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Haas, French voice against IFRS, dies aged 51

Jérôme Haas

Jérôme Haas, president of the French standards setter Autorité des normes comptables (ANC), died of a cancer in Lisbon on Thursday 8 May, aged 51.

A personality in the French financial world, Haas was an ardent critic of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Talking to The Accountant earlier this year for the France Survey, he said: "We need standards that don't exist, and we are given standards that we don't need."

"We want to create our own standards in France and Europe and we don't want to depend on international standards which lead to unreliable and foolish actions," he continued.

French daily newspaper Le Monde reported that throughout his presidency at the ANC, Haas had to play a diplomatic game between the side of the French financial market arguing for a French exception in accounting standards led by Michel Pébereau, chairman of BNP Paribas, and those in favour of IFRS led by Michel Prada chairman of the IFRS Foundation.

While opposed to IFRS, Haas argued in favour of a dialogue with standard setters from other jurisdictions and the international standards setter, in order to make international standards more concrete and closer to the economic reality.

In that sense he told TA that one of the great victory of his presidency at the ANC had been to convince the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) with the help of the UK Financial Reporting Council and the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) to reduce and simplify the annexes in the financial statement.

"We are moving forward in some projects but there is a resistance to change in accounting which is detrimental to businesses," he told TA. "The lessons of the financial crisis have been drawn in all the sectors of financial regulation and changes in regulation have been made in all the aspects of finance, expect in accounting. Why? Frankly I wonder."

Haas was born in a traditional French bourgeois family in 1963. His father was a banker and his mother an engineer. He completed his studies at the Ecole national d'administration (ENA), a school leading to the highest level of public office.

In 1988, Haas joined the Direction générale du Trésor (Trésor), a department of the French Ministry of Economy which analysis the economy and the public policies as well as manages the state holdings and debt.

Haas spent most of his career at the Trésor, except for a brief spell at the World Bank in Washington in 1992. At the Trésor, he held various senior position in the different committees and department before being appointed deputy director of the Direction générale du Trésor.

He was finally appointed president of the ANC in 2010 for six years, where he revolutionised the organization's working process by consulting specialists in all aspects of micro and macro economic research.

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