It depends on who you ask and what you read. Consider:
- SEC Commissioner Kathleen Casey says the costs of ignoring IFRS are too great and that U.S. regulators must embrace IFRS for U.S. issuers. The SEC, says Casey, “can no longer kick the can down the road.”
- A senior FASB advisor says the application of international standards around the world has been wildly inconsistent, and that raises serious questions for U.S. officials.
- Incoming IASB Chair Hans Hoogervorst is renewing the international call for the U.S. to get on board. Writes Accountancy Age: “(Hoogervorst) called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to take steps toward adoption, saying that U.S. companies 'would welcome some certainty in the near future' and noting that other major economies are looking to the U.S. for direction.”
- The FASB and the IASB have delayed issuing a revised plan to overhaul revenue recognition rules — one of the major convergence projects on the table.
- At the same time, most U.S. CPAs have at least some knowledge of IFRS and are learning as much as they can as quickly as they can in advance of full U.S. implementation.
In the United States, the march toward IFRS has been two steps forward, one step back. Every green light is followed by a speed bump or two.
But Peter Margaritis has a message for CPAs: It doesn't matter if the U.S. has implemented international standards. IFRS is already here, and it's time to deal with it.
“I have a client in Tuscon, Ariz., who was purchased by a Mexican company,” said Margaritis, an instructor with the Business Learning Institute and president of IFRS Education and Training, LLC. “Mexico is going (to IFRS) in 2012, and (the Mexican company) told my client, 'You need to be on IFRS by 2012 — not when the SEC tells you, but now.'
“IFRS is already here through the back door, and it's not going to go away, even if the SEC says, 'We're not going to do this,'” he adds. “You've got Canada, Mexico, Japan — all the major economies throughout the world are using IFRS. We will run into it somewhere down the line — and that's if the United States doesn't adopt it. I believe we will.”
I spoke with Margaritis at length about the state of IFRS in the United States during the MACPA's 2011 Maryland CPA Summit. Listen to our discussion in its entirety:
Learn more here
You'll get a complete debriefing about the state of IFRS with these courses:
- July 18: IFRS and XBRL
- Oct. 18: The Impact of IFRS and Other Global Standards on Private Entities
- Nov. 2: IFRS Update and Review of Complex Topics
- Dec. 15: International versus U.S. Accounting: What in the World is the Difference?
- From Peter Margaritis and the BLI: IFRS vs. GAAP: The Differences That You Need to Know
- From Peter Margaritis and the BLI: IFRS From 5,000 Feet