US universities are not prepared to introduce IFRS into their
2008-2009 curricula although accounting firms are taking steps to
help academia get up to speed.
In a recent survey of US accounting faculties, only 22 percent
of the 535 professors surveyed said they can incorporate IFRS into
curricula this year in any significant way. Sixty-two percent said
they have not taken any meaningful action.
Manny Fernandez, KPMG’s national managing partner of university
relations and recruiting, said most educators will not be ready to
start properly teaching IFRS until 2011.
“Only very few educators and administrators, those who fund and
provide resources for education purposes, would be able to
integrate IFRS substantially into the 2009 curriculum,” he
“Most curriculums are developed and locked in over the summer
period for that following spring season. I think it will be a
little bit more integrated, probably more on a compare and contrast
basis for 2010. 2011 is when you will see a more robust IFRS
curriculm being built into the system.
Manny said that 2009 and 2010 graduates will have some limited
exposure to IFRS, but it will really be up to industry and public
accounting firms to get them up to speed.
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The research was conducted by KPMG US and the American
Accounting Association during July and August. It found that the
first class of graduating seniors likely to have a substantial
amount of IFRS education will be the class of 2011.
Another major issue hindering curricula advancement is that
university administrations do not truly understand and appreciate
the significant change needed to incorporate IFRS into a
In 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission will make a
concrete decision on whether it will adopt IFRS and on which dates.
Fernandez believes it is at this point that IFRS text books will be
produced and more comprehensive curriculums developed. Universities
will also need to train faculties on the global standards.
Fernandez says the IFRS education drive is no small feat and will
require a similar effort to the effort made when Sarbanes-Oxley
Section 404 was introduced.
“Part of the challenge for professors is to make sure their
upperclassmen have some knowledge of IFRS before they leave campus.
Therefore, they are likely in the early phases to focus in the
areas of intermediate and advanced accounting,” American Accounting
Association Professional Advisory Board vice president Philip
Profession steps in
On the part of the profession, the Big Four have been proactive
in lending expertise and assistance to educators and clients. KPMG
US has held a series of webcasts for university students and
Earlier this year, the firm also established the IFRS Institute
to raise awareness and address the information needs of companies,
investors, academics and others who may be affected by the
transition to IFRS.
In May, Deloitte established the IFRS University Consortium,
which contributes resources to Ohio State and Virginia Tech
universities to assist the schools in developing IFRS curricula.
This includes course materials, such as classroom guides, case
studies and Deloitte professionals as lecturers.
A complete IFRS course, which includes lectures from Deloitte
leaders and case studies has also been developed.
In July, PricewaterhouseCoopers US released a full suite of
educational tools and programmes designed to help US accounting
students learn the fundamentals of IFRS. The IFRS Ready programme
allows students to watch videos about IFRS. Students can use
interactive IFRS financial statements, which explain the
differences between IFRS and US GAAP treatments, and follow a
fictional PwC staff member on his first IFRS engagement. The
programme also provides tools and guides for professors.