Three-quarters of the 500 accounting professors polled in a recent survey think International Financial Reporting Standards need to be immediately incorporated into U.S. accounting curricula, and nearly half believe the U.S. should transition to IFRS to remain competitive.

The survey, by KPMG and the American Accounting Association, found that half of the professors who responded to the survey said they thought a low sense of urgency exists among U.S. regulators to adopt IFRS by a “date certain,” while only 16 percent believe regulators have a high sense of urgency. Seven in 10 professors said their most significant challenge in teaching IFRS is making room for it in the curriculum.

Despite this challenge, 70 percent said they have taken significant steps to incorporate IFRS into the curriculum. In addition, 83 percent believe IFRS needs to be incorporated into their curricula by 2011. 

Seventy-four percent of respondents predicted that U.S. adoption of IFRS would occur through convergence of U.S. GAAP with IFRS by 2015 or later. Meanwhile, 17 percent think U.S. public companies will be required to adopt IFRS outright by 2015 or earlier. Nine percent think IFRS will not be adopted by U.S. companies.

Given the dynamics of the current regulatory environment, 79 percent of faculty believe that U.S. GAAP should continue to be taught over the next three to five years, while progressively incorporating more IFRS concepts via a compare-and-contrast approach as the conversion date approaches.

The first graduating class of accounting students to enter the workforce with a substantial knowledge of IFRS education will be the class of 2015, according to 40 percent of professors – three years later than the date most often cited in the prior survey.

Fifty-nine percent of faculty believe that the CPA examination will include significant IFRS content by 2012/2013 and 54 percent expect comprehensive coverage of IFRS in intermediate accounting textbooks by 2011/2012.

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