In a handshake across the sea, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board have agreed to continue their efforts to converge American and international standards.And if all goes well, at some point in the next few years, the Securities and Exchange Commission may decide that the international and American standards are close enough to allow companies reporting under international standards to register on U.S. stock markets without reconciling their financial statements to U.S. standards.

SEC chair Christopher Cox indicated the commission's support for the roadmap, which was laid out in the FASB-IASB agreement and issued as a memorandum of understanding. The commission's acting chief accountant, Scott A. Taub, expressed optimism about the long-term benefits of the plan. "The work plan communicates a continued commitment to improving financial information for investors," Taub said. "Having the IASB and FASB address these issues jointly should further the efforts to converge accounting standards. Investors in the U.S. and around the world will be the long-term beneficiaries."

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