Despite supporting a move towards adopting IFRS in principle, US
certified public accountants (CPAs) in business are largely opposed
to international standards being enforced at their own companies,
according to a new study.

Forty-two percent of respondents felt that US companies should wait
for convergence before filing under IFRS is allowed, while 33
percent said US companies should use US GAAP for the foreseeable
future. Only about 11 percent believe US companies should file
under IFRS as soon as practicable, while 15 percent believe there
should be a choice between US GAAP and IFRS. CPA Survey US companies filing under IFRS

The Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey canvassed the
opinions of more than 1,500 senior financial executives and nearly
90 percent of these were either chief financial officers,
controllers, chief executives or chief operating officers. It was
conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
(AICPA) in partnership with the University of North Carolina (UNC)
this year.

The study revealed that if given the option to file under IFRS or
US GAAP, 58 percent of US companies would continue using US

Nearly two-thirds of organisations have not begun to prepare for
IFRS adoption and most respondents are unsure what impact IFRS will
have on transparency, legal liability, earnings management and
fraud reporting.

Mark Lang, a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School,
observed: “Overall, while there appears to be solid support for
IFRS in principle, relatively few firms are prepared to apply it in
practice and there is a good deal of uncertainty about the likely

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Most respondents supported the recent US Securities and Exchange
Commission’s decision to allow foreign registrants to file in the
US under IFRS without submitting a reconciliation statement to US

AICPA senior vice-president Arleen Thomas said: “The move towards
International Financial Reporting Standards has gained momentum
very rapidly since the Securities and Exchange Commission’s
decision to eliminate the reconciliation requirement for foreign
filers. The AICPA is committed to providing the leadership,
advocacy and education that our members expect as we navigate what
will be a very significant change in the profession.”

The study also questioned senior executives about their thoughts on
the state of the US economy. A 59 percent majority of CPAs said
they were pessimistic or very pessimistic about the outlook for the
world’s largest economy over the next 12 months. Only 11 percent of
respondents expressed optimism about the economy. This is the first
time since the study began in December 2005 that pessimism has
dominated an optimistic outlook.

“At the same time, CPAs express more confidence in their own
businesses, suggesting the downturn may not be as deep as some may
fear,” Thomas explained.