13.What other areas of the profession will IFRS affect?
As IFRS grows in acceptance,most CPAs,financial statement preparers and auditors will have to become knowledgeable about the new rules.Others,such as actuaries and valuation experts who are engaged by management to assist in measuring certain assets and liabilities,are not currently taught IFRS and will have to undertake comprehensive training.Professional associations and industry groups have begun to integrate IFRS into their training materials,publications,testing,and certification programs,and many colleges and universities are including IFRS in their curricula.Some textbooks are already covering IFRS,primarily in a comparative presentation to their instructions on U.S.GAAP.New textbooks covering IFRS are currently being written and should be in circulation in the reasonably near future.
14.What are the likely costs of converting to IFRS?
The costs would be determined largely by the size and nature of the respective company.While the initial cost to identify and quantify the differences between U.S.GAAP and IFRS,staff training and implementing IT support could be significant,the conversion also could result in an ultimate reduction of costs for capital and financial reporting related to operations.In its proposed roadmap to move all U.S.publicly traded companies to the global standards issued in November 2008,the Securities and Exchange Commission estimated that the largest U.S.registrants that adopt IFRS early would incur about $32 million per company in additional costs for their first IFRS-prepared annual reports,and that the average U.S.company would incur costs of between 0.125% to 0.13% of revenue.
15.What should I do now?
The bottom line is that CPAs need to begin to prepare for the day in the not-so-distant future when the Securities and Exchange Commission could designate a date for voluntary,or even mandatory,adoption of IFRS by all U.S.public companies.Also,be aware that the way financial statements are prepared differs based on whether a company is using IFRS,U.S.GAAP,or another country's GAAP.Keep abreast of SEC developments regarding IFRS and its potential adoption by U.S.companies,and of the various efforts to allow nonpublic companies to use IFRS as well.Two good sources of information are the USCPA's Web site at www.ifrs.com,and the SEC Web site at www.sec.gov.
16.If the United States mandates IFRS for publicly traded companies,will private companies and not-for-profit organizations be required to adopt IFRS?
The simple answer is no.All the discussion thus far about the possibility of the Securities and Exchange Commission designating a future date for voluntary,or even mandatory,adoption of IFRS has been for U.S.public companies only.
That said,many privately held companies adopted provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act,such as the formation of independent audit committees.Many might take similar action regarding IFRS, even if they are not mandated to do so.
On December 17,2009,the USCPA,the Financial Accounting Foundation(FAF)and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy(NASBA)announced the establishment of a blue-ribbon panel to address how U.S.accounting standards can best meet the needs of users of private company financial statements.The panel will provide recommendations on the future of standard setting for private companies,including whether separate,standalone accounting standards for private companies are needed.A report is expected in the early part of 2011.
17.What actions are being taken that could allow private companies to follow IFRS?
The USCPA's governing Council in May 2008 approved amending Rules 202 and 203 of the Code of Professional Conduct to recognize the IASB as an international accounting standard setter.That removed a potential barrier and gives U.S.private companies and not-for-profit organizations the choice whether to follow IFRS.
18.What might make some private companies in the United States adopt IFRS?
The eventual adoption of IFRS by small businesses and not-for-profit organizations is likely to be market driven.The IASB has developed a version of IFRS for small and medium-size entities that would minimize complexity and reduce the cost of financial statement preparation,yet allow users of those entities'financial statements to assess financial position, cash flows,and performance.IFRS for Small and Medium Entities(SME)was released on July 9,2009.You can view questions and answers developed by the USCPA regarding IFRS for SMEs here.
19.Will IFRS be incorporated into the Uniform CPA Exam?
Yes.The USCPA Board of Examiners in May 2009 announced that exam content updates have been developed and,for the first time,IFRS will be eligible for testing on the Uniform CPA Exam starting in 2011.