Washington (March 4, 2003) -- Consumer activist Ralph Nader has joined forces with a group of accountancy educators to form a new public interest accounting group that will be pushing for the abolition of the FASB and direct federal standards setting for the industry.

The new Association for Integrity in Accounting – launched with the assistance of Nader’s Citizen Works advocacy organization – will serve as a "public interest voice to restore integrity to the accounting profession," and "to make sure we can all benefit from their work" without interference from powerful and demanding corporate clients, Nader said during a briefing to outline the group’s goals.

Characterizing the new organization as a "watchdog" that will keep an eye on the accounting industry’s other watchdogs, AIA "founding accountant" Linda Ruchala said the group’s organizers are convinced that the "current patchwork of financial standard development and regulatory structures must be reevaluated from square one."

Ruchala, an associate professor of accountancy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said that the group’s "preliminary evaluation suggests that the Financial Accounting Standards Board should be eliminated and the SEC required to live up to its original mandate for establishing financial standards."

Although last year’s Sarbanes/Oxley reform law created the new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board with discretionary powers to set accounting standards, Ruchala told Electronic Accountant that the establishment of the oversight board "is not enough," and that AIA will seek direct SEC standards.

Other "founding members" of the new Association for Integrity in Accounting include accountancy professors Tony Tinker (Baruch College-CUNY), David Crowther (London Metropolitan University), Jesse Dillard (University of Central Florida), Steven Filling (CSU-Stanislaus), Martin Freedman (Towson University), Soon Nam Kim (University of Wollongong), Bill Schwartz (Indiana University-South Bend), and Paul F. Williams, North Carolina State University).

-- Ken Rankin

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