Principles-based accounting standards
only work if everyone has the same principles, according to Robin
Freestone, chief financial officer of global media company

A focus on comparability and compliance
would make financial reporting more useful, Freestone told a Global
Accounting Alliance roundtable in London this month.

“Users get very frustrated when we are
accounting differently from competitors and rightly so,” Freestone

“Comparability is eroded with a move towards
principles-based standards and that worries me.”

Freestone said he was also not convinced
financial reporting could be made simpler. He said it was a
sensible objective, but could be very difficult as business gets
continually more complex and investors demand more detailed

The majority of roundtable participants, when
asked to vote on whether financial reporting could be made simpler
and more useful, agreed that this was probably not possible.