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INTEGRATING IFRS AND GAAP

By Stephen Barlas
August 4, 2015
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James Schnurr, chief accountant of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), has apparently seen the light on how to integrate International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). In December 2014, he suggested that U.S. companies could be given the option to voluntarily incorporate IFRS into their financial statements.

 

When he became chief accountant two months prior, Schnurr received a mandate from SEC Chairman Mary Jo White to get closure on the IFRS vs. U.S. GAAP harmonization challenge, which has bedeviled the SEC for years. Schnurr thought that allowing voluntary use of IFRS might be a good solution, but he was wrong. Now the SEC has little support for providing such an option. There’s continued support for a single set of high-quality, globally accepted accounting standards, but what would they look like? Schnurr will be making a recommendation to White on that score soon. He seems to think some sort of hybrid is possible since the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) have converged many standards.

 

Stephen Barlas has covered Washington, D.C., for trade and professional magazines since 1981 and since 1984 for Strategic Finance and its predecessor Management Accounting. You can reach him at sbarlas@verizon.net.
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