro has already distanced herself from Cox's timetable, so there's a certain logic to the rumor.

IFRS aside, Niemeier served in the past as Chief Accountant in the SEC's Division of Enforcement, so his elevation to the top accounting spot would make sense, particularly given Schapiro's need to establish herself as a tough enforcer.

Comments (1)

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Dear Colleagues,

We are watching, for sure , to a reverse movement of the pendulum , from Mr COX time..

Insofar most of the important new standards -to-be (curre,tly) in the discussion process are conducted jointly between the FASB and the IASB , the so-called battle between US Gaap and IFRS seem now quite outdated : Business combinations IFRS 3 revised, released the US in December 2007 and January 2008 in Europe , is the FIRST global accounting standard ever published ( such standard does not exist for electric plugs...) , and the real good question would rather be the issue of IFRS enforcement in the non-US countries , insofar there is not international police force allowed to send behind the bars CEOs or CFOs that default, as it happened for the Enron case..

It is not always easy to drop the accounting standards you have been accustomed to work with for decades , but how did europeans corporations proceed ,to go from their local gaaps (consolidated accounts) to the IFRS in 2004/2005 : they simply rolled up their sleeves , after the two last "hot" moments of Y2K ( global) and euro transition ( continental Europe).

Just a question of good will ( in two words ) , organization , training , and...some money.

Topic ( convergence) to be followed...


Head of Accounting & tax chapter of the association of the French CFO's
E.M.E.A. representative at the I.F.A.C. Consulting Advisory Committe for the international auditing standards (ISAs).

Posted by Jean Peyret | April 13, 2009 04:33am

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