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November 1, 2009

News Briefs

PEOPLESchapiro voices support for global accounting standards

The chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said she remains committed to the goal of a global set of high-quality accounting standards.

Speaking at an International Organization of Securities Commissions conference in Switzerland this month, Mary Schapiro said the financial crisis has highlighted the importance of implementing and enforcing high quality and consistent accounting standards around the world.

“I remain committed to the goal of a global set of high-quality accounting standards,” she said. “I also believe that there are issues that will be critical to address as we at the SEC consider the input we have received on last year’s proposed road map on the role of international standards in the US.”

ASSURANCEIAASB launches consultation on greenhouse gas standard

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) is seeking views on the development of a new assurance standard on green house gas (GHG) statements. The project seeks to enhance the consistency and quality of performance by practitioners on assurance engagements to report on this information, whether produced for regulators, legislators or investors.

Assurance on a Greenhouse Gas Statement asks a series of questions addressing such matters as the form of assurance report that users would find most useful, the nature and extent of requirements, how a standard should best integrate with regulatory requirements, and technical aspects of applying the assurance process to GHG emissions.

An exposure draft is scheduled for release next year.

FAIR VALUEIASB and FASB hold out hope for fair value convergence

The International Accounting Standards Board and the US Financial Accounting Standards Board were unable to resolve their differing opinions on the extent that financial instruments are measured at fair value at a meeting in the US this week.

According to US media reports, the boards agreed to explore ways to facilitate easy comparisons if the rules in IFRS and US GAAP differ.

IASB chair David Tweedie also claimed that if the rules are not identical by 2010 they should be “appreciably together”.

STANDARDSEFRAG to fast track financial instruments advice

The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) will fast track endorsement advice on a new global accounting standard for classifying and measuring financial instruments. The decision is based on a European Commission request to have a standard in place for listed companies to apply for 2009 year end reports. The International Accounting Standards Board’s project to replace IAS 39 Financial Instruments – Recognition and Measurement has three phases and the board plans to issue this first standard early next month. EFRAG plans to finalise EC endorsement advice by 17 November.

STANDARDSIslamic finance group plans framework update

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) plans to update standards on the conceptual framework for financial reporting and accounting for investments for the international Islamic finance industry. Exposure drafts were expected to be distributed before the end of October.

“AAOIFI has developed the updated standards to further support the expansion of Islamic finance industry and promote international best practices,” AAOIFI secretary general Mohamad Nedal Alchaar said.

STANDARDSMixed response to IFRS in US

Two in five US chief financial officers and senior comptrollers do not believe US companies should ever have to use IFRS, according to new research from Grant Thornton US. Another 39 percent said US companies should start using IFRS in three to five years. Only 7 percent want to start using it immediately. The biannual study surveyed 846 chief financial officers and senior comptrollers from 21 September to 2 October.

STANDSRD-SETTING FASB initiates non-for-profit group

The US Financial Accounting Standards Board is to create a Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee (NAC). The NAC will seek comment from the not-for-profit sector on existing guidance, current and proposed technical agenda projects, and longer-term issues affecting those organisations. The 12 to 15 member committee will be formed from the not-for-profit sector early next year, with its first meeting taking place in the middle of 2010.

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