Corporate Finance & Governance | Leadership / Management | Legislative / Regulatory

IFRS and the United States: Together again?


Our on-again, off-again love affair with IFRS is on again. And how.

Remember back in December when SEC Chief Accountant James Kroeker said the Commission would need "a few additional months" to complete its IFRS deliberations?

Now, it seems, he's ready to shift back into "Drive."

Kroeker told Reuters that an SEC proposal for making the switch to international standards -- delayed largely because of the work involved in complying with the Dodd-Frank finance reforms -- will surface "in coming months."

On FEI's Financial Reporting Blog, Edith Orenstein wonders whether the SEC might address the issue again even earlier than that.

Regardless of when it comes, there are a couple of interesting points about the proposal that need to be made.

The first comes from Kroeker himself, who said small businesses likely would not be able to opt out of the switch to international standards. "Having a model that works for everyone, even if there is a delay in timing, is important," he said. "Otherwise, you ingrain the idea that the smaller companies will never have to change and you end up with a two-GAAP system permanently in the U.S."

The second comes from Peter Margaritis, an IFRS thought leader and instructor with the Business Learning Institute. His point: IFRS is already here. More than 100 countries -- Mexico and Canada among them -- already use IFRS, and the United States does business with just about all of them. Like it or not, we're already dealing with IFRS. We might as well start using it ourselves. "This is not a case of U.S. GAAP or IFRS," Margaritis said. "As accountants, we need to be bilingual."

Check out more of Margaritis's thoughts here:

Want to know more?
If you've been putting off your IFRS education just because the SEC hasn't made its move, now might be a good time to get caught up. Here are just a few programs that can help you get up to speed:


Bill Sheridan