Accounting & Tax

UPDATE: IAS Sets First Monthly Meeting for London

Big 5 Leads Field of Donors
Ed ZwirnMarch 23, 2001

Less than two months after its 14 members were named, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is now formally in operation.

While the new board and its members won’t be officially working full time until April 1, the constitution empowering it was officially put into effect earlier this month, and a timetable has been set for the group’s meetings.

The first of these meetings, which are open to the public, is set for April 18 to 20 in London’s Kingsway Hall Hotel. Opportunities to listen via teleconference will be available if there is demand, according to the IASC.

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Upcoming meetings will be held monthly through September, initially at Kingsway Hall. Work on a permanent IASB headquarters is underway and should be completed by early June.

There is one meeting scheduled to take place in the United States this year, in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 17 to 19.

According to Thomas Seidenstein, the New York-based executive officer to former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who now chairs the IASC Foundation Trustees, the group has made “substantial progress” toward meeting its goal of gathering long-term commitments toward funding its annual $15 million budget.”

Seidenstein says that the field of donors is led by “Big 5 firms, [which] have a major stake.” Others contributing money include “top multinational banks and insurance companies.”

One “surprise,” as he put it, was the willingness of the “central banking community” to offer major donations.

Agenda Forming

Sir David Tweedie, a British citizen who chairs the new board, has predicted that his group would need only three to five years to make major progress toward unifying U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and the other accounting systems used for financial reporting throughout the world.

And the U.S., via FASB, has already taken steps toward globalization with its proposals to eliminate pooling for mergers and acquisitions and end automatic amortization of goodwill. These changes are expected to become effective July 1. Click here for more on this

But this still leaves lots of work to be done by the new international group.

For example, it needs to name about 30 members to an IAS Advisory Council (IASAC), a new body to be formed in an effort to secure greater international representation than the IASB, members of which are overwhelmingly either British or North American.

The Trustees, who say they will select IASAC members by early April, say they have received 175 applications for seats on the board since publicizing their search earlier this year.