U.S. official "optimistic" on global accounting move

Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:54am EST
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By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - A senior U.S. regulator was "optimistic" on Monday about finding a framework for the world's top economy to use global book keeping rules for investors to compare cross-border companies.

"We are hopeful we can put forward a model," James Kroeker, chief accountant at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), told Reuters.

More than 100 countries, including Europe, use accounting rules from the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and are waiting to see if the world's biggest capital market, with up to 12,000 listed companies, adopts them too.

Other heavyweights like Japan would likely follow suit.

Kroeker said the SEC had delayed its decision due the more urgent and heavy work of fleshing out a reform of Wall Street known as Dodd-Frank.

Work on aligning U.S. and IASB accounting rules aimed at paving the way to U.S. adoption has also taken more time, along with a review of IASB governance.

Kroeker said he will make a proposal to SEC commissioners in "coming months" on how the United States could switch, which would spark changes in how the IASB deals with national bodies.

He downplayed the notion of smaller firms being able to opt out indefinitely if U.S. adoption went ahead.   Continued...

An illustration picture shows a one Euro coin being melted by a smith in Skopje, December 6, 2011. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski