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IFRS: The Saga Drags On...

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May 10, 2011 | Barbara Baksa

IFRS: The Saga Drags On...

I'm sure many of my readers have been disappointed that I haven't been writing much about accounting lately, so today I take a look at the status of IFRS here in the United States.

IFRS: No News is Good News?
The fact is that there hasn't really been much to report on IFRS lately. As my readers know, back in 2008, the SEC proposed a roadmap that would have required adoption of IFRS in the United States, phased in from 2014 to 2016. Then the economy collapsed and rushing headlong into IFRS seemed like maybe not such a good idea. More recently, there have apparently been some developments--that I do not understand in the least, so don't ask me about them--relating to the accounting treatment of highly devalued debt securities that have also given regulators pause on the idea of wholesale adoption of IFRS here in the United States.

In February of last year, the SEC announced that it backed off on the roadmap a bit and would make a decision in 2011 as to whether or not IFRS should be adopted in the United States. I expect that it will be several more months before the SEC announces its decision.

Condorsement?

More recently, the idea of "condorsement" has been proposed. Under this approach, rather than requiring adoption of IFRS, U.S. GAAP would continue to exist, but FASB would work towards converging our standards to IFRS on a standard-by-standard basis. I admit that I am a little fuzzy on how condorsement differs from convergence. I would offer ten points to anyone that can explain it, but, to be honest, I don't think I really want to know.

Convergence

Speaking of convergence, the FASB and IASB have an ongoing program designed to achieve this goal for projects specified under a memorandum of understanding (issued in 2006 and updated in 2008). Last month, they announced that five of the projects had been completed and the remaining three will be completed in the second half of 2011 (a slight delay from the original schedule). None of the projects relate to stock compensation, however. Phew.

SEC Roundtable

At the same time that the FASB and IASB announced the progress on their convergence project, the SEC announced that it will sponsor a Roundtable on July 7, 2011 to discuss incorporating IFRS into the U.S. financial reporting system.

A news bulletin issued by Morrison and Foerster discusses the FASB/IASB and SEC announcements.

Share Withholding: No News is Bad News

A key difference between IFRS 2 and ASC 718 is that, under IFRS 2, liability treatment is required any time shares are withheld by the company to cover tax withholding. I think many of us harbor a secret hope that this will somehow change before IFRS is required in the United States (either that, or that IFRS is never required and this somehow is left out of convergence/condorsement). So far, however, no such luck. A PricewaterhouseCoopers alert issued in September of last year reports that the Interpretations committee of the IASB refused to carve out an exception. The committee felt it did not have the authority to do so; the matter can still be presented to the IASB for relief.

Save Big on NASPP Conference by Completing Survey
NASPP members that complete the NASPP's 2011 Domestic Stock Plan Administration Survey (co-sponsored by Deloitte) by this Friday, May 13, can save 10% off the early-bird rate for the 19th Annual NASPP Conference (which is already a significant savings off the regular registration rate). Register to complete the survey today--so you don't have to explain to your boss why you missed out on this rate.

Only Ten Days Left for NASPP Conference Early-Bird Rate
It's hard to believe how time flies, but the 19th Annual NASPP Conference early-bird rate expires this Friday, May 13.  This deadline will not be extended--register for the Conference today, so you don't miss out.

NASPP "To Do" List
We have so much going on here at the NASPP that it can be hard to keep track of it all, so I keep an ongoing "to do" list for you here in my blog. 

- Barbara

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