The European Commission has concluded that the International Accounting Standards Board’s accounting rules did not make the 2007-2009 banking crisis worse, saying their benefits outweighed the costs.
The International Financial Reporting Standards replaced a patchwork of national regulations for publicly listed European Union companies in 2005. Critics say they aggravated the 2007-09 banking crisis because, at the time, banks were allowed to make provisions for bad loans too late.
But in a report released Friday, the EC said the rules actually did more help than harm. The report compares the situation under the 2005 IAS Regulation adopting the rules with what would have been the case if IFRS had not been adopted.
“[T]he IAS Regulation has increased the transparency of financial statements through improved accounting quality and disclosure and greater value-relevance of reporting, leading to more accurate market expectations including analysts’ forecasts,” the report said. “It [has] also led to greater comparability between financial statements within and across industries and countries although some differences persist.”
Overall, the commission concluded, “the evidence from the evaluation showed that the benefits of the implementation of the IAS Regulation outweigh the costs.”
More than 100 countries use IASB rules. The report said the European Union should have more input and influence earlier in the process of developing standards and that the IASB had provided only limited analysis of the effects of its standards.
The commission also expressed come concerns about the suitability of the rules for long-term investors and about the volume of disclosures.
“This will come as a relief for the IASB, [which] has come in for criticism in the European Parliament over what it sees as too little public accountability,” Reuters said.