The Securities and Exchange Commission’s timeline, proposed in late August, presented long-awaited plans for eventually requiring all U.S. publicly traded companies to change their accounting language. But it raised more questions than answers.
Will the plan actually take effect? Or will “international financial reporting standards” become another globalization joke, like worldwide adoption of the metric system? How much money would the transition to IFRS really cost? How and when should CFOs talk to their HR and IT managers about the repercussions this change could have on other departments? How can companies ensure proper controls when running two sets of accounting standards simultaneously (which may be a requirement for the foreseeable future)? What differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS will cause the greatest headaches?
CFO.com delved into these topics all year long, giving finance executives the framework for the many issues that they should at least be considering, as regulators push for the demise of U.S. GAAP and the adoption of what many consider a more principles-based system.
This is not to say that finance execs new to the global rules must run out right now for a copy of IFRS for Dummies. The SEC is giving most companies eight years to adopt the rules, and has given itself three years to cancel the entire project. After all, chairman Christopher Cox often has called the IFRS plan “careful and cautious,” and many critics of the timeline have doubted whether Cox’s successor will make the project such a high priority. Critics also caution that the SEC’s timeline is too ambitious, and that it outpaces other agencies’ ability to keep up. Indeed, GAAP is inherent in many state rules, tax policies, and companies’ own contracts with employees and lenders. Check this space to see whether GAAP prevails in the U.S., even as most countries around the world are requiring their companies to use IFRS.
Happy New Year, Global Accounting
IASB chairman David Tweedie talks about what’s ahead for global accounting — and offers resolutions geared to holding fast against political pressure in 2009.
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.
SEC: Early IFRS Adoption Will Cost Firms $32M
The regulator’s roadmap estimates the costs.
Rulemakers: Take Politics out of Accounting
A top audit regulator and a former FASB member slam the SEC’s timetable.
Can Your CIO Spell IFRS?
The effects of switching accounting languages extend far beyond the finance department.
IFRS May Prompt Revamp of Pay Plans
The differences in the rules could affect the way American companies compensate their employees.
Vive le GAAP
The U.S. rules won’t be disappearing from American companies’ books anytime soon.
One Beneficiary of IFRS Switch: the Taxman
A popular method of inventory accounting, not allowed under international rules, will have some U.S. companies paying higher tax bills.
PwC Sees Revenue Recognition Snags in IFRS
For software outfits, and other companies, too, the consultancy suggests a careful look at potentially thorny accounting issues.
Big Four: Get a Head Start on IFRS
The SEC’s timeline gives credence to a call by auditors for companies to start paying attention to international accounting rules.