Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Beginning of the End of a Single Set of High-quality, Global Accounting Standards

A year and a half ago, the G-20 leaders called on international accounting standard setters to redouble their efforts to achieve a single set of high-quality, global accounting standards through their independent standard-setting processes and complete their convergence project by June 2011.

Before we even have a converged set of global accounting standards, the EU has hammered a nail into its coffin. If the EU can decide to opt in or out of a given part of IFRS standards then the door is open to home-country versions of IFRS similar to those that have existed for years.

The European Union has refused to adopt a new accounting rule that could ease fallout from the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis on banks.

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), following up on pressure from policymakers at the height of the financial crisis, has eased its "fair value" or mark-to-market rule that was known as IAS 39.

The first completed part of the new IFRS 9 standard allows banks to price some government debt held on their books at cost rather than at current depressed prices.

This avoids the "cliff effect" of many banks needing to recognize large losses and top up regulatory capital buffers.

IFRS 9 would allow European banks to exclude some of the broader markets effects of the current financial crisis in Europe.

Under IFRS 9 impairments will still exist, but would be more timely.

The EU has stated that it wants to see how two other elements of IFRS 9 will be finalized before making up his mind on the complete rule.

No comments: