Accounting & Auditing | Corporate Finance & Governance | Legislative / Regulatory

IFRS roadmap: Comments a’plenty

Global_2We've been waiting since August for the SEC to officially release its "roadmap" for how public companies should make the switch from U.S. generally accepted accounting principles to international financial reporting standards.

After a delay or three, the wait has ended.

The SEC is seeking public comment on a 165-page plan that lists several goals that, if met, "could lead to the required use of IFRS by U.S. issuers in 2014 if the (SEC) believes it to be in the public interest and for the protection of investors," the proposal states.

Early adoption of IFRS would be allowed for certain filers beginning in 2010.

Interesting, the plan includes two alternative proposals which would require U.S. filers who use IFRS to also disclose GAAP information. The Journal of Accountancy describes the alternatives  this way:

"Under the first alternative, a U.S. issuer that elects to file IFRS financial statements would provide the reconciling information from U.S. GAAP to IFRS called for under IFRS 1, First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards, in a footnote to its audited financial statements.

"Under the second alternative," the JofA continues, "U.S. issuers that elect to file IFRS financial statements would provide the reconciling information from U.S. GAAP to IFRS required under IFRS 1 and would also disclose on an annual basis certain unaudited supplemental U.S. GAAP financial information covering a three-year period."

Not surprisingly, experts are already starting to scrutinize the roadmap.

  •'s Sarah Johnson and Marie Leone say companies that begin using the international standards in 2010 could take on as much as $32 million in additional filing costs that year. "The SEC claims much of that cost will subside in subsequent years, predicting a decline of as much as 75 percent in companies' second year of filing IFRS statements," Johnson and Leone report.
  • At least one expert says soft skills will be just as important as technical know-how as companies prepare to make the move to IFRS.
  • Meanwhile, the Financial Accounting Foundation is upset over the way accounting standards have been politicized recently and is telling world leaders, in essence, to mind their own business.

So where do we go from here? Are you preparing for IFRS as if they are inevitable, or are you approaching the standards with a healthy dose of skepticism? Let us know, then check out these related resources:


Bill Sheridan