Accounting & Auditing | Legislative / Regulatory

SEC takes another baby step toward IFRS

Footprints Call the SEC's most recent statement on IFRS deliberate, or reasoned, or cautious. Just don't call it breaking news.

In a unanimous decision, the SEC has voted to issue a statement supporting the ongoing pursuit of a single set of global accounting standards.

What it didn't do is anything earth-shattering, like set a date for when the United States would join more than 100 other countries in making the switch to IFRS, or at least something similar. Now that would have been big.

Instead, WebCPA's Michael Cohn reports that the SEC will wait to hear on progress toward a number of milestones, "including convergence of U.S. GAAP with IFRS and improved governance of the International Accounting Standards Board." Commissioners will decide in 2011 whether to move forward on a path toward IFRS.

While supporting what it called the SEC's "thoughtful and concrete steps," the AICPA issued a statement that makes clear its belief that the U.S. must move toward a single set of standards. As one profession insider said recently, "The SEC needs to circle a date."

The SEC's statement might not be a complete snoozer, though. On the Resources Global Professionals blog, Colleen Cunningham makes an interesting point:

"The gameplan and the roadmap is now 'owned' by the current group of SEC commissioners," writes Cunningham, Resources Global Professionals' managing director of finance and accounting. "The previous roadmap was issued under (former) SEC Chair Christopher Cox. This reaffirmation -- issued under current SEC Chair Mary Shapiro -- effectively becomes hers. This was an important step toward moving the issue forward."

A deliberate, reasoned and cautious step, but a step nonetheless.

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Bill Sheridan