New York (Dec. 15, 2003) -- American Institute of CPAs president Barry Melancon solidified the institute’s support for its U.K. counterpart and its recent entry into the international debate over the need for a new corporate reporting model.

In response to an article in The Financial Times U.K. that detailed a plan by The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to stimulate a global debate on whether the existing business reporting method is flawed and should be replaced, Melancon wrote, “We in the U.S. have also recognized the need and are moving ahead on this issue.”

Melancon’s Dec. 10 letter to the editor continued, “In fact, in 1994 the American Institute of CPAs explored the creation of a new, more forward-looking, enhanced business reporting model. We look forward to continuing to participate in this global discourse and congratulate the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of England and Wales for its work in this area.”

Melancon noted that the AICPA formed a special committee in December 2002 dedicated to moving a new business reporting model from debate and into development. The AICPA is also working with the Canadian and South African institutes of chartered accountants and others on the value measurement reporting collaborative, a component of improved business reporting that is global in scope, an AICPA spokesman confirmed.

Further evidence of a growing transatlantic discussion on the need for a global reporting model cropped up in other publications a day later.

A Dec. 11 Financial Times article, titled “The Information Gap,” noted that a crucial question facing any finance director is deciding what kind of information a company reports. That same day, a letter to the editor appeared in the Wall Street Journal from Allan White, co-founder of the Global Reporting Initiative -- an independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable “Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.” In his letter, White stated, “Harmonizing international financial reporting must occur concurrently with harmonizing international non-financial reporting. Only a combination of financial and non-financial reporting can deliver a true and fair picture of a company's value and prospects.”

-- Seth Fineberg

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