Paul Cherry completes eight years as
chair of the Canadian Accounting Standards Board this month (AcSB),
moving from the national to international scene as the new chair of
the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) Standards
Advisory Council (SAC).

The SAC comprises representatives of a range of organisations
from around the world. It advises the IASB on issues including its
agenda and work programmes. The council also provides advice on
individual projects, with a particular emphasis on practical
application and implementation issues.

Cherry told The Accountant the IASB and US Financial
Accounting Standards Board’s convergence plan and the role of fair
value measurement for financial instruments are two projects that
will receive particular attention in the coming year. The SAC will
begin to address them in June.

Another item topping the agenda is issues surrounding the
current credit environment.

“There is a tendency to look at the immediate problem, which is
fair enough, but you also need to think beyond this – project out a
few years to try to get ahead of the curve,” Cherry said.

Cherry’s new responsibilities include actively monitoring the
progress of the IASB’s work programme, projects and priorities, and
working closely with the IASB chair and senior staff to identify
when the council’s advice is required.

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In effect, he will be the primary liaison between the SAC, the
IASB and the IASB’s oversight board, the International Accounting
Standards Committee Foundation.

“My primary function is to make the group effective, to have
meetings that have sensible agendas addressing relevant issues,”
Cherry said. “We are not meant to second guess the [IASB] on
technical issues; rather, our job is to advise on the work
programme, strategies and priorities. Are there topics that need to
be given higher priority? Are some issues taking too much time and
energy to the detriment of more important things? This is where a
group like us can make a major contribution.”

Cherry said the role of SAC chair is his dream job and his
appointment is a “huge compliment for Canada”.

“It is absolutely ideal for allowing us to be a major part of
the international standard-setting scene while Canada transitions
to IFRS in 2011,” he said.

He is also “delighted” with the evolution of his work from the
national to the international level.

IASB chair Sir David Tweedie has also welcomed the appointment,
which was effective at the beginning of the year.

“Paul is one of the most respected figures in international
standard setting,” Tweedie said.

Cherry’s career has spanned professional services firms,
regulators and standard-setting. Before heading the AcSB, he was a
senior technical partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Toronto and
chaired the AcSB’s Emerging Issues Committee.

He also previously served two terms on the board of the IASB’s
predecessor, the International Accounting Standards Committee, and
chaired its interpretative body, the Standing Interpretations

Cherry was also chief accountant of the Ontario Securities
Commission for two years and chaired the International Organisation
of Securities Commission’s Working Party on International
Accounting and Auditing Standards.

Gundi Jeffrey