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IFRS vs. GAAP

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A tectonic shift in accounting rules from U.S. GAAP to the international standard, IFRS, may be under way. The SEC has pondered making it an option (or even mandatory), meaning accountants across America might need to be re-educated. A single global standard is meant to simplify the world of accounting, but some fear that applying a foreign standard could be a solution more complicated than the problem.

This special report examines the latest developments in the convergence of global accounting standards.


FEATURED ARTICLES
Goodbye GAAP
It's time to start preparing for the arrival of international accounting standards.


RECENT CONVERGENCE COVERAGE
The Beginning of the End of GAAP
FASB chairman Robert Herz announces that a public forum, slated for June, will kick off an effort to move American companies to international accounting standards.
Principles vs. Practices
A new study says CFOs think financial statements are too complex for the average investor.
From GAAP to Global Accounting in Seven Months
Pushed by a business imperative to switch to IFRS, a Morgan Stanley unit finds the devil in the non-accounting details.
Big Four Make Big Plans for IFRS
Each of the top-tier firms is, in its own way, getting involved in college curricula for global accounting.
SEC Decision Draws Cheers
Industry groups call the removal of reconcilation requirements between U.S. GAAP and IFRS a step in the right direction.
Some CFOs Spring to Fair Value's Defense
B of A and Freddie Mac finance chiefs, in different arenas, support the control of risk that mark-to-market accounting provides.
Which Rules Rule? Now Ask FASB
New FAS 162 determines that FASB statements top staff positions and AICPA bulletins — at least until IFRS takes over.
The Long March
FASB tries to help China speak the language of accounting.
Standards and Lack Thereof
Readers write to say that "convergence" is a misnomer; consumer-driven health plans are a cost shift, not a cost control; the Web 2.0 world can expect to be downsized; small companies don't understand cash-flow statements; and more.
Are You "Reasonable"?
The SEC's accounting anti-complexity committee will revisit its suggestions for warding off second-guessing from regulators and auditors.
Will Americans Foul Up Global Standards?
Many outside the U.S. would rather American companies and auditors stick to their own accounting standards, says a panel of experts.
When I Think Back on All the GAAP I Learned in Grad School
A class assignment to vet the plan to bring IFRS to America is met with skepticism.
Fixing the Financial-Reporting Supply Chain
Despite improvements in the process of financial reporting, financials are just as hard to understand, a new survey finds.
Putting Auditor Judgments under a Microscope
The PCAOB's advisory group tears apart an SEC group's proposal to give guidance to auditors and managers in defending their decisions.

MORE RECOMMENDED READING ON IFRS AND GAAP
IFRS: No Longer If, but When
The SEC will release a time line later this year for allowing U.S. companies to use international financial reporting standards.
What If IFRS Replaced GAAP?
The SEC is asking for your best doomsday and celebratory scenarios in response to a 72-question concept release on whether U.S. companies should be allowed to use International Financial Reporting Standards instead of GAAP.
SEC Allows Dual Accounting System
The commissioners erase the requirement that non-U.S. companies must reconcile with GAAP financials filed under non-U.S. standards.
The Dark Side of Global Accounting Standards
Expect loose standard-setting in the oil and gas industries and a ton of litigation if convergence hurtles down its current track, critics say.
FASB's Herz Calls for "Choice with a Timetable"
In Jack Nicholsonese, the FASB chairman asks FEI attendees: "Can you handle principles?"
Is FASB Fading Away?
In its response to an SEC proposal that could quicken the demise of GAAP, FASB suggests it'll have to cede its standard-setting power.
PCAOB's Gradison: Let's Get Cracking on Convergence
A board member for the audit-firm watchdog pushes for the commingling of U.S. and international auditing standards.
SEC Proposes Independence from GAAP
The SEC's proposal to allow foreign companies to only use international standards — and not reconcile their financials with GAAP — is required reading for U.S. companies wanting the same right.
Auditor: Convergence Could Spur Revenue Wreck
Will U.S. tech companies lose out if foreign issuers can use international accounting standards to report here?
IASB Looks for a Parent
As more countries jump on the IFRS bandwagon, the standard-setter decides it needs more oversight.
One Standard, Many Laws
Accounting convergence could be derailed by countries making too many modifications.
IFRS Fueled Much of Chrysler's Huge Loss
Earnings report by Daimler, which still holds 19.9 percent of the Cerberus-controlled carmaker, shows impact of international accounting standards.
CFOs in a Dead Heat on Allowing IFRS
Q2 FEI/Baruch College survey also shows weaker expectations for cap-ex, prices, and hiring, while a presidental straw-poll ranks Giuliani and Thompson tops and Hillary Clinton near the bottom.
Here's How to Fix Accounting's Complexity
Tips for a new SEC committee tasked with simplifying financial reporting.

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