As soon as the Securities and Exchange Commission made clear that the transition to International Financial Reporting Standards is still on the table, the critics once again began to surface. CFO.com writer Marie Leone summarizes their complaints this way:
Training U.S. accountants and auditors by the proposed 2014 deadline would be impossible; the SEC would cede its regulatory power to a global regulator; the standard-setter that wrote the rules - the International Accounting Standards Board - would buckle under political pressure; and compared with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, IFRS is weak and would therefore invite accounting abuse.
International Accounting Standards Board chairman David Tweedie obviously doesn't agree. Leone says Tweedie told reporters in New York recently that there would hardly be much difference between IFRS and U.S. GAAP by the time the two sets of standards were fully converged in 2015. He also noted that the barriers to training in the U.S. were falling rapidly. IFRS textbooks are available in English from UK and Australian publishers, and representatives from the Big Four U.S. accounting firms have been working with colleges and universities to rework their accounting curricula since last year.
The argument that U.S. auditors are unprepared doesn't hold water, either. Barry Epstein, a CPA and partner with litigation consultancy Russell Novak & Co. told Leone that momentum has been building for a U.S. transition to IFRS since the SEC began allowing foreign firms to file their financials using IFRS -- without reconciling them to U.S. GAAP as well.
That was nearly two years ago.