Sir David Tweedie

Japan Getting Cold Feet on IFRS

On the day of Sir David Tweedie’s retirement, no less.

The Journal reports:

Japan is considering postponing the mandatory introduction of global accounting standards for all listed companies beyond the original target date of 2015, amid strong opposition to the change from the country’s business community. Japan’s financial services minister, Shozaburo Jimi, said Thursday at a Business Accounting Council meeting, hosted by the Financial Services Agency, that making Japanese companies adopt the rule—known as the International Financial Reporting Standard—within a few years could be a big burden and costly for businesses. “If Japanese firms are required to move to IFRS, we will need enough time, five to seven years, for preparation,” Mr. Jimi said, adding that discussions over the matter will take time.

Japan May Delay Accounting Shift [WSJ]

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]

Confidential to Sir David Tweedie: Mary Schapiro Isn’t Hearing Encouraging Words on IFRS

Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s annual CFO Network meeting in Washington D.C., Schapiro readily admitted that there isn’t a big push from either multinationals or shareholders to move to international financial reporting standards.

In response to a question from Bank of America’s CFO, Chuck Noski, Schapiro said, “We have not heard from a lot of shareholders that we have to go (to IFRS). We’ve heard the contrary… ‘Why would we take this step toward international accounting standards?’” [CFOJ]

We’ve More or Less Got Converged Fair Value Accounting Standards

As CFO notes, “[T]he largest differences may lie in the differences between British and American English,” but these are the ones you’ve been waiting for.

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today issued new guidance on fair value measurement and disclosure requirements for International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

The guidance, set out in IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement and an update to Topic 820 in the FASB’s Accounting Standards Codification® (formerly referred to as SFAS 157), completes a major project of the boards’ joint work to improve IFRSs and US GAAP and to bring about their convergence.

The harmonisation of fair value measurement and disclosure requirements internationally also forms an important element of the boards’ response to the global financial crisis.

Of course what’s most important is that wily Scotsman and knight of the double-entry roundtable Sir David Tweedie will be able to call it a career knowing that he saw this thing through. He sounds pretty pleased with the effort saying, “The finalisation of this project marks the completion of a major convergence project and is a fundamentally important element of our joint response to the global financial crisis. The result is clearer and more consistent guidance on measuring fair value, where its use is already required.” Hans, you can take it from here.

FASB and IASB Hand-Holding Agenda Nears Completion, Or So We Hear

We’re sure all of you have been anxious for an update since the last FASB/IASB progress report last November, wait no longer.

Here’s what we’re proud of having accomplished since:

Completed five projects: In the next few weeks the IASB will issue new standards on consolidated financial statements (including disclosure of interests in other entities), joint arrangements and post-employment benefits and both boards will issue new requirements in relation to fair value measurement and the presentation of other comprehensive income.

Given priority to the three remaining Memorandum of Understanding projects, as well as insurance accounting: The Boards have made substantial progress towards completion of the three remaining MoU projects covering financial instruments accounting, leasing and revenue recognition, as well as their joint project to improve and align US and international insurance accounting standards.

Provided for further time to finalise their convergence work: The boards have agreed to extend the timetable for the remaining priority convergence projects beyond June 2011 to permit further work and consultation with stakeholders in a manner consistent with an open and inclusive due process. The convergence projects are targeted for completion in then second half of 2011 (however, the U.S. insurance standard, which has not yet been exposed, is targeted for the first half of 2012).

Wait a second, did they really say that putting off more convergence work is an accomplishment? That’s our kind of work right there. IASB Chair Sir David Tweedie and FASB Chair Leslie Seidman didn’t let that little detail deter them from patting themselves on the back for a job well done. Said Sir David, “the convergence programme continues to raise the standard of financial reporting worldwide, delivering much-needed improvements in key areas and providing a solid platform for global high quality standards.” What is that even supposed to mean? Sounds like the same pro-convergence gibberish we’ve been hearing all along.

Someone come get us when this actually means something.

IASB Chairman: We Don’t Issue Low-Quality Accounting Standards

Rule makers concluded this week that “we all could benefit from a few more months to develop these standards, some of which really go to the core issues of many companies,” said Leslie Seidman, chairman of FASB, in a podcast issued Thursday. Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the IASB, said rule makers still intend to finish their convergence work by year’s end. The delay, he said in the podcast, will “enable us to check whether our conclusions will last the test of time. … We would never release a standard before it is ready and ultimately it must be a high-quality standard or you just can’t issue it.” [WSJ]

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]

Sir David Tweedie’s Patience Is Wearing Thin

He may be on his way out the door but still IASB chair David “that’s Sir David to you” Tweedie is still sick of all our heel-dragging on IFRS in the U.S. He hasn’t gone so far as to say we’ll be left in the capital market dust if we don’t adopt tomorrow but he’s clearly fed up with our procrastination.


Via CFO.com:

If they put off a commitment to international financial reporting standards beyond 2011, U.S. accounting rulemakers and standard-setters would impose “unnecessary costs and risks on U.S. companies,” Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, said Wednesday at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce gathering on the future of financial reporting.

The major risks are competitive ones, said Tweedie. U.S.-based multinationals already must fill numerous sets of accounting books. Many must file their financials under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles even as they report on the activities of their overseas subsidiaries under IFRS or the standards crafted by individual nations, he pointed out. At the same time, their foreign competitors can use IFRS for all purposes, even for filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he added.

As is, the transition to IFRS is estimated to cost American companies $35 million per year (remember 3 years of restatements will be required). We’re not sure if he has access to different estimates that somehow make qualified IFRS monkey restatements more expensive in 2012 and beyond than they would be by the end of this year but it seems painfully clear that he means business.

I’m not sure if he missed the memo but we don’t seem as enthusiastic about convergence as we did when we delayed the release of a roadmap in 2008. Three years later, we don’t appear to be any more prepared for the transition than we were then and still have three (or make that four) more good years to drag our heels according to recent statements by the SEC.

How much clearer does Tweeds need it? We’re just not that into your standards.

Sir David Tweedie Confirms Your Accounting Firm Mafia Suspicions

As you probably remember, head knight of the double-entry accounting round table, Sir David Tweedie, is retiring in a few months to be replaced by this guy. Until then, however, the wily Scotsman will be running the show and he’s still pitching IFRS as if the life of the financial reporting universe depended on it. Just like Bob Herz, he’s in this thing until the very end.

CFO has a brief Q&A with SDT and despite the USA’s pussyfooting around the issue, he manages to rush to our defense at the suggestion of haters that the IASB should give us the “throw the bums out” treatment:

Some critics grumble that if the United States does not adopt IFRS, it should be ousted from the IASB and the board of trustees. What’s your opinion?

I get quite angry at some of the comments we get insisting that the United States be ousted. People say that America would have to come around because the U.S. share of global-market capitalization is falling all the time. The complaint is, “We’re not having [the United States] tell us what to do if they don’t use international standards.” I can understand that, and you can have international standards without the United States. But you can’t have global standards without the United States. So there is more work to be done on that issue.

So in other words, suck it world! You can keep your international standards. We’ve got a knighted Scotsman who even said you’ll make due without us. Call it whatever you like, just don’t call it “global” without us. Because you can’t spell “global” without “A”… which stands for…er….”America.” BASTARDS.

[BREATHE] Never mind that. The most interesting bit is that Tweeds appears to blow the lid of the Big 4 omertá:

What’s been your experience with professional judgment? Many U.S. practitioners say a heavy reliance on judgment won’t work in America’s litigious environment.

As a technical partner at KPMG, I was always being asked to evaluate situations that were outside of issued guidance. It’s the same in the United States — you get questions you’ve never thought about before, and there’s nothing in the standards addressing it. So you kick it around with the client, the client partners, and other senior partners in the firm. You come up with a position.

[My approach was to] ring up Deloitte, for example, and say, “Have you had one of these [situations]?” There is sort of a technical-partner mafia that gets together and says, “Yeah, we had one of these.” So, in a way, the profession fixes the problems.

So whether this is happening under the nose of the brass or with their full and unmitigated support can’t be determined, although we won’t be surprised if the old man ends up “retiring” early.

Tweedie Takes a Bow [CFO]

SEC Intends to Take All the Time It Needs to Make Up Its Mind on IFRS

So any retiring knights out there feeling anxious can just cool it. And rubbing elbows with Deloitte talking about how great things will be isn’t going to make the Commission work faster.

That being said, Jim Kroeker will have you know that things are going along swimmingly, per the Commission’s press release:

“The staff has invested significant time and effort in executing the Work Plan, and we’ve made great progress to date,” said SEC Chief Accountant Jim Kroeker. “This progress report emphasizes the importance of transparency in the staff’s activities, and can help the public’s understanding of the magnitude of this project and the staff’s progress.”

So make no mistake; the SEC is on this. However, they do have some concerns, “[W]hether the international accounting rule maker is truly independent and whether IFRS is high quality.”

So if you could address those two things, that would be appreciated. Sir David.

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]

Off-Balance Sheet Accounting 2.0

“They will help investors to better understand off-balance sheet risks, and to alert them to the possibility of so-called window dressing transactions occurring at the end of a reporting period.”

~ Sir David Tweedie talking up the new rules that were published by the IASB today.

Some French Guy Still Trying To Tell the U.S. What to Do Re: IFRS

Look, pal. We get that you’re anxious to slap these sets of accounting rules together like an IKEA ottoman. We also get that you and a certain knight want – nay – need the RW&B to be on board.

But we don’t know who you’re trying to boss here. See, we’re fairly certain you’d be speaking German if it wasn’t for us. Furthermore, in case you haven’t noticed, we like dragging things out until the last possible minute. Or just ignoring things until we have a giant mess on our hands and then we try cleaning up. Why would we treat IFRS any different?


We understand it’s a new century, millennium and you guys have a rough go in the World Cup but you can give it a rest.

We’ll get to IFRS when we’re good and ready and just because today is Bob Herz’s last day at the FASB doesn’t mean you need to get all anxious about it:

The US is due to make a decision about whether fully buy in to international standards in the latter half of next year. There has been speculation that the appointment of a new chairman for the US standard setter, FASB, could determine which way the world’s biggest economy will go on international standards.

In a speech yesterday to a conference organised by European financial think tank EUROFI, Barnier welcomed the involvement of the US in the Basel talks on financial regulation. But he added that the US should not part company with IFRS.

“It’s essential that we adopt the same prudential framework. I say this very simply, we cannot afford to take the risk of divergence in this area. And this is also the case for accounting standards,” he said.

EU chief urges US to buy into IFRS [Accountancy Age]

Accounting News Roundup: AIG Rolls Out Repayment Plan; Wal-Mart Names New CFO; IRS Files Lien Against Sharpton | 09.30.10

AIG to Convert Preferred Shares Into Common to Repay U.S. [Bloomberg]
“American International Group Inc. agreed with U.S. regulators to repay its bailout by converting the government’s holdings into common shares for sale, a step toward independence for the insurer whose near collapse two years ago threatened the global economy.

The U.S. Treasury Department will convert its preferred stake of about $49.1 billion for 1.66 billion shares of common stock and then sell the holdings in the open market, AIG said today in a statement. Common shareholders, who hold about 20 percent of the company, will have their stake dilutent, the insurer said. Those investors will receive as many as 75 million warrants with a strike price of $45.”

Spain loses AAA status, stands firm on austerity [Reuters]
“Spain lost its final top-line debt rating on Thursday as the government sought backing from lawmakers for a budget it hopes will be austere enough to convince markets it can slash the deficit at a time of economic weakness.

Moody’s become the third and last rating agency to cut Spain out of the highest AAA category which has helped it finance its debt relatively cheaply. The one-notch cut had been expected and the agency said it hoped not to have to cut again soon, bolstering Spanish debt markets.

But the agency also said a poor growth outlook meant Madrid would have to take further steps to meet its deficit targets in years to come. The Bank of Spain said a sluggish recovery would slow further in the third quarter.”

IASB head knows all about cross-channel frictions [FT]
“In a decade spent overseeing international accounting standards, Sir David Tweedie has become an amateur student of French psychology.

The Scot has locked horns with France several times as head of the International Accounting Standards Board, the body that sets the International Financial Reporting Standards rules followed in the European Union and other countries.

His fascination for his adversary is such that he recently thrust into my hands an academic paper entitled “France and the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ Model: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives”. The article explores the hostility often felt in France towards the British and American way of doing business.”

McDonald’s May Drop Health Plan [WSJ]
“While many restaurants don’t offer health coverage, McDonald’s provides mini-med plans for workers at 10,500 U.S. locations, most of them franchised. A single worker can pay $14 a week for a plan that caps annual benefits at $2,000, or about $32 a week to get coverage up to $10,000 a year.

Last week, a senior McDonald’s official informed the Department of Health and Human Services that the restaurant chain’s insurer won’t meet a 2011 requirement to spend at least 80% to 85% of its premium revenue on medical care.”


Wal-Mart picks successor to longtime CFO [Reuters]
“Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) named Charles Holley to succeed Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe, who will retire on November 30.

The world’s biggest retailer said on Wednesday that Schoewe, 57, will stay at Wal-Mart until January 31 to help with the transition.

Holley, 54, joined Wal-Mart in 1994 and is treasurer and executive vice president of finance.

Those credentials should make him a capable CFO, said Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi, though Wall Street could view the transition negatively since it adds uncertainty.”

All We Are Saying Is Give Dick Fuld a Chance [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
Names being floated to replace Larry Summers as the National Economic Council include Citigroup Chairman Dick Parsons and Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy. Jonathan Weil sees where Obama is going with this:

“There’s much we can learn about the kind of person the president is looking for by studying these two contenders’ credentials. In addition to CEO chops, it seems Obama is seeking someone who also has served on the board of directors of at least one company that either had a massive accounting scandal, blew up so spectacularly that it threatened to take down the global financial system, or both.”

…and doesn’t think he’s aiming high enough. He has some of his own suggestions.

Memo to Media Departments: Here Are Three Ways to Make My Job Easier – rebuttal [AccMan]
Dennis Howlett’s rebuttal to Adrienne’s plea to PR types.

Sharpton faced with fresh tax woe [Tax Watchdog]
The Rev. owes around $538k to the IRS for 2009. His lawyer is a tad confused by the whole thing and says everything will paid up by Oct. 15th.

Accounting News Roundup: GM’s Magic Goodwill; IRAs Under Attack By IRS; Grant Thornton Names Non-exec Directors in UK | 09.09.10

Home Buyer Tax Credit Price Tag: $22 Billion [WSJ]
“The total estimated cost of the home buyer tax credits is about $22 billion, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office last week. The report looked at all three of the tax credits, which were in effect from April 2008 through June 30, 2010.

As we’ve written, the credits did a lot to juice sales. But many have argued that the government incentives basically pulled folks who were already planningto the market earlier. And certainly, we’ve been seeing the post-credit hangover: Home resales dropped to record lows in July. Talk of a housing double-dip is in the air.”

How GM Made $30 Billion Appear From Thin Air [Jonathan Weil/Bloomberg]
General Motors somehow ended up with $30 billion in goodwill on their balance sheet that was on their recent registration statement. Funny thing – the company only has equity of $23.9 billion. Another funny thing – the company said that the goodwill number would have been less if they were a better credit risk.

But don’t worry, apparently this is all in accordance with fresh-start accounting.

Bringing the US on board [Accountancy Age]
“Sir David is a realist – the two accounting codes will never match. ‘There’s absolutely no way [international standards] can converge with US GAAP – you can’t converge two and a half thousand pages with seventeen and a half thousand. There are going to be differences,’ he said.”

The New Threat To Your IRA: An IRS Crackdown [Forbes]
“After years of haphazard enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service is starting to systematically search out violations of the convoluted rules governing individual retirement accounts. There’s a lot at stake. Americans hold $4.3 trillion in IRAS, and the cost of even innocent mistakes can be steep; if you miss taking a required payout from your IRA, Uncle Sam will demand half of the amount you forgot to take as a penalty.

The IRS was prodded to act by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. In a report earlier this year it concluded that IRA violations have been growing and estimated that more than half a million taxpayers either missed required payouts or contributed more than allowed to IRAS during 2006 and 2007.”


Grant Thornton responds to non-executive code [FT]
“Grant Thornton has become the first major UK auditor to respond to new governance rules by announcing the appointment of independent non-executive directors to help oversee its business.

The accountant’s UK arm said on Wednesday that it had recruited Richard Eyre, a media industry veteran, Caroline Goodall, a lawyer, and Ed Warner, the head of the governing body for UK athletics, to fill the posts.”

Thomson Reuters Releases First iPhone(R) App for Tax and Accounting Professionals [PR Newswire]
“The Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters is pleased to announce the release of Mobile CS, a first-of-its-kind iPhone app for tax and accounting professionals. Using advanced mobile application technology, this comprehensive practice management tool extends the reach of Practice CS(R) from desktop to iPhone, giving more than 60,000 Practice CS users the ability to access key firm, staff, and client data anytime, anywhere.”

Glaxo Taps Goldman Deal Maker as Finance Chief [WSJ]
“GlaxoSmithKline PLC Wednesday chose Simon Dingemans, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. deal maker, to be its next chief financial officer but said the choice won’t change its cautious approach to mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Dingemans, 47 years old, will succeed Julian Heslop, who will retire from the post at the end of March. Mr. Dingemans has advised Glaxo on an ad-hoc basis over the years and is currently managing director and partner with Goldman Sachs in London. He joins the U.K.’s biggest drug maker as chief financial officer designate and executive director from Jan. 4, 2011. He most recently worked with Glaxo to establish ViiV Healthcare, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer Inc.’s joint venture for AIDS drugs.”

Gun-slinging accountant loses Chapter 7 battle [South Florida Business Journal]
“Jay Levin, a Boca Raton accountant who shot and killed a teenager in 2003, has lost his battle to erase a $750,000 judgment related to the shooting.

Levin shot Mark Drewes, his 16-year-old neighbor, in the back after the teen rang Levin’s doorbell in a “ding-dong-ditch” prank one night, according to motions in Levin’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

Levin had filed the bankruptcy in February, alleging he couldn’t pay the $750,000 judgment from a 2007 civil lawsuit Drewes’ parents had filed against him. Levin paid $102,260 of the judgment, but still owes the remainder”

Sir David Tweedie Would Appreciate It If You Quit Complaining About the New Accounting Standards

This means you PricewaterhouseCoopers. You’re acting like this convergence/IFRS adoption is just happening too fast, well, Tweeds isn’t having it.

As for you companies out there that actually have to keep their books in tiptop shape, Sir Tweeds isn’t so amused by your bellyaching either. And for the love of God, would everyone quit playing dumb:

“Let’s look at what we’ve got out there at the moment – leases, revenue recognition and insurance. If you’re not an insurance company you’ve got two. Big deal,” he said.

“I’m not terribly sympathetic. It’s not as thought these have sprung out of no where, we’ve been working on these, they’ve seen the drafts coming, they know what we’re doing.

Furthermore, maybe if you got some of your people on this instead of writing a comment letter every two seconds, this wouldn’t seem like such monumental task.

“It’s tough, but goodness it’s tough for us too. We can’t keep getting all this advice. We always get conflicting advice. ‘You must have these done by June 2011, but don’t give them to us all at once’,” he said.

Tweedie “not terribly sympathetic” to concerns of standard-overload [Accountancy Age]

(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]

Accounting News Roundup: EisnerAmper Partner: GM Balance Sheet ‘Stronger’ Ahead of IPO; KPMG Moves on From New Century, Countrywide; No Bookie Needed for Betting on Grades | 08.19.10

GM’s balance sheet draws praise ahead of IPO [MarketWatch]
“Peter Bible, partner-in-charge at accounting firm EisnerAmper LLP, said General Motors is now carrying a much stronger balance sheet than its predecessor, based on the company’s initial public offering filed late Wednesday. ‘Their debt-to-equity ratio looks handsome,’ Bible said in an interview. ‘This thing has gotten restructured quite a bit. GM’s health care liabilities have fallen significantly. As I look at the balance sheet, it is much healthier.’ ”

Move to converge just exported crisis [Re: The Auditors]
KPMG has put two major lawsuits behind them – Countrywide and New Century. One major difference between these two cases was that New Century had a bankruptcy examiner’s report while Countrywide did not.


Judge Denies Online Religious Group’s Bid for Church Status [WSJ]
A virtual “church” gets denied the whole “church” thing.

For the rich, ’tis better to give than wait [Reuters]
“With U.S. taxes almost guaranteed to rise next year, the rich have a rare opportunity to distribute some wealth and preserve their fortunes.

A weak economy has led to razor-thin interest rates and beaten-down valuations, which make giving less costly for and potentially more rewarding to heirs. Moreover, the U.S. government is widely expected to rein in a popular tax-avoidance scheme.

‘This is a golden era for shifting estates and giving assets away,’ said Bill Fleming, a financial planner for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hartford, Connecticut. ‘If you have an estate plan, keep going: Uncle Sam soon will be back in your pocket.’ ”

Wager 101: Students Bet on Their Grades [WSJ]
“The website attracted wagers by 600 students from two colleges last year, said Mr. Gelbart and co-founder Steven Wolf, graduates of Queens College. This month, the site expanded to let students on 36 campuses—including Harvard, Stanford and Brigham Young University—place bets. More than 1,000 new bettors have signed on.

Lisa Lapin, a Stanford University spokeswoman, said school officials were ‘appalled’ when they learned Stanford students could place bets on their grades, adding, ‘the concept of betting on academic performance is contrary to academic development.’

Lance Miller, a finance major at the University of Pennsylvania, says the criticism misses the mark. Mr. Miller, with a GPA of 3.6, won about $80 on two $40 bets that he would earn A’s in business courses.

‘We’re acing classes to make money—isn’t that what they call a win-win?’ said Mr. Miller, 20.”

Facebook’s Places Feature Lets Users Share Their Whereabouts With Friends [Bloomberg]
“Services that help Web users share their whereabouts and find nearby friends could generate as much as $4.1 billion in annual ad sales by 2015, according to Borrell Associates. The features can help marketers more easily target customers — say, by reaching shoppers when they’re close to making a purchase.”

Accounting News Roundup: Big 4 Firms Looking to Cash in on Climate Change; GM Is Back from the Dead; The End of Fan and Fred? | 08.17.10

Barclays in Sanctions Bust [WSJ]
“Barclays PLC agreed to pay $298 million to settle charges by U.S. and New York prosecutors that the U.K. bank altered financial records for more than a decade to hide hundreds of millions of dollars into the U.S. from Cuba, Libya, Iran and other sanctioned countries.

Monday’s settlement agreement of criminal charges is an embarrassment for Barclays, which became a major player on Wall Street by snapping up the collapsed U.S. operations of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008 and has been trying to burnish the U.K. bank’s reputation on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as a good corporate citizen.”

Cashing in on cleantech [The Guardian]
“While E&Y claims to be the first to set up a practice specifically for cleantech, in recent years PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, KPMG and E&Y have all launched dedicated practices for sustainability and climate change.

Steven Lang, who leads the cleantech division in the UK and Ireland, recently explained the attraction to Business Green: ‘We’ve seen major amounts of capital flowing into clean energy and clean technology and governments increasingly want to use the sector as a driver for international competitiveness.

‘The drivers are there for this to be a major growth area over the next five years.’ ”

GM IPO filing expected Tuesday [Reuters]
It’s like you never left, GM. “General Motors Co has completed the paperwork for an initial public offering, and timing of its filing with the U.S. securities regulators rests with the board of the top U.S. automaker, sources familiar with the process said on Monday.

The initial prospectus, expected to be for $100 million, is likely to be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, two people said, asking not to be named because the preparations for the IPO are private.”


IASB details recruitment process for Tweedie replacement [Accountancy Age]
“In a newly created section of the IASB website, the body has outlined the process it has followed since September 2009, as it searches to replace chairman Sir David Tweedie, who steps down in June 2011.

Among the documents is a letter sent to the European Commissioner’s office on 3 December, 2009, from Sir Bryan Nicholson, who has led the IASB’s recruitment process.”

Woman due in court for pie attack on US Sen. Levin [CT]
“A woman accused of hitting U.S. Sen. Carl Levin in the face with an apple pie during the Armed Services Committee chairman’s constituent meeting in northern Michigan is due in court.

Twenty-two-year-old Ahlam M. Mohsen of Coldwater will be arraigned Tuesday. She is being held without bond after being arrested Monday on a felony charge of stalking, and misdemeanor counts of assault and disorderly conduct”

Apple?

Facebook Partnership Is Proven by $3,000 Check, Lawyer Says [Bloomberg]
“The western New York man suing over claims he owns 84 percent of Facebook Inc. has a copy of a $3,000 cashier’s check his lawyer says is proof of a contract with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg.

The purported 2003 check is made out to Zuckerberg and dated three days before Paul Ceglia claims the two men signed a contract, according to the attorney. That agreement, Ceglia said in court papers, entitles him to control of the world’s biggest social networking website.”

Conference To Debate Future Of Fannie, Freddie [NPR]
Euthanasia seems like a good option here.

Accounting News Roundup: Tweedie’s Final Months; Lease Accounting Proposal Coming Soon; UCF Accounting Student’s Body Found | 08.16.10

Goldman CFO Viniar Gets $4.5 Million Options Windfall [Dow Jones]
“Goldman Sachs Group (GS) Chief Financial Officer David Viniar received $4.5 million by exercising more than 67,000 options as part of the investment bank’s disclosure Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the filing, Viniar was among six top executives who have converted sing stock options into a windfall of $24 million, cashing in on benefits they received years before the government’s 2008 rescue of the nation’s biggest financial firms.”

Tweedie faces greatest challenge in last days [FT]
“Sir David Tweedie says his staff are concerned about what he might do in his last months as head of the International Accounting Standards Board, the powerful global rule setter that he has chaired for a decade.

‘I think people are quite worried about how I might do in my last six months here, with all my vendettas and all these grudges I’ve been storing up . . . I think they are worried that I might let them go,’ he says with a laugh.”

Rulemakers Plan Global Overhaul of Lease Accounting [Reuters]
“U.S. and international accounting rule makers are planning to propose an overhaul of lease accounting as soon as Tuesday, in a move expected to affect some $1.2 trillion in leased assets.

Traditionally, accounting rules have given companies a lot of leeway in how they record leases for assets ranging from store locations and restaurant equipment to airplanes and machinery. As a result, only certain types of leases appear on the balance sheet, while a majority of a company’s leases can often be kept off the balance sheet and hidden from an investors’ view.

But the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which sets U.S. accounting rules, and the London-based International Accounting Standards Board, which writes accounting rules for more than 100 countries, will aim to change all that this week by proposing to bring many of these assets onto corporate balance sheets.

‘It’s something that needs to be done,’ said John Hepp, a partner in accounting firm Grant Thornton’s professional standards group. ‘Lease accounting is broken.’ ”

Hunt for IASB head hits hurdle [FT]
“The search for a successor to Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, which sets accounting rules for most of the world outside the US, has hit difficulty in the face of opposition in Europe to how the process has been conducted.

Sir David has presided over deteriorating relations since the financial crisis, with some senior European officials raising concerns about the transparency of his decision-making amid criticism that he has prioritised an effort to get the US to adopt international rules at the expense of European interests.”


PricewaterhouseCoopers taps Kevin Kelly to head Birmingham office [Birmingham News]
Kevin Kelly is new the managing partner for PwC’s Birmingham office. He replaces David Pickett who is the new OMP in Nashville.

UCF accounting student killed [Central Florida Future]
“Orange County Sheriff’s officials have released the names of the two people who died Saturday in an apparent murder-suicide, after a woman was found dead in an apartment about five miles south of UCF, and a man was found dead at a local shooting range.

Jennifer Lynn Roqueta, an accounting major at UCF who had just turned 21 in May and a server at Buffalo Wild Wings in Waterford Lakes, was identified as the victim on Sunday.

The suspect, who was identified as Ryan Ray Scurlock, 24, was found at the Shooting Gallery gun range located at 2911 39th St. in Orlando.

The investigation stems from Saturday’s incident in which the OCSO received several calls from Scurlock’s acquaintances requesting they check on his well-being because they had received alarming text messages from him that indicated he was distraught.”

Former Fed official joins KPMG [WaPo]
Jon Greenlee is joining the Tyson’s Corner office as a managing director in KPMG’s financial services regulatory practice. He previously worked as an associate director of risk management in the Fed’s division of banking supervision and regulation.

Satyam auditors to face Sebi probe [Hindustan Times]
“Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will have to face an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed PwC’s petition challenging Sebi’s show-cause notice dated June 30, 2009 seeking to prohibit PWC from auditing accounts of listed companies.”

That’s not a tax bill, THIS is a tax bill: Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan hit with £8m in charges [Daily Mail]
“But in a American TV interview last year, Hogan, 70, vowed that the taxman would not get a penny more of his money and added: ‘Come and get me, you miserable b******s.’ ”

Eide Bailly merges with R T Higgins [Denver Business Journal]
Top 25 firm Eide Bailly’s merger with RT Higgins brings the the firm’s total staff to over 1,200 in nine states.

Imagine a Future Free of Questions on Revenue Recognition

“It is an important step towards a single global principle-based standard that would make it absolutely clear when revenue is recognised-and why.”

~ Sir David Tweedie is pretty happy with how the converged revenue recognition standard turned out.

Mary Schapiro Isn’t Too Concerned About the Convergence Delay

Earlier in the week we heard the devastating news that the FASB and IASB’s convergence efforts, despite a good hustle, would not meet the G20’s deadline of June 2011.

FASB Chairman Bob Herz indicated that this was a serious case of the Boards having bigger eyeshades than their double-entry stomachs could handle but he tried to squelch the disappointment by assuring everyone that the mission is not a failure and the Boards would “get most if not all of [the accounting standard proposals] done by the end of 2011.”

Roberto and IASB Chair Sir David Tweedie, feeling bad about how the whole thing turned out, decided to send a letter to the G20, presumably to keep them from getting their panties in knot:

It is expected that this action by the FASB and IASB will not negatively impact the Securities and Exchange Commission’s work plan, announced in February, to consider in 2011 whether and how to incorporate IFRS into the US financial system.

We appreciate the support of the G20 for the development of a single set of high quality global accounting standards. The two boards remain committed to achieving that objective. We shall continue to provide timely updates regarding our progress.

Ohhh, right. The SEC. What do they think about all this? Judging by Mary Schapiro’s attitude of “assuming completion of the convergence projects” as a precursor to IFRS, she’s totally cool with it, making her thoughts known in a statement yesterday:

The boards believe that the modified plan will contribute to increased quality in the standards because it provides additional time for stakeholders to thoroughly consider the proposals and give both boards quality feedback. I view this as time that is well invested.

Quality financial reporting standards established through an independent process are threshold criteria against which the Commission’s future consideration of the role of IFRS in the U.S. reporting system will be based. I foresee no reason that the adjustment to the targeted timeline for certain joint projects should impact the staff’s analyses under the Work Plan issued in February 2010, particularly when that adjustment is designed to enhance the quality of the standards. Indeed, focused efforts on those standards the boards consider highest priority for the improvement of U.S. GAAP and IFRS will facilitate the staff’s analyses.

Accordingly, I am confident that we continue to be on schedule for a Commission determination in 2011 about whether to incorporate IFRS into the financial reporting system for U.S. issuers.

In other words, no rush guys. Take it from Mary, this happens all the time.

IASB and FASB update to G20 Leaders [IASB]
Chairman Schapiro Statement on FASB-IASB Decision to Modify Timing of Certain Convergence Projects [SEC]

Accounting News Roundup: AICPA vs. IRS on Uncertain Tax Positions; Accountants Involved in Haiti Recovery; Taxing Pot Could Yield $400k for D.C. | 06.02.10

AICPA Protests Disclosures of Uncertain Tax Positions [Web CPA]
The AICPA has come out against the IRS’ uncertain tax positions proposal, saying “it should withdraw its proposed rule that would require companies with more than $10 million in total assets to disclose uncertain tax positions on a new schedule.”

The AICPA is not so hot on the idea of the IRS wading into the financial reporting waters, “We understand that the UTP proposal does not change the underlying rules for financial reporting, but believe overlaying a tax disclosure construct on the financial reporting system introduces a dynamic which could work at cross purposes with the original and fundamental purpose of the financial reporting rules.”


Haitian recovery needs accountants [Accountancy Age]
Nearly five months after the Earthquake in Haiti things are recovering slowly. Financial records for the government and private business have had two considerably different experiences:

[T]he finance ministry’s financial controls and systems are now being restored after its headquarters were destroyed. The World Bank has helped this critical process, placing accounting experts with the ministry.

As for the private sector, Laforest said many companies’ financial systems had survived thanks to accounting software packages, whose data had been uploaded to cloud computing remote data sumps on the internet. But bills, receipts and other paper records vital for making tax returns had been lost where offices collapsed.

And creating proper controls around the donations process has been crucial for organizing those funds. According to one volunteer, “[W]ithout proper controls, the money that you and your friends and your government have given might as well be left in a big bucket in the middle of the market with a sign saying ‘biggest at the front, smallest at the back.’”

Pot could bring in $400K for D.C. [Post Now/WaPo]
The District’s Council is expected to vote on June 15th on a provision that would levy a 6% sales tax on ganj sold there. At an approximate price of $350 an ounce, each bag would yield $21 for DC and would be expected to raise $400k in the next 5 years.

Tweedie replacement must juggle dual roles [Accountancy Age]
The candidates for the IASB chair are dwindling but most people seem to agree that having the role split into “Chair” and “CEO” roles might benefit the Board. “Richard Sexton, head of audit at PwC, suggested the role should be split.” And BDO’s sometime blogger and International CEO Jeremy Newman chimes in, “It’s unrealistic to expect one person to cover both.”

Also, whoever fills the big chair can’t be a über double-entry geek or just a crafty political type to heavy one way or the other. Most think that it needs to be a balance of both, although the preference of which is more important is debatable, including one Deloitte partner’s point of view, “If you don’t understand the accounting, you won’t be able to do the diplomacy around the debate,” versus Grant Thornton, “At this stage in the IASB’s life, we would place political awareness ahead of technical [knowledge] for the chair, but of course the chair must be technically astute.”

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: FASB, IASB May Be Overachieving on Convergence; PwC Wants Your Fat; Who’s Betting on Legal Internet Gambling? | 05.19.10

FEI Implores FASB, IASB to Slow Down [Compliance Week]
Financial Executives International is concerned that the FASB and IASB have gotten a little too ambitious in their convergence efforts and has written a letter to the Boards’ respective Chairmen that basically says, “Easy, tiger.”

Everyone knows that those knowitalls at the G-20 were insisting the accounting rule mavens to make convergence happen by next summer but FEI is trying to take pragmatic approach to this:

Arnold Hanish, chairman of FEI’s Committee on Corporate Reporting, said in his letter to the two boards the group is concerned about the “unprecedented volume as well as the complexity of proposed standards” that the two boards are developing. The committee fears the vast scope and aggressive timeline for the proposals will not allow adequate analysis of how the rules will work, which will lead to implementation problems and amendments further down the line.

In other words, this isn’t quantum mechanics, but it’s not Fisher Price either. Mr Hanish did his best to remind Bob Herz and Sir David Tweedie just how overambitious this little project is:

Our member companies are extremely concerned with the 10+ Exposure Drafts (EDs) that are in final stages and will be released for public comment through the third quarter of 2010. During any single period in time in its 38-year history, the FASB has had no more than 3 or 4 significant EDs out for public comment.

FEI doesn’t seem convinced that this unprecedented overachieving by Herz and Tweeds is going to result in the “one set of high quality standards.” They would prefer that hte Boards get this right the first time so they don’t have to slap the proverbial duct tape all over the efforts later.

Cabbies, Accountants Look to Chip-Fat Fuel on Cost, Environment [Bloomberg]
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ London office is trying to do its best for the environment by using local chip-fat converted into biodiesel to supplement its energy needs:

PwC is seeking local sources for 45,000 liters of biodiesel to meet one quarter of its monthly office fuel needs, said Jon Barnes, head of building and facilities services at the firm.

“I’m trying to locally source used chip fat from restaurants,” he said. “It’s a pretty pointless exercise of using biofuel if it’s been all round the world on a ship.”

Sounds like a bang-up idea but P. Dubs is always looking for an angle, “Having a renewable source for some of PwC’s office’s energy needs could help the company sell its services to clients wanting to do the same.”

House Holds Hearing Today on Tax and Internet Gambling [TaxProf Blog]
The House Ways & Means Committee is holding a hearing today to kick around the possibility of legalizing Internet gambling here in the US of A (and taxing it, of course). It kicks off at 9:30 am ET and with any luck, you’ll be legally losing your mortgage payments for the 2010 football season.

Accounting News Roundup: Former Dell Staff Facing SEC Action Related to Accounting; Herz, Tweedie to Present on Global Issues at GWU; NASBA Taking Back Some March Scores? | 04.02.10

We’ll be posting on a lighter schedule today. Hopefully many of you are enjoying a long weekend.

Dell says several former staff may face SEC action [Reuters]
Some former Dell employees are facing possible SEC actions related to the company’s accounting. The Commission started its inquiry back in 2005 and Dell disclosed that the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York had subpoenaed documents shortly after in 2006. This all led to the Accounting Code of Conduct that the Company implemented last fall. The company stated that it believes ‘monetary penalties’ will be part of the settlement but otherwise they’re keeping a lid on it.

FASB Chairman Robert H. Herz and IASB Chairman Sir David Tweedie to Discuss Global Accounting Issues at The George Washington University [FASB]
Herz and Tweeds will be at G Dubs on Wednesday, April 7th kicking around global accounting issues. “Greater Global Transparency in Financial Reporting: Lighting the Path for Investors” starts at 6 pm and is free and open to the public, so you best get there early before the groupies overrun the joint.


NASBA Takes Back (Some) Passing CPA Exam Scores for March [JDA]
In what could amount to the worst April Fool’s joke in history, Adrienne is reporting over at JDA that NASBA is taking back some of the scores for March after extending the test dates in the third month:

[F]rom a reliable source within the Big 87654 that test-takers outside of the blizzard-affected areas have actually gotten their scores taken away and thrown out. Yes, that means all of you who put it off until the very last minute and rescheduled for the March extension are pretty much screwed unless you also got snowed in on top of it. Yes, those of you who paid for and passed the exam in March.

Huh. We’re checking into this. We’ll get back to you if we learn more.

Non-Knights Don’t Think Rule Convergence Is All That Important

Thumbnail image for tweedie_knight_jpeg.jpgNot everyone is as hung up on converging U.S. GAAP and IFRS as Sir David Tweedie.
As you may recall, Tweeds delayed his retirement in order to see the rules copulate and bring forth debit and credit harmony.
As admirable as his commitment to the project is, not too many people share his enthusiasm:

A survey by CFA Institute , an international association of more than 16,000 investment professionals, showed that three quarters of respondents believe that improving standards so they are more useful for making investment decisions is “at least as important if not more important” than reducing complexity or convergence.
While respondents generally support convergence, only 6 per cent of those surveyed, including research analysts, portfolio managers, corporate financial analysts and accountants, believe converging the International Accounting Standards Board and its US rival should be the primary objective.

It’s bad enough that Tweeds gets hassled by non-knighted clowns that don’t know a debit from their ass but now there’s a survey out there that says his pet project isn’t that important.
Plus, the SEC doesn’t seem too hung up on it and the FASB has its own problems. Has double-entry chivalry lost all its meaning?
Investors cool on audit convergence [FT]

Sir David Tweedie’s New Promise: To Retire in 2011

Every knight lays down his sword at some point and Tweeds is no exception. The IASB Chairman will hang up his 10-key when his current term ends in June 2011.

According to Emily Chasan at Reuters, DT thought about calling it quits last year after the pols torpedoed mark-to-market in the name of bank lobbyists. Sensing that the true Holy Grail was within reach, Tweedie stayed on:

[H]e has said he stayed because he wanted to continue the convergence process, which is beginning to reach its goal of having a single set of high quality accounting standards used around the globe. The U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board and the IASB have redoubled efforts to complete their major convergence projects by a June 2011 deadline set by the G20 group of leading countries.

Now the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation, which oversees the board, is on the search for the next bean counter in shining armor. Since Tweeds gave plenty of notice, it won’t likely be the shitshow search like Bank of America has on its hands (until very recently perhaps) but the IASCF is searching all the corners of the world for the replacement and they need to come up with somebody good.
If they put some empty suit in there, the likes of Silvio Berlusconi will be writing the revised contingent liabilities standard. Lord knows we don’t need that. We need someone that doesn’t mind telling pols to BTFO of accounting biznass. Pols like Eddy “If you had just involved us in the monitoring of the IASB we wouldn’t be in this mess” Wymeersch, who probably couldn’t tell the difference between his ass and the basic accounting equation. Feel me, IASCF?
Now since that’s clear, if you’ve got any suggestions or purely want to speculate on who you will be in the big chair next (Tim Flynn? Mary Schapiro? Phil Mickelson? that smug guy in the cube next to you that got a 98 on FARE?) drop them in the comments.
IASB’s Tweedie to retire when term ends in 2011 [Emily Chasan/Reuters]
Trustees seek nominations for Chairman of the IASB from 2011 [Press Release]
See also: Kroeker Stresses Importance of Investors in IFRS Decision; Search Is On For Next Chairman Of IASB When Tweedie Retires in 2011 [FEI Financial Reporting Blog]

You’d Think that Once You’re Knighted You Wouldn’t Get Hassled by Non-Knights

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for tweedie.jpgDoes there happen to be a law in the EU that says that if you’re not a knight you have to keep your piehole shut when it comes to accounting rules? Because if there isn’t, there needs to be. We may give Sir David Tweedie a hard time here (mostly because we’re jealous of the prefix) but we hardly think that he needs pressure from anyone on double-entry accounting.


Despite the knighted one keeping his promises, Eddy Wymeersch, chairman of the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) has made it known that the IASB isn’t floating his boat and he would like to go back to the bureaucratic drawing board.
Reuters:

Wymeersch questioned whether there was adequate accountability at the IASB, a London-based body that has already made several changes to its governance, such as setting up a new monitoring group.
“I can remind you the CESR thought it should be in the monitoring group but that did not take place. In my view, this has to be drawn up again and start from scratch,” he said.

Please, non-knight Eddy Wymeersch, remind us that you suggested that you should be allowed to stick your beak into the IASB’s business. We have trouble remembering that politicians all across the blue marble so desperately want to be involved in the oversight of accounting rules.
EU regulator calls for accounting overhaul [Reuters]

The Knighted One Keeps His Promises

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for tweedie.jpgSir David Tweedie and his fellow non-knighted wonks have released IFRS 9, Financial Instruments today to much anticipation. For those companies that were chomping at the bit, you can adopt pronto but nothing is mandatory until the end of 2012.
You got to hand it to Tweeds. The BSD at the G20 demanded that the IASB take another look (read: change) at this fair value thing ASAP and he delivered, AS PROMISED:

We have delivered on our commitment to the G20 and stakeholders internationally to provide an improved financial instrument standard for the classification and measurement of financial assets for use in 2009. Benefiting from unprecedented levels of consultation with stakeholders around the world, the IASB has made significant changes in its initial proposals to improve the standard, provide enhanced transparency and respond to stakeholder concerns.

Very impressive, so the ball is your court, Norwalk. You better get off your asses and come up with something good because none of you have knighthood and we haven’t seen much evidence of your re-quadrupled efforts. We already know that you’re talking Plan B but give us something, anything. You’re worried about Congress, sure but the Europeans are making you look bad. Is there any American knight-ish equivalent that Bob Herz could get that would help give him a boost in confidence?
If you’ve got suggestions, leave them in the comments. We’re at a total loss.
IASB completes first phase of financial instruments accounting reform [IASB Press Release]
New fair value standard rushed out by IASB [Accountancy Age]

Accounting Rulemakers Already Talking Plan B on Fair Value

Thumbnail image for tweedie.jpgSounds like Bob Herz and Sir David Tweedie are phoning it in with regards to fair value rules.
Herz and Tweedie and their respective accounting wonks met in Norwalk, CT on Monday and they’re all but admitting that there’s no chance that they’ll get on the same page:

At a joint meeting in Norwalk, Connecticut on Monday, members of the London-based International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) sparred over whether fair value, or “mark-to-market,” accounting rules should be expanded to a broader array of financial assets, such as loans and deposits.
In a move opposed by the banking industry, the FASB has proposed that all financial instruments be valued at market levels, while the IASB has proposed to have those assets valued at “amortized cost,” which would mostly provide information about expected cash flows.
“If FASB and IASB can’t agree on mixed model or full fair value model … the next best thing is something to move between the two,” Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the IASB, said on Monday…”By the end of 2010… if we can’t get it together, we should be appreciably together,” Tweedie said.

Plan B is already in full effect! Instead of one fair value rule, the two standard setters will provide a “presentation for fair value for more financial assets on corporate balance sheets so that investors would be able to quickly reconcile numbers in U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).”
Some board members are worried that this approach may be too confusing, however. Confusing financial statements? That’s only a problem for average investors. No biggie.
Oh, well. We know 2010 is coming up fast and those politicians get impatient when the bank lobbyists are threatening to cut off the money. Thanks for trying guys. You did your best.
Accounting boards try to reconcile fair value views [Reuters/Emily Chasan]

IASB Chairman Would Like the SEC to Get With It

TOLD YOU.jpgSir David Tweedie, IASB Chairman, would sure appreciate it if the SEC would make up its damn mind about whether or not to commit to converging U.S. GAAP with IFRS. He spoke at the American Association of Accountants (AAA) annual meeting in New York yesterday and figured he might as well call out the SEC, who seems to be stonewalling him. He’s giving them until 2011 to figure it out.
Tweedie has been making like some kind of financial reporting missionary, going all around the world preaching the good word of IFRS. He’s said he’ll have 150 believers by 2011. But everywhere he goes, all anyone can talk about is whether the U.S. is converted yet.
More, after the jump

“That is a question I am asked all around the world. The convergence program is designed to reduce the cost of transition. FASB is riding two horses: US GAAP and trying to converge at the same time, but so are we.”…If you’re going to have global standards, we need the US, but it can’t go on indefinitely,” he said

We’re impressed that the knighted bean counter is putting his foot down here. We figured the SEC and the FASB could just continue doing whatever it is they do and Tweedie would just keeping asking them about it every month or so like they owed him fifty bucks.
Tweedie Warns of 2011 Deadline for IFRS Choice [Web CPA via Accountancy Age]