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SEC Chairman Mum on Accounting Issues

SEC chairman Mary Schapiro's view of international accounting standards and other accounting questions remains something of a mystery.

Tim Reason, CFO.com | US
April 7, 2009

Point Well Taken

Edith, Your point is well taken -- "brainchild" was perhaps not the best choice of word, since the roadmap for eliminating reconciliation predated Cox's appointment (though not by very long). Perhaps "pet project" would have been a better choice, since Cox pushed hard for what ultimately began to look like "conversion" to IFRS. Perhaps the most telling word choice is Schapiro's, who, in her brief remarks, was careful to refer to "convergence."

Posted by Tim Reason | April 09, 2009 09:38 am

Taking it all in

I think it's appropriate that the new SEC Chairman is taking it all in before pontificating on accounting matters; there would be a different expectation if the Chairman were, e.g. a former audit firm partner, but that background is normally what we find in the Chief Accountant, not the Chairman of the agency. So, it would appear reasonable for the new Chairman to survey the landscape and consult with a variety of experts, fellow commissioners, senior staff, and affected parties, and indeed to consider comments that come in, in response to the proposed roadmap, before taking a position one way or another on a matter which predates her service. Separately, although you refer to the Roadmap as the 'brainchild' of former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, its roots lie, in terms of style, in the earlier Roadmap developed by former Chief Accountant Don Nicolaisen who developed the roadmap by which the SEC determined whether to (and ultimately did) drop the reconciliation requirement for foreign filers; and in substance, one can trace the roots of the roadmap to FASB Chairman Robert Herz' call for a U.S. 'Blueprint" as early as 2007, as shown in slide 12 from his presentation at the annual AICPA national conference on current SEC & PCAOB developments, posted on FASB's website at: http://www.fasb.org/articles&reports/herz_aicpa_12-10-07.pdf . If fact, Herz effectively called for a blueprint (although perhaps not in so many words) when he called for the U.S. to, like Europe had done, lay out a timetable and steps to move the U.S. to IFRS, in his remarks at FEI's Global Financial Reporting Conference in Sept. 2007, as noted in Marie Leone of CFO.com's reporting on that conference. Additionally, Herz reiterated his call for a national 'blueprint' on a move to IFRS in his Senate testimony before the Securities subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee in Nov. 2007 http://banking.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Testimony&Hearing_ID=a96cc028-3b6d-4996-b849-768e83af35fc&Witness_ID=34c797ae-2f62-4f97-8d5d-3fcd5ed33dc8. So, if the Roadmap is as you say former Chairman Cox' 'brainchild' then at least some aspects of its lineage would appear to be traceable to the FASB as well.

Posted by Edith Orenstein | April 08, 2009 08:46 pm

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