The Reality of IFRS

December 24th, 2008

I am sure many CPAs have seen IFRS and heard there was going to be a convergence from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to international accounting standards. But how many of them realize the magnitude of what lies ahead? I was involved in teaching SOX and internal control standards under Section 404. This gives me a pretty good idea of the effort required to make the shift. Since this web site and blog is geared to providing current and cutting edge information for businesses and CPAs it made sense to get on the IFRS band wagon sooner rather than later.Why all the fuss? Well IFRS accounting standards have been adopted by 113 countries and by 2011 it will be the standard used by 150 countries. The United States is immersed in global business and investors need to have the ability to evaluate investments around the globe. This makes a pretty good cased for a single set of globally accepted accounting standards. As was the case with SOX, CPAs are not yet prepared to shift to IFRS. Because of the global implications, CPAs in the United States will need to be capable of preparing and interpreting financial statements using IFRS.

The education process will be massive. It will impact investors, CPAs, and other specialists such as actuaries, and professional associations. Comprehensive education programs will be needed across the board. The AICPA has launched an initiative to help educate and pave the way for 2010 when conversion will likely be a reality.

In drafting this post the potential impact of the transition became starkly real. Colleges and universities will need to revise their curricula to accommodate the new standards. The CPA exam will need to be revised. Many CPAs could find themselves in situations where clients will demand adoption of IFRS. Those CPAs who make the effort to educate themselves will be on the winning end of the conversion game. My prediction is there will be more unprepared accountants versus those who make the leap.

This post is just the beginning and a way of sounding the alarm. I will be busy in the months ahead developing training material. Plus, we will be offering regular and current information on this site to help with the education process.  I’m looking forward to the journey, so sign up for my RSS feed and newsletters.  Let’s saddle up and enjoy the ride.