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SEC Requests Public Comment on Move to International Accounting Standards

The Securities and Exchange Commission is requesting public comment on its ongoing consideration of incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) into the financial reporting system for U.S. issuers.  In particular, the SEC staff is interested in comments from the public on:

  1. US investors’ current knowledge of IFRS and preparedness for incorporation of IFRS into the financial reporting system for U.S. issuers;
  2. how investors educate themselves on changes in accounting standards and the timeliness of such education; and
  3. the extent of, logistics for, and estimated time necessary to undertake changes to improve investor understanding of IFRS and the related education process to ensure investors have a sufficient understanding of IFRS prior to potential incorporation.

The Commission has iterated its intention to move toward IFRS on a number of occasions, and has issued a "Work Plan for the Consideration of Incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards into the Financial Reporting System for U.S. Issuers."  Under the work plan, "assuming that the Commission determines in 2011 to incorporate IFRS into the U.S. financial reporting system, the first time U.S. issuers would report under such a system would be approximately 2015 or 2016."

The release requesting comments on the transition to IFRS is available at:  http://www.sec.gov/rules/other/2010/33-9133.pdf

The Work Plan is available at:  http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/globalaccountingstandards/globalaccountingstandards.pdf