GAAP Convergence 2002 is available by clicking on the link to the right.
This is a report on the plans, efforts and achievements of 59 economically significant countries towards convergence with International Financial Reporting Standards. It focusses on plans for listed companies. GAAP Convergence 2002 is the third in a series of surveys conducted by the large accounting organisations including Grant Thornton to measure progress on convergence to IFRS.
The report demonstrates that the overwhelming support for the IASB as the appropriate body to develop a global accounting language is being translated into action, with over 90% of the countries intending to converge, and 72% of those having a formal policy to achieve that aim.
Of course there are obstacles to convergence. Over half the countries consider some complex international standards (such as those on financial instruments and others using fair value accounting) are a barrier, and nearly half have tax-driven accounting regimes, which makes comprehensive convergence difficult. Other problems identified include having the standards available promptly in the local language, and the availability of IFRS training and education.
As the convergence process moves on, financiers, investors and other stakeholders will use the global accounting language of IFRS to assess performance and their own options and decisions. As far as unlisted companies are concerned, it does not ultimately make sense to have two separate sets of standards in operation in a country. The benefits of convergence should be made available to all companies, and the report encourages the IASB to prioritise its projects on SMEs and companies in emerging economies.
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