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UNIVERSITY OF PLYMOUTH
Words account: 1957 words
At the summer of 2007, a financial crisis was spread from United States to all over the world. In less than a year, the financial statements of companies and banks went wrong with assets which were declined dramatically. One of the reasons for this decline was the macroeconomic uncertainty, however, another significant reason was considered that the weakness of using different accounting standards. During the following four years, in order to re-establish confidence for the market and financial institutions, national authorities have taken exceptional steps to adjust the impact on the real world. (iasplus.com, 2011) Also, G20 leaders have raise the opinion that should set the single high-quality global accounting standard to support unstrained and competitive markets.
In order to achieve setting the single high quality standard, accounting standard-setters, the IASB and the FASB, have been taken steps to consummate the IFRSs, such as highlight the importance of stakeholder engagement, updating their adjustments to G-20 before the completion date of June 2011, and doing more analysis with terms related to the risk management. (Sarno, Young, & LLP, 2010)
With considering the benefits of publics, IASB should set standards which could produce the high quality, accurate, clear and comparable information in the financial statements which could help the participants to make the right decision in the variety capitalized market. On the other hand, generalizing and supervising the standard to be followed strictly are the obligation of IASB as well. Moreover, IASB always consider the needs of medium and small enterprise. (US Security and Exchange Commission, 2000)
Adopting global accounting standards is in the best interest of investors, issuers, and regulators. (Deve, 2005) Some experts said, "the cross-jurisdiction and cross-industry transparency and comparability desired by investors and other users of financial statements will be increased in a globally consistent accounting framework." (pwc.com, 2009) The financial crisis was lead to the financial institution to consider the reasons for the lost. It realizes that there are quite lots of problems no matter during the daily transactions or even the long term financial statements. With the unclear information and analysis, the losses appear.
Now let us discuss needs for setting global accounting standard.
Actually, the recent stock market is based on the globalization. In different countries, although the currencies they used for business are various, the way they do the transaction and contract is similar. In fact, the worldwide business and capital market have the nature of interdependent which is more apparent nowadays. (pwc.com, 2009)To some extent, the convergence of the accounting standard increases the comparability of the financial statements. (Accounting today staff, 2010) For example, if an UK Company and an US Company want to make a transaction and are doing the negotiation. The first information these two companies got about each other was the financial reports, however, the UK Company follows the IFRSs and the US Company follows the US GAAP, therefore the comparability is quite low and it also need more labor power to transfer the different reporting and then to do the compared. If do not consider the own countries` standard benefits and the factors of environment, only seeing from this view, using different accounting standards will lead a waste to the companies.
In the published papers of the national authority, "using a universal accounting language is a natural and necessary response to the globalization of business, finance and investments. It will reduce the unnecessary complexity that exists with multiple reporting languages. The standard helps to improve investors' ability to assess investment options as well; and broaden the accessibility of cross-border capital thereby increasing the competitiveness of the US capital markets; moreover, it generates process and cost efficiencies for multinational US issuers over time as IFRS gains further acceptance for statutory and tax reporting purposes around the world." (pwc.com, 2009)
IFRS recently acquires the priority among the accounting frameworks and adapting to worldwide capital market. It provides a high-quality, comprehensive and robust set of accounting standards. If counties like US intend to work with other countries in developing one common accounting and reporting language, the only choice they can make is IFRS. In fact, setting accounting standard is to adjust and improve some terms of the IFRS. With the universal accounting standard, there will be less confusion and all the information is clear for making the choice. (ifrs.com, 2010)
Although the credit crunch happened, the priority action of financial institution is restoring the economy and the confidence in the capital market. Transfer IFRS to another new accounting standard will takes five to seven years, this period is quite long and flexible enough to address the economic concerns. (Guebert, 2010) With using the new accounting standard, the investors, shareholders or even the accountants will have new views about the financial situation and it will take new blood to the capital market.
Establishing a new global accounting standards is satisfied the specific needs for some countries such as US. Risks here are bad for the variety forms of capitalism which is related to the long term development of the world. (tm.mbs.ac.uk, 2010) In order to minimize the uncertainty, the national authority should publish a strict announcement to let the new standards run, otheriwse, nobody wants the changings. (pwc.com, 2009) In order to give the most benefits to the investors and other participants of economic, the accounting standard should be free from bias and undue political influence. The independent funding and accountability of the IASB to setting the accounting standard is quite important across variable geographies, market and industries. (ERNST&YOUNG, 2009)
IASB have established a Monitoring group to ensure the roles and the responsibility of IFRS to be met. Moreover, the mandatory conversion date should be set. The experts explained it as, "Because it can provide the certainty and clarity necessary for stakeholders to move forward and address the regulatory, legislative, tax, educational, licensing and conversion challenges". (pwc.com, 2009)
The US uses the US GAAP more effectively when doing the businesses with outside participants. The using of the universal accounting standards will benefit these outside participants because of no protection for the US participants in this accounting standard. The significant participations in each of these organizations are responsible to accelerate the community of the financial community.
However, these needs for the set of global accounting standards do not fit in the purpose.
Setting global accounting standards takes quite a long time. During this long period, the circumstance of economy has quite a lot changes which could be seen from example of the convergence of the IFRS and US GAAP. The IASB and FASB should take time to investigate the different terms and work out the solutions. Only with the clear principle the standards could have a good function, otherwise, the old way of doing financial reporting need no changes. Currently, both IFRS and US GAAP have good quality and function to accomplish the global transaction, although sometime it a little bit complex, during development of transition, IFRS will continue to be as the normal standard. (Illiano, 2008)
The IASB and FASB have already begun to converge IFRS and US GAAP, and the process has proven as "long, difficult, costly, and not wholly successful". Since from 2002, FASB and IASB have tried their best to adjust the terms of these two standards. Nine years later, many of the different terms have been proved and adjust to get the new way such as the area about consolidation, taxation and foreign currency. Some experts state that "convergence will create a long-term, steady stream of changing standards that will result in an IFRS-influenced version of US GAAP, rather than a single set of fully converged standards". (pwc.com, 2009)
Different countries may have their own system for the specific economy circumstance. Although the potential new standards may achieve and accelerate the globalization, to some extent, it will limit the development within the countries` own plans. G-20 cannot force all the countries to use the universal accounting standards without any proof. With giving up their original accounting standards, the countries should know what the consequences will be if they pick another one, there is a word say, "if you are not sure what to do, you do not place all your eggs in one basket." Walker said, "the markets, economies, governments and firms may do the experiments with the variety systems which are based on other aspects to achieve good accounting.". (tm.mbs.ac.uk, 2010)
What`s more, the uncertainty of economy shows that the accounting standard is only important where the markets are imperfect and incomplete. When markets are perfect, the market prices will provide all the information to do the decision making. However, actually, markets are imperfect and incomplete. (tm.mbs.ac.uk, 2010) Therefore, accounting standard is only a method, different countries or participants use different accounting standards which do not affect each other, the most significant part of using accounting standard is to help themselves to analyze the information. Some experts state "the accounting standards should reflect the type of economic system. It is possible that recent events will encourage policy makers to consider whether other forms of capitalism are possible, and whether measures should be put in place to encourage other forms of capitalism". (tm.mbs.ac.uk, 2010)
To conclude, I agree with Walker`s opinion, "it is unwise to establish a new single high-quality global accounting standards because of the different types of capitalism and we do not know which one is the best." Therefore, variety of accounting standard should be encouraged such as IFRS and US GAAP. It should encourage the competitiveness among variety of capitalism rather than the conflicting between new accounting standards and old accounting standards. Thus it is better to establish two global accounting standards; one is for "liberal stock market economies", and the other one is for "coordinated market economies". The former one will pay attention to the stock market information for investors who have the separate ownership of control and the shareholders have little influence to the financial reporting. In contrast, the later one tends to have a shareholder`s view to meet governance concerns, and so an entity based approach to financial reporting makes more sense for such regimes. (tm.mbs.ac.uk, 2010)
Finally, I would suggest that the countries which have the same capitalism or liberal stock market economies such as the UK and the US can produce the separate accounting standard which is designed for their specific characteristics. If the countries do not require that much more, using the developed IFRS is still a good choice.