“Only a bloody Dutchman”

IASB Chairman: Convergence Is So Over

“The simple truth is that when you have two independent, highly competent boards, sometimes they will agree with each other, and other times they will not,” he said. “It’s not that one is right and the other wrong; they just reach different conclusions. The same would be true if I were to split my board in two and ask them to consider 10 projects. I doubt each smaller board would reach identical conclusions on all 10 projects, so convergence would require compromises to be made. Convergence therefore does not always result in the highest quality outcome. It has served its purpose, but now it is time to move on. [AT]

IASB, FASB Trying to Get Everyone in the Ballpark on Revenue Recognition

The aim is for companies across the world to recognise revenue consistently as part of wider efforts to forge a single set of global acccounting rules to help investors. The core principle that a company must recognise income from contracts when it transfers the goods or services to the customer remains unchanged. But the proposal has been simplified in parts and contains more guidance after several sectors like construction and telecoms raised concerns. “Our proposals will give analysts and investors the confidence that revenue is being presented on a consistent basis, across industries and continents,” IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said in a statement. “We plan to conduct additional outreach with interested parties during the comment period to help people understand the proposed guidance and to listen to any remaining concerns,” said FASB Chairman Leslie Seidman. [Reuters]

Hans Hoogervorst Would Like You to Look at the Example Brazil Is Setting

If anyone over the SEC needs a little help getting their heads around how to best get on board with IFRS, H-squared has found a prize pupil for you to emulate:

Addressing a conference in Sao Paolo, the former Dutch finance minister used Brazil as a “textbook example” of how best to implement global accounting standards. Hoogervorst […] praised the country’s full adoption and decision not to “tweak” the standards, saying this means global investors are “entirely comfortable” Brazilian companies’ financial statements.

Hoogervorst: Brazil embodies ideal IFRS adoption [Accountancy Age, Earlier]

Did You Guys Hear the IASB Wants the U.S. to Adopt IFRS?

While the world is filled with torment, class warfare, famine, racism, war and uprising, those darn kids at the IASB are still concerned with one thing and one thing only. That one thing, obviously, is the U.S. adoption of IFRS.

Anyone else get the feeling Hans and Co. are getting a tad impatient with our heel dragging?


Piggybacking off the post Caleb was too lazy to write himself yesterday, we hear IASB chairman Hans Hoogervorst said in a Boston speech yesterday that adopting IFRS would offer U.S. public companies “the same financial reporting language for both internal management reporting and external financial reporting on a worldwide consolidated basis.” Where this is a benefit for us is entirely unclear to me, but that’s why I’m not chairman of the IASB.

Ol’ Hansy also promised that the U.S. would still play a pivotal role in shaping global accounting rules if we go ahead and trust them and adopt outright now. It is unclear whether that was a threat or not, as it is also unclear if he really thinks we’re that dumb.

This is the IASB chair’s first American speech, and in it he also said that the SEC can serve as a sort of emergency switch should the IASB decide to implement a rule that just won’t work in U.S. markets. “Such endorsement mechanisms provide an important ‘circuit breaker’ if the IASB produced a standard with fundamental problems for the United States,” he told the conference.

“So there is absolutely no danger of importing different enforcement standards from abroad into the United States,” he said. You hear that, kids? Absolutely no danger. Well crap, why haven’t we adopted these fabulous standards already then? It can’t possibly fail, the IASB told us it’s all good!

Hans Hoogervorst Doesn’t Want the U.S. to Worry Its Pretty Little Head About Losing Influence Over Accounting Rulemaking

Hoogervorst said U.S. sovereignty would be protected by the SEC having a final say before any IASB rule is introduced. “Such endorsement mechanisms provide an important ‘circuit breaker’ if the IASB produced a standard with fundamental problems for the United States,” Hoogervorst told an accounting conference. The SEC would remain in full control of enforcement. “So there is absolutely no danger of importing different enforcement standards from abroad into the United States,” the former Dutch finance minister added. [Reuters]

IASB Chairman: You Can’t Stop IFRS; You Can’t Even Hope to Contain It

“It is my strong conviction that the momentum behind IFRS is so strong right now it can only be delayed but it cannot be stopped any more,” IASB’s chairman Hans Hoogervorst said.

The United States has an “extremely important” decision to make this year on whether to replace its own Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)standard with IASB rules, Hoogervorst told a webcast meeting of the IASB’s trustees in New York. By next year two thirds of the world’s top 20 economies (G20) will be allowing or requiring local listed companies to use the IFRS accounting rules. [Reuters, Earlier]

Some Are Suggesting That the IASB Is Filled with a Bunch of Spineless Jellyfish

Representatives of large institutional investors told the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday that they had serious qualms about the London-based International Accounting Standards Board replacing the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board as the primary arbiter of accounting rules in this country.

Speaking at an SEC panel focusing on investor views of international financial reporting standards, the representatives roundly supported the goal of establishing a single set of high-quality global financial reporting standards in the United States in the form of IFRS. But they suggested that the IASB, the current promulgator of IFRS, lacks the backbone and outreach capability of FASB — qualities that would be needed for a global system to succeed. [CFO]

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]

What’s on Incoming IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst’s Plate?

Your next IASB chairman, Hans Hoogervorst, already has a few things on his to do list (right after scratching Sir David Tweedie’s name off the door), one of which involves restoring investor confidence by redoing last year’s bank stress tests in Europe since it seems they were not really credible, “One reason for scepticism was that sovereign bonds on the banking book were deemed to retain their full value, despite the fact that many were trading at steep discounts in the market,” he said. “The fact that some Irish banks that had passed the test later turned out to be insolvent only served to reinforce the doubts in the market.”

Doubts? That’s a kind way to put it.


Speaking at the two-day European Commission financial reporting and auditing conference, Hoogervorst also wanted to make sure everyone is clear on who rules the IASB. Despite appearances that rules are made by a handful of influential Europeans who like to play with accounting regs, he insisted the IASB is a multi-national group in which everyone gets a say. Or rather, he insisted that he’ll be trying to make sure the IASB is perceived as such, “It’s very important that we develop a governance structure that is more inclusive. At all costs we should avoid the perception that IFRS is dominated by a small group of nations,” he said. He did not seem to clarify if he was more worried about the actual structure of the IASB or just the appearance, nor did he mention how many U.S. delegates will have at the IASB’S table if we were to stop dragging our feet and just adopt already.

While auditors are taking a lot of heat for failing to catch just how bad off European banks were, H-squared doesn’t seem to feel they deserve so much criticism as they were simply following the rules. “How critical will auditors be when they see that regulators consider that severely discounted securities carry no risk?” he asked, obviously rhetorically.

Also in attendance at the conference, Federal Reserve senior associate director and chief accountant Arthur Lindo, who is hopeful that we here on this side of the pond will “move diligently towards some form of IFRS in the near future.” What Lindo did not say was whether or not the Fed would also adopt these rules or continue to use their freakish hybrid of GAAP and government accounting that they make up each and every year. Perhaps convergence will mean throwing in some IFRS into their 300+ page financial accounting manual.

Looks like Hans is going to have his hands full for the foreseeable future. Veel geluk met dat!

Accounting chief calls for more credible bank test [Reuters]

Amsterdam’s Hookers Are Pretty Much Okay with Finally Having to Pay Taxes

Which doesn’t come as much of a surprise since the Dutch aren’t the rabid purtian, anti-tax type that exist in some countries.

“It’s a good thing that they’re doing this,” said Samantha, a statuesque blond Dutchwoman in a white leather dress who offers her services from behind one of the hundreds of red-curtained windows in the heart of the city’s ancient center. “It’s a job like any other and we should pay taxes,” she said.

Plus! Since these audits will be as boring as expected, there may be an opportunity to drum up a little business:

Prostitutes were told they would be audited in typically bureaucratic fashion, with a notice addressed “to landlords and window prostitutes in Amsterdam” published last week in the city’s main newspaper. “Agents of the Tax Service will walk through various elements of your business administration with you, such as prices, staffing, agendas and calendars,” the notice said. “The facts will be used at a later date in reviewing your returns.”

Or as a short, stocky, bald man once said, “I want details and I want them right now!”

Meet Hans Hoogervorst, Your Next IASB Chairman


This is the man that is going to make one high-quality set of global accounting standards a reality.

Related: The Wall St. Journal discovers that global accounting rules have been politicized. WHO KNEW?!?

The non-accountant at the IASB [FT Alphaville]
The Politicization of Global Accounting [WJS]