On Wednesday, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued a joint statement with respect to the progress made to date towards convergence of U.S. and international accounting standards. Among other things, the joint statement states that FASB and IASB are developing a “modified strategy” that “retains the target completion date of June 2011 for many of the projects …, including those projects … where a converged solution is urgently required,” but the “target completion dates for a few projects have extended into the second half of 2011.” The revised target completion dates are also described in a joint FASB/IASB letter to South Korean Minister of Strategy and Finance regarding the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting being held on Friday and Saturday.
The statement and the letter refer to the November 2009 joint statement and memorandum of understanding in which the FASB and the IASB affirmed June 2011 as the target date for completing the major projects towards convergence. The statement and letter describe the modified strategy, which is intended to address concerns voiced regard the large amount of Exposure Drafts planned for publication, particularly in the second quarter. The modified strategy will:
- Prioritize the projects in the memorandum of understanding to highlight those that will bring about significant improvement and convergence;
- Stagger the publication dates of the Exposure Drafts and related consultations to provide for broad participation (limiting to four the number of Exposure Drafts issued in any quarter); and
- Issue a separate consultation document soliciting input regarding effective dates for the Exposure Drafts.
In a separate press release, SEC Chairman Mary L. Shapiro voiced her confidence in the new timeframe for convergence and stated that the revised timeframe for those projects beyond June 2011 would not change the analyses the SEC staff’s Work Plan for Incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards into the Financial Reporting System for U.S. Issuers, and remained certain that the SEC would be able to determine in 2011 about whether to incorporate the international accounting standards into the U.S. financial reporting system.