High-Quality Global Accounting Standards: Issues and Implications for U.S. Financial Reporting

     Last fall, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) eliminated the reconciliation requirement for foreign private issuers that use International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Additionally, the SEC issued a Concept Release and held public roundtables regarding whether U.S. issuers should be allowed to use IFRS. In our letter to the SEC, we stated our belief that investors would be better served if all U.S. public companies used accounting standards promulgated by a single global standard setter, best accomplished by moving U.S. public companies to an improved version of IFRS. However, we also noted a number of issues that need to be addressed in achieving that goal. We proposed the creation of a transition plan or "blueprint" that would guide an orderly move to IFRS that minimizes the disruptions and costs to capital market participants and to other U.S. entities that use FASB standards.

     As an initial step toward the creation of a national transition plan, the FAF and FASB will host a forum, High-Quality Global Accounting Standards: Issues and Implications for U.S. Financial Reporting, on June 16, 2008, at CUNY's Baruch College Conference Center, which is located at 55 Lexington Avenue (northeast corner of 24th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan). The meeting will consist of a panel discussion between FASB board members and invited representatives of users of financial statements, small and large companies both public and private, auditors, regulators, educators and others representing facets of the U.S. economy likely to be affected by a move from U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to IFRS.

     The goals of the forum are primarily two-fold: (1) to open the dialogue with our constituents about whether and how to move the U.S. financial reporting system to IFRS, and (2) to define the next steps in the process. A list of potential key issues to discuss includes the following:

     The forum will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end no later than 4:00 p.m. The Forum will be webcast live on the FASB website. Also, space is available for the public to observe the forum in person, but observers must pre-register online to be admitted to the event. Click here to register. If the space allotted to observers reaches capacity, the registration process will be closed.