President of the Institute of Chartered
Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) David Tweedie has said the US should
not delay its decision on IFRS adoption anymore.

The former chairman of the International
Accounting Standards Board (IASB) was speaking during a joint ICAS
and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
event – Shaping the Future; Lessons from Accounting Standards
Leaders – which also included among its panellists former chairman
of the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Bob Herz and
former chairman of the Canadian Accounting Standards Board (AcSB)
Paul Cherry.

Tweedie warned further delays would have a
negative influence on the decision of other countries and it would
also weaken the US’s ability to impact the shaping of

“The US has the key to international standards
in its hands. The world is waiting. And waiting and waiting,”
Tweedie said.

He warned that countries such as Japan, India
and China are now hesitating with their commitment to IFRS after
watching the SEC repeatedly delay its decision.

Tweedie then said if a decision was delayed
beyond the US elections it could lead to an unravelling of
convergence and stressed how, had it not been for the crisis,
convergence would have already been accomplished.

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Cherry followed stressing how Canada’s 2011
decision to adopt IFRS rather than sticking with US GAAP has proven
to be the right one.

“There were some speed bumps but the world did
not come to an end. We’re still out and about,” Cherry


Herz, who was later challenged as to whether
he could have done more to achieve convergence in his time as FASB
chairman, said he thought he had taken it the right way.

“It is up to the SEC and the political
process, but we need clarity on where the US is going,” Herz

He noted that it is likely the SEC will opt
for “endorsement,” also known as “condorsement,” but questioned
whether the existing IFRS standards would be incorporated.

Among the topics covered was IFRS for SMEs as
Tweedie defended the notion that there had been a lack of take up
of the standard. He argued it is now used by 70 million companies,
mostly in smaller countries, and has been a “howling success”.

On whether political pressure on standard
setters was strong all three agreed it was.

“Politicians drove me nuts,” Tweedie said

Herz remarked: “some people take the view that
politicians should be kept out of standard-setting but that’s not
the real world.”

Tweedie concluded the session saying that
standard setters have to be careful not to end up being the “search
engine profession”.

“We have to go by principles not rules.”