The Importance of International Accounting Standards
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The Importance of International Accounting Standards

An invitation to an accounting standard-setter as a reflection of the times. Finger-pointing at accounting standards as the cause of the current crisis. The speaker’s disagreement and why. What the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is doing to address issues raised as part of the credit crisis. How International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) can serve as one of the foundations of a sound financial reporting infrastructure for the world’s capital markets. Addressing the Credit Crisis. At the heart of the crisis. Compounding factors. The difficulty of valuing complex, illiquid, structured credit securities. Much-needed transparency. Enabling markets to adjust in a necessary, even if painful, manner. Improving standards. Projects underway at the IASB. A broad lesson for the IASB as an international standard-setter with regard to the credit crisis. Sharing a vision of how the global adoption of IFRSs can play a positive role in the effective functioning of capital markets. The Possibility of a Global Standard. The impetus towards global accounting standards. The two sets of standards previously used. The creation of the International Accounting Standards Board and on what that was modelled. The IASB’s mission. Bold objectives. Some history of events between 2001 and 2007. Clear momentum towards accepting IFRSs as a common financial reporting language throughout the world. The U.S. situation and the SEC. The Memorandum of understanding and the IASB-FASB Work Program. A sea change in attitude in the U.S. with regard to IFRSs and how that was made possible. Some details of how and why this agreement occurred. Progress. Target 2008. Making the U.S. transition to IFRSs easier. The speaker’s best estimate re MoU projects and their completion. The remaining projects. Issues being examined now. Pension standards. Applying the “granny” test and how that works. Leasing aircraft and what that means. A Principles-Based Approach Going Forward. The plan of attack for the nine MoU remaining areas. Questions to deal with. Developing standards that make intuitive sense. Stating and using principles. The Future for IFRSs.