International Accounting Standards Committee and the Harmonization of International Accounting Standards
Cerny, Neeru K.
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This study deals with the works of the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) and the problems faced by it in the process of harmonizing international accounting standards. Sources used include books written by experts in the field of international accounting, articles written by accounting practitioners, and interviews conducted with the aid of a selfprepared questionnaire (attached). While concentrating on the IASC as the sole standards-setting body, this study also briefly discusses the roles of other organizations such as the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO) in the development of international accounting standards. The IFAC and the IASC have a joint agreement where the IFAC has the right to nominate members to the IASC Board and is required to recognize and promote standards developed by the IASC. While discussing the IASC, minor topics such as its members, board structure, and its objectives and provisions have also been covered. The Consultative Group, which is formed of representatives from non-accountancy organizations, is also briefly discussed. The international accounting standards developed so far have begun to be accepted by the developing nations and a few European nations in order to save the costs of maintaining separate standard-setting bodies in their own countries, and to ease the flow of capital in the international arena where financial statements based on international accounting standards are slowly being recognized. However, there are major issues that still need to be handled by the IASC and major nations such as the U.S. that need to accept the lASs. Major issues include recognition and amortization of goodwill, deferred taxes, and leases. Advantages and disadvantages of an international set of accounting standards have also been discussed in this study. The environmental factors such as culture, social, legal and economic issues that influence standardsetting bodies are also mentioned. It is important to understand the differences among the thought-processes of the countries in order to understand why difficulties exist in developing these international standards. The process may be difficult, but not impossible. And, if success is to be completely achieved in developing a set of standards to satisfy the needs of the global consumer, then all organizations and countries need to come together under the common banner of the IASC and concentrate on the similarities, and not the differences, between national accounting standards and international accounting standards.