SEC Accountants Speak at AICPA Conference

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[authors: Robert J. Wild, Daniel J. Silverthorn]

On December 3, staff of the Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA) of the Securities and Exchange Commission spoke at the 2012 National Conference of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Conference on Current SEC and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Developments. Topics discussed included the possible incorporation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for US issuers; accounting standards convergence projects regarding revenue, leases and financial instruments; auditor independence and consultancy practices; internal control over financial reporting and the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission’s (COSO) framework update; the auditor’s reporting model; audit policy matters and various international considerations.

In particular, the OCA’s Acting Chief Accountant, Paul A. Beswick, noted that incorporating IFRS into the financial reporting system for US issuers may be the single most important accounting determination for the SEC since the 1930s. A Senior Associate Chief Accountant, Jenifer Minke-Girard, discussed and summarized the SEC’s findings in its Final Staff Report on the Work Plan for considering the incorporation of IFRS into the financial reporting system for US issuers, which was originally issued by the OCA on July 13. Ms. Minke-Girard noted that the report was designed to provide information to the SEC and not to answer the fundamental question of whether transitioning to IFRS is in the best interests of the US securities markets and US investors. She also noted that the SEC has not made any policy decision as to whether IFRS should be incorporated into the financial reporting system for US issuers. Click here to view a Katten Corporate and Financial Weekly Digest article discussing the report, and click here for a copy of the report, titled “Work Plan for the Consideration of Incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards into the Financial Reporting System for U.S. Issuers – Final Staff Report.”

The full text of the speeches made on December 3 by various members of the OCA is available here.