Convergence

Five Things You Need to Know About New Revenue Recognition Rules

Knowing us, you can guess where we're going with this. We're not writing a how-to guide on the new revenue recognition rules, which brings us straight to our first thing you need to know: there are folks in the know available to walk you through it. #1: A transition resource group is here to help […]

ICAEW to IASB: The U.S. Is Just Not That into You

This morning we learned that the ICAEW gave up, refusing to go along with the lie that the IASB has been telling itself all this time — "They'll call. They'll realize that they've been wasting their time with U.S. GAAP all this time and they'll call."   Those chartered accountants in England and Wales simply […]

IASB Chairman Asks G20 Task Force To Turn Up Their Hearing Aids

Accounting rule convergence is dead. I know it. You know it. Hans Hoogervorst knows it. Everyone has accepted the fact that the SEC managed to tell IFRS supporters to stick their principles-based rules where the sun don't shine in the most passive-aggressive way possible. Yes, the IASB is still coming up with pathetic ideas to […]

FASB Chair Vows to Finish Term Cooperating, Condorsing, Enverging, Whatever

The last ten years haven't gone exactly the way the bookworms at the FASB wanted. The Norwalk Agreement, signed in 2002, was supposed to be the first step in resolving the differences between international financial reporting standards and Almighty U.S. GAAP. Alas, despite a lot of agreeing, disagreeing, and agreeing to disagree we've ended up […]

Sir David Tweedie’s Accounting Rock Star Status Is Safe Despite His Failure to Converge Standards

In case you forgot, Sir David Tweedie is retiring next week as the head of the IASB. It’s been quite a run for Tweeds and good money says his friends at the Board will send him off in style worthy of a knighted Scotsman (read: getting him blind drunk and some hooliganism). He’s had many accomplishments in his time running the IASB but there’s one goal that will ultimately elude him when he hangs up the eyeshade. That is the dream of converged accounting standards. It certainly has been a noble quest worthy of his accounting “rock star” status but you can’t help but imagine that you might happen across SDT in a pub muttering to himself over a pint about “the one that got away.”

Sir David’s biggest project has been convergence of IASB’s rules with those of America’s Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The two had set a June deadline, timed to coincide with Sir David’s retirement, to iron out their differences. That won’t be met.

Just because he won’t reach his ultimate goal that doesn’t mean Tweeds hasn’t tried. Or been BEEN INFINITELY FUCKING PATIENT with the Yanks.

But you can’t do it all. So now the task of accounting rule copulation will now fall to Dutchman Hans Hoogevorst but if Sir David is feeling a little like a failure, he should know that there are people out there still think he’s pretty badass since he got the SEC to come to the table:

Sir David should not be too disappointed that convergence is not complete. That the process has come as far as it has—and that America’s Securities and Exchange Commission might decide later this year to adopt IASB’s standards—is something no one could have predicted ten years ago, says Nigel Sleigh-Johnson of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.

So enjoy your retirement, oh knighted one. Your double-entry immortality is secure.

The balladeer of the balance-sheet [The Economist]

EU Official Gives IASB a Paternal Driving Lecture on Accounting Standards

Did this Jeroen Hooijer character forget that he’s addressing a knight?

[Hooijer] said world leaders have extended the deadline for convergence from June to the end of this year and likened the IASB to a sports car driving at 160 kilometres an hour to the south of France. “We would like to slow down to 120. We don’t want to stop it. If you drive to the south of France and you only arrive half an hour later, the risk of an accident is 70 percent lower,” Hooijer said.

EU body tells accounting rule setter to slow down [Reuters]

Accounting News Roundup: America’s Fiscal Conundrum; FASB Attempting to Price Convergence; Rent and Healthcare Are Both Too Damn High | 10.20.10

Pledging Our Way to Fiscal Disaster [Tax Vox]
Three-quarters of Americans believe that entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security “will create major economic problems” over the next 25 years. But two-thirds are opposed to addressing these challenges by reducing benefits, and 56 percent are against raising taxes.

And congressional candidates, who read the polls, are scrambling to pander to the free-lunch beliefs of their respective bases. As a result, they are locking themselves into opposing both reductions in future benefits and tax increases.

NFIB calls for action on Bush tax cuts [On the Money]
“Increasing the individual rates will mean that business owners have less money for business investment and job creation,” the NFIB stated. “One study found that a 5 percent increase in individual tax rates decreases business investment by 10 percent.”

Democratic leaders have repeatedly promised that rate cuts for all but the top two brackets will be extended into next year, allowing most businesses to avoid a tax increase. The NFIB states their plan will still hit small businesses.

FASB Seeking Input on the Costs of Convergence [JofA]
FASB issued a discussion paper to gather input from stakeholders about the time and effort that will be involved in adapting to several anticipated new accounting and reporting standards and when those standards, which are part of the FASB and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) convergence projects, should be effective. The board said it will use the input it receives to develop an implementation plan that helps companies and other stakeholders manage both the pace and cost of change.

“We issued this discussion paper to gather the information we need to create a realistic, cost-effective plan for transitioning to the new standards,” Acting FASB Chairman Leslie F. Seidman said in a press release.

Paul V. Stahlin Elected Chairman of the AICPA [PR Newswire]
Stahlin said the United States is emerging from a period of economic turmoil that has “driven demand for new business practices, new regulations, new oversight and new solutions,” in his inaugural speech, titled “Seize the Future.” He said CPAs have been finding solutions for more than 100 years.

“We as CPAs have the unique ability to make sense of a constantly changing complex world,” Stahlin said. “Employers, our clients and our country turn to us to make sense of the most complex developments in business and regulation. We best understand how a business ticks.”

Bob Evans Financial Chief To Depart At Year’s End [Dow Jones]
Tod Spornhauer wants to do something different.


Yahoo 3Q profit doubles, revenue still lackluster [AP]
Bartz and CFO Tim Morse are still in process of turning this thing around.

J&J CFO: Healthcare Spending Growth Is Decelerating [Dow Jones]
Certain medical expenses are simply too damn high.

Jimmy McMillan: Rent is Too Damn High! [CBS]
Speaking of, in case you missed it yesterday (or Monday night):

(UPDATE) Will the Herz and Tweedie Retirements Put the Kibosh on Convergence?

~ Update includes comment from IFAC President Robert Bunting of Moss Adams

Maybe! After all, anything’s possible. The Herz retirement wasn’t exactly expected but since Roberto had two years left in his terms but it’s been suggested that it’s been a rough two years since Barney Frank gave him the tongue lashing of his life over the whole mark-to-market thing.

Regardless, The Journal put it out there that the timing of Herz’s departure causes hella handwringing, most notably on the convergence efforts:

FASB will now have to replace Mr. Herz at the same time that the IASB is alreadycessor to its chairman, David Tweedie, whose terms expires in June 2011. This means that both bodies will have new heads as they enter what could prove to be the end game for the often-thorny process of converging two accounting standards.

This, of course, causes the U.S. GAAP Hawks to squeal with glee and those in pro-IFRS camp to get anxious and will likely lead to heavy lobbying for a replacement that will keep Tweeds dream alive for “one high quality set of global standards” or whatever they’re calling it these days.

Despite the Journal’s anxiety, International Federation of Accountants President Bob Bunting sees the change as an opportunity and things will continue to progress, “While the changes of leadership at the FASB and the IASB offer the opportunity for a fresh look at the convergence process, I would be surprised if any radical change in direction occurs,” Mr Bunting wrote in an email to GC, “The financial market forces and public interest arguments for convergence of the two standards, and possible eventual adoption of IFRS as a single standard continue to be very strong.”

However, since the FASB is expanding back to seven members, that will likely slow the process down (which makes some people happy) even further, especially with empty seats at the table:

The lack of a full board is likely to slow many of FASB’s projects, particularly the move to converge with international rules, said former FASB Chairman Dennis Beresford. “They’re not going to issue anything important on the basis of having only four board members,” he said, adding that Mr. Herz’s departure came as “a complete surprise.”

So, with those seeds of doubt planted, let’s put it to a vote.

Early Exit of FASB Chairman Raises Anxiety [WSJ]

Sir David Tweedie Is Leading U-S-A Chants

Some of you might think that Sir David Tweedie is trying evangelize IFRS all over this great U.S. GAAP land because A) he’s a wily Scotsman who isn’t afraid to wear a kilt to the office and sure as hell isn’t going to let a bunch of know-nothings tell him what’s best and B) he’s trying to throw his title.

Or maybe you just think he doesn’t care if the US of A is down with the financial reporting Kumbaya. Well Tweeds is Stateside putting everyone on notice that if that’s what you believe, you would be wrong. DEAD WRONG.

“The world is moving to a single set of high-quality global accounting standards, and this is too important an area for the U.S. not to be involved…After almost a decade of work to improve IFRS and U.S. GAAP and to seek their convergence, it’s time to finish the job.”

That’s the best he can do. And don’t bother asking him for the title, he can’t give it to you.

International Accounting Standards Board Chairman Sir David Tweedie Addresses AICPA Governing Council [AICPA]

Accounting News Roundup: Goldman CFO’s ‘Unfortunate’ Response; EU Prepares to Scrutinize Auditors; SEC Chief Accountant: June 2011 Deadline for Convergence Is ‘Arbitrary’ | 04.28.10

Carl Levin To Goldman CFO: When You See ‘Sh–ty Deal’ E-mail, ‘Do You Feel Anything?’ [TPM]
Late in the proceedings of yesterday’s epic Senate subcommittee hearing (involving some of the Almighty’s finest), Goldman CFO David Viniar may have had a bit of a Freudian slip when he responded to potty-mouth Senator Carl Levin’s badgering.

Levin asked Viniar how he reacts to hearing about the email. “Do you feel anything?” Levin asked. Viniar replied: “I think that’s very unfortunate thich got a smattering of laughter from around the room. Levin asked Viniar how he reacts to hearing about the email. “Do you feel anything?” Levin asked. Viniar replied: “I think that’s very unfortunate to have on e-mail,” which got a smattering of laughter from around the room. “On an e-mail?” Levin shot back angrily. “How about feeling that way?” Viniar started to backtrack: “I think that’s a very unfortunate thing for anyone to have said in any form.” “How about to believe that and sell that?” Levin asked. “I think that’s unfortunate as well,” Viniar responded.

That unfortunateness is in no particular order.

Brussels to scrutinise role of auditors [FT]
The EU has had it with auditors in their current form and is turning their stink eye towards the profession with a whole lot of skepticism, especially since Ernst & Young got in trouble over you-know-what.

Michel Barnier, the new EU internal market commissioner, joined the debate on Tuesday saying that the role of auditors needed closer scrutiny now that the financial turmoil of the past two years was subsiding.

“I’m convinced that it is the right time to launch a real debate at European level on the subject of audit. This conviction is reinforced by the questions recently raised in the context of the audit of the accounts of US bank Lehman Brothers,” Mr Barnier said.

The FT reports that the EU is kicking off this increased level of scrutiny by publishing a green paper this fall on the subject that will examine the way “audit firms are owned and governed…the concentration in the audit market and its implications on financial stability, the emergence of small and medium-sized practitioners, the audit of smaller companies and international standards on auditing,” and also the supervision of global audit firms.

PwC pays £427,000 damages over valuation work [Accountancy Age]
The original suit was for £35 million; that would a W for P. Dubs.

Miami accountant’s workers accused of aiding fraud [Miami Herald]
Two employees of “Miami’s go-to forensic accountant if you want to get ripped off” Lewis Freeman have been charged with conspiring with him in the embezzlement scheme that he pleaded guilty to last month.

SEC Chief Accountant Says Convergence Need Not Be Completed by June 2011 [Journal of Accountancy]
No rush on that, sayeth James Kroeker, on convergence by June 2011:

SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker told the JofA Tuesday that he would support the boards’ cutting the number of projects due in June 2011, provided there was good rationale for a delay.

“June 30, 2011, is an arbitrary deadline and it’s not one that’s been put in place by the SEC or by our road map,” said Kroeker.

Accounting News Roundup: Is the IASB Giving Up on the FASB?; Wake Forest Grads Crush the CPA Exam; NFL Looking at Rams Buyer’s BDO Tax Shelter Connection | 02.16.10

IASB softens stance on convergence [FT]
We’re not jumping to any conclusions but yesterday the IASB made the statement that it “would no longer pursue convergence with its US peer as ‘an objective in itself'”. Now we’re not entirely sure what “an objective in itself” means but it kinda, sorta sounds like “to hell with you FASB, we’ve got our own plans.”

This revelation was part of “constitution review” in order for the IASB “to justify its public accountability” to its critics. In this review the IASB seemed to be changing its tone on just what convergence is:

In a review of its constitution published on Monday the IASB’s oversight board addressed this concern over the convergence project and said it would “emphasise that convergence is a strategy aimed at promoting and facilitating the adoption of IFRS, but it is not an objective by itself”.

So just spreading the good word about IFRS without any stated objective? Does that sound about right? It sounds a little like financial reporting evangelism.


Wake graduates get highest passing rates on CPA exam [Winston Salem-Journal]
This is in no way presented to make you feel bad about yourself. Here are the 2008 (the most recent data available) passing rates at WF: 93% on FAR; 87.5% on Audit; 83.22% on regulation; 93.7% on BEC. The overall passing rate was 89.7%. The University has had the highest scores five years running.

If you need to go cry in the bathroom, you may do so now.

Rams buyer’s $85 million battle with IRS [Chicago Tribune]
Shahid Khan announced last week that he was buying 60% of the St. Louis Rams. Great news right? Ordinarily, yes but now the NFL is looking into his association with a BDO tax partner that was convicted of helping clients avoid taxes through shelters.

The IRS said in court papers that the Khans hired the Chicago-based BDO Seidman accounting firm and met with tax partner Robert Greisman. The Khans engaged in at least five questionable tax shelters, with names like Son-of-Boss and Dad, and paid BDO $8.5 million in fees, about 10 percent of the alleged tax savings, according to court documents.

Yet when the revenue agency questioned Khan about his returns, he was unable to identify what services BDO provided, an IRS agent said in court documents. In April 2007, the IRS made formal requests for information to Greisman and one of his partners in Michigan in connection with its investigation of the Khans.

Greisman pleaded guilty last July to conspiracy charges related to the creation of the shelters and BDO is currently being sued by Khan for negligence and malpractice. The NFL may have saved them themselves the trouble by letting Rush Limbaugh own part of the team…

Are Weiser and Mazars Making a Run for the Global 6?

As you’re aware, we’re obsessed with the notion of the ‘Global 6 Accounting Organization’ moniker. On the one hand it’s a little silly but on the other, many non-Big 4 firms are making a legitimate run to expand their international exposure.

The latest attempt at piercing the Global 6 comes courtesy of a possible merger between the firms Weiser and Mazars. According to Weiser’s website, the two firms currently have an affiliate relationship:

Mazars is an international, integrated, independent organization, ranked fifth largest in Europe. Weiser has established a joint venture with Mazars utilizing its 10,500 professionals in over 50 countries, as needed, to expand the firm’s global reach.


According to the FT, the combined firms will make a push a building their firm around providing IFRS adoption services:

Mazars and Weiser, which have had a joint venture agreement for a decade, decided to merge with the aim of building a new US practice focusing on the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards by US companies, according to sources.

Weiser partners believe they will have an advantage in the US market working with European partners with extensive experience of IFRS.

We have a little secret to share with the Weiser partners: The Big 4 has European partners will extensive experience in IFRS too. They’re drooling for the IFRS adoption business just like you so hope you’re coming with super-secret plan that will give you a real advantage.

We contacted a Mazars spokesperson who confirmed that the talks were on-going but told us that the contract has yet to be finalized and that both partnerships will have to vote on the proposal. The vote is tentatively set for February or March.

Whether this is the “mega-merger” that was predicted back in August or not we don’t know but the combined firms would have total revenues of $1.3 billion, according to the FT. That’s just a fraction of the Big 4 revenues but it could put them in close competition with the likes of Grant Thornton, RSM International, and BDO.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on the progress of the talks as we learn them.

Mazars and Weiser merger talks point to revival of global practices [FT]

A Note to the SEC

Web CPA, October 30, 2009:

Kroeker reiterated earlier statements that he and SEC Chair Mary Schapiro had made, indicating the SEC was turning its attention this fall to the proposed IFRS roadmap. When asked about the date, Kroeker said, “There will be follow-up on the roadmap this fall.” Asked to define the word “fall,” he noted that the season ends on Dec. 21.

Fall ended at 12:47 pm EST today. Anyone seen this map?

Bob Herz and Jim Kroeker Are Avoiding the Convergence Dance

dancing_herz_Kroeker_jpeg.jpgFor the love of everything that is good and holy, would someone like to be the FASB Chairman? Or the Chief Accountant of the SEC?
We realize that they’re both thankless jobs but we need people in there that are going to make some things happen.


After Jim Kroeker said this:

“[T]he boards have agreed that the projects that they’re working on are areas that need improvement, not just under U.S. GAAP but under IFRS, then I think convergence efforts should continue or would continue without an SEC finalization of the roadmap,”

Bob Herz is now saying this:

“[T]he ball is mostly with the [SEC] at this point” … Herz noted the SEC has yet to rule on the “roadmap” for U.S. compliance with IFRS it proposed a year ago.

So, let’s get this straight: JK is said, “You go first.” Now Bob Herz is saying, “No, you go first.” Does anyone want to introduce these two clowns? Are they waiting for knighthood before they move on this?
We suggest that somebody toss Mary Schapiro in there to A) complete the trilogy of stooges and B) so she can bonk their heads together. That might get them motivated.
Herz: U.S. Convergence Ball Is in SEC’s Court [CFO]

Apparently Accounting Rule Convergence Is Not 100% Total Convergence

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for merge.jpgYesterday the FASB and IASB got together and spent 23 pages convincing everyone that convergence of accounting rules will happen by June 2011. If you haven’t been convinced by the steps one paragraph statement that was issued saying how ‘encouraged’ she is about the latest re-re-affirming.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that there will be a single set of accounting rules — for the entire financial reporting universe — rolled out and everything will be right with the world in June 2011.


But will it be a single set of standards? Edith Orenstein of FEI Financial Reporting Blog:

It is interesting to note that the FASB-IASB joint statement speaks in some places of converging to a ‘single’ set of standards, and in other places of converging to a ‘common’ set of standards. To some, these terms can mean a world of difference. However, the terms are often used interchangably by many different parties. For example, here are some excerpts from the joint statement:

We are redoubling our efforts to achieve a single set of high quality standards within the context of our respective independent standard-setting processes.
Our goal is to develop together common standards that improve financial reporting in the US and internationally and that foster global comparability. Achieving such improvements is consistent with the objectives of the IASB that are set out in the Constitution of the IASC Foundation. It also fulfils the responsibility the FASB has under US law and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s 2003 Policy Statement to consider, in developing standards, whether international convergence is necessary and appropriate in the public interest and investor protection.

(emphasis original)
That clears it up, doesn’t it? So it’s either a “single set” or “common standards”? FEI Blog thinks it’s a progression, “Presumably, once a set of ‘common standards’ is acheived, the next step would be to officially adopt one set (again, presumably, IFRS, which is used in over 100 countries) as the ‘single’ global standard.”
While this may be the case it still doesn’t mean that everything will be the same.
CFO:

“Convergence doesn’t necessarily mean the same,” says D.J. Gannon, a Deloitte audit partner and the firm’s expert on international financial-reporting standards. In fact, Gannon says, there is no expectation that any of “the lingering differences” between rules that are already converged will be handled through standard-setting. “So the bottom line is that companies [reporting results under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles] are going to have to deal with those differences if they apply international financial-reporting standards at some point in the future.”

Good lord. So for all practical purposes, it sounds like there will still be differences. Frankly, we’re disappointed in this revelation. If someone had told us from the get-go that it wasn’t going to be 100% the same accounting rules we wouldn’t have made such a big stink about the absolute impossibility of the endeavor. Going forward we’ll be taking this even less serious.
FASB, IASB Reaffirm Convergence By June, 2011 [FEI Financial Reporting Blog]
“Convergence Doesn’t Necessarily Mean the Same.” [CFO]

IASB: You Want a New Fair Value Rule? You Got It. Just Don’t Ask Us About Convergence

tweedie.jpgThere’s no doubt that you’ve been awaiting the IASB’s new fair value rule with feverish anticipation. Well, your wait is nearly over because when Sir David Tweedie says he’s going to do something, by God, he means it:

In an address to a meeting of European Finance Ministers, which have in the past been critical of the IASB’s response to the financial crisis, Tweedie has sought to ease concerns by announcing that he is on track to deliver a new fair value standard by the end of this year.
“I gave a commitment to deliver on this timetable. We will publish the new standard in November,” he said.

This is all very exciting for Tweedie and the IASB since it feels pretty damn good anytime you stick it to your critics but…
Small problem: The new rule still won’t require loans to be marked to fair value which is the exact opposite plan of Bob Herz and the FASB, “FASB’s proposal will see all assets measured at fair value. The IASB’s mixed measurement model would see banks’ loan books valued on an amortised cost basis.”
Obviously the two rulemakers, fresh off the tongue lashings they received from their respective governments for their part in the worldwide economic meltdown, decided that they had no choice but to put out the fair value fire pronto. Meanwhile, convergence of accounting standards (what the IASB is really serious about and could be the next Big 4 gravy train) remains a pipe dream.
Fair value standard will be released next month: Tweedie [Accountancy Age]

Jim Turley Says E&Y Is Totally On Board with This Global Accounting Standards Thing

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Jim Turley.jpgReally, he said that global standards were ‘imperative’ which carries a much more serious connotation and we’d hate to sell Big Jim short:
‘It is imperative that there is one set of financial reporting standards for the world if the quality and comparability of investor information is to be protected.’
And in an amazing coinkydink, that’s what everyone at the G-20 said too:
More, after the jump

In a statement the leaders said they: “call on our international accounting bodies to redouble their efforts to achieve a single set of high quality, global accounting standards within the context of their independent standard setting process, and complete their convergence project by June 2011.”

Since so many big shots were in the Burgh, last week, JT figured he’d just put it out there that his firm was FIRST! to say, “Yeah, we’re down for redoubling our efforts! Whatever that is, we’ll do anything! Don’t know about the rest of you slackers but we’re damn proud to get on this. June 2011? No problem. Am I right people?”
Ernsters? Ready to double down? It’s imperative, you know.
Big Four firm backs G20 accounting stance [Accountancy Age]

Accounting Professors Aren’t Waiting for Bureaucrats to Get Their Act Together

graduation.jpgEven though the convergence of IFRS and U.S. GAAP seems like a DeLorean ride away accounting professors polled believe that it should be included in the curriculum, according to Web CPA:
More, after the jump

The survey, by KPMG and the American Accounting Association, found that half of the professors who responded to the survey said they thought a low sense of urgency exists among U.S. regulators to adopt IFRS by a “date certain,” while only 16 percent believe regulators have a high sense of urgency.

Regardless of academics’ pessimism about the SEC getting their shit together and making this marriage of accounting rules happen, the slow integration into the American curriculum is still occurring:

Despite this challenge, 70 percent said they have taken significant steps to incorporate IFRS into the curriculum. In addition, 83 percent believe IFRS needs to be incorporated into their curricula by 2011…Given the dynamics of the current regulatory environment, 79 percent of faculty believe that U.S. GAAP should continue to be taught over the next three to five years, while progressively incorporating more IFRS concepts via a compare-and-contrast approach as the conversion date approaches.

A majority of the respondents to the survey also expect IFRS to be included in the CPA Exam by 2012/2013 and in intermediate accounting textbooks by 2011/2012.
For those of you still cracking the books, discuss if your profs have brought this up and what kind of priority they’re putting on IFRS. We’re not holding our breath for anything meaningful from TPTB.
Accounting Professors Urge IFRS Education [Web CPA]

By the Time Everyone is Converted to IFRS, We Won’t Need Roads

doc brown.jpgRemain calm IFRS fanboys and girls. You’re probably sick of our piss-poor attitude with regard to progress on anything remotely related to accounting rule convergence.
Well now you can tell us to suck it as the better-late-than-never anointed Chief Accountant, James Kroeker because he, “assured a roomful of accounting experts that the roadmap is on track,” according to CFO.
Continued, after the jump


We’ll give Kroeker credit for not using the economic crisis as an excuse like every other talking head or bureaucrat in the universe. No, his turning the tables, “Kroeker noted that the crisis may have, in fact, underscored the importance of IFRS. That’s because the discussions related to the credit crunch were global in scope, as were the responses and potential solutions, he added.”
Small issue: Kroek did admit is that even though a few companies could probably be coverted by 2011, most wouldn’t be required to do so until 2016. That’s all very nice but we’re sure we’ll all be driving flying cars by then.
Global Standards Alive and Kicking, SEC Accounting Chief Says [CFO]

Can We Stop Pretending That Fair Value Convergence Is Possible?

FASB IASB.jpgAnyone okay if we just called this whole convergence thing off? Seriously. We understand that many accountants are perfectionists but healthcare reform seems to have a better chance than this whole shitshow.
Yesterday’s Wall St. Journal claims that the FASB’s biggest wig, Bob Herz is stating, albeit implicitly, that the FASB’s fair value rule will be more strict than the IASB’s. Herz-dog, being a little more political put it this way:
Pleasant disagreement, after the jump

“I hope we can come up with something that both achieves convergence and improves the current state” of accounting rules, Herz said at a roundtable discussion on the fair-value issue at FASB headquarters. “We’re obviously keenly aware of the difficulties of achieving both goals together.”
Herz later said in an interview that while FASB would do its best to harmonize its approach and the IASB’s, “we also want to make sure we come up with a good answer” to improve financial statements that U.S. investors look to.

That’s about as combative as The Herz gets, although, we, like the Journal, will take any chance we can get to embellish otherwise, yawn-worthy comments made by wonky accounting bureaucrats.
More:

John Smith, an IASB member who also participated in the roundtable, said both boards will try to agree on a fair-value rule, but each has its own process to follow, and “at the end of the day, we won’t know until we finish the process.”
The difficulty in harmonizing the two approaches stems from the sharp disagreements over expanding the use of fair-value accounting. Smith called it “a religious war.”

Okay, so we’re not really convinced these guys give a damn either way if accounting rule convergence occurs, especially fair value. So would everyone just knock it off and quit pretending like it’s so bloody important?
Besides, this is a “religious war”. And everyone knows that wars in the name of the Almighty (in this case, GAAP) NEVER end, so let’s just count on this being unresolved through the next millennia.

The Convergence Debate, Already Geeky, About to Get Geekier

Academics in the U.S. aren’t too psyched about the benefits of IFRS, according to Compliance Week:

The United States already meets a high level of reporting quality relative to other countries as a result of various “institutional features,” said [Peter] Wysocki [Professor at MIT]. Those include things like an active investor and analyst community, a rigorous audit process, and oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others, he said.
“It’s a little difficult to argue a move to IFRS will result in significant improvement in reporting quality,” Wysocki said. “We’re already at a high level because we already have those institutional features in place.

The debate over convergence has reached Biggie/Tupac fever and now that U.S. GAAP has got American bookworms shouting about how IFRS isn’t all that, we expect that academics on the other side of the pond will get involved and the debate will get fiercely geekier.
Academics: Move to IFRS Won’t Boost Reporting Quality [Compliance Week]