Thursday, August 28, 2008

What IFRS Means for You

The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday said it plans to publish a proposed Roadmap that could lead to the use of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by U.S. issuers beginning in 2014, although a firm decision on the change wouldn’t be made until 2011. Included in the Roadmap are seven pit stops that will pass before the 2011 decision is made.

The SEC will publish the proposal at its Web site any day now and the public then has 60 days to share comments.

What does it all mean for accountants? The answer depends upon where one works.

If you’re working at one the 110 largest U.S. firms, your firm might have the option to switch over to IFRS for 2009 statements. At small businesses, the switch wouldn’t come until 2016. Those working for firms that are smaller than a global conglomerate and larger than a local ice cream parlor could start using IFRS in 2015.

If you’re still in school or preparing to take the CPA exam, you’ll need to consider the testing ramifications of IFRS.

Kaplan Schweser vice president of CPA education Denise Probert says IFRS won’t be on the 2009 CPA exam, but it could show up after that. So if you’ve been procrastinating on taking the exam and didn’t learn IFRS in school, you’ll want to test before those IFRS questions show up. If you’re still in school, be sure you take IFRS courses before 2010.

Not surprisingly, Probert points out that review providers, including her firm, are already working on integrating IFRS into their review programs. The AICPA also has IFRS continuing education programs.

Meanwhile, if you want to read up on IFRS, try these Web resources:

AICPA’s IFRS Web site

KPMG’s IFRS Web site

PWC’s IFRS Web site

E&Y’s IFRS Web site

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