[IMGCAP(1)] The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy called for independent funding of global accounting standard-setters.

The organization supports the ideal of global accounting and auditing standards developed by qualified representatives of various governments, but emphasized the need for independence. “These standard-setters and any standard-setting body to which they’re attached must be truly independent,” said NASBA president David Costello at the International Federation of Accountants’ G20 Accountancy Summit in London in late July.

The International Accounting Standards Board has been criticized for not having an independent source of funding and has been taking steps to obtain a stable source of funding from countries involved in developing International Financial Reporting Standards. Both the IASB and the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board have also been criticized for succumbing to political interference in setting fair value and mark-to-market accounting standards.

The G20 Summit brought together over 60 leaders from the international accounting profession who called for governments and regulators to step up initiatives to promote convergence to one set of global standards. 

The ideal of global standard-setting and acceptance must also include the “critical elements of total transparency and vetting to all affected parties,” said Costello. He referred to the roadblocks IFRS has experienced in the U.S. and other countries, and argued that all the major affected regulatory, public-interest and professional groups have not been principally involved in the discussions, debates and vetting of standards.

“Regulators, professional organizations and standard-setting bodies must work together to ensure that the interest of the public is at the forefront of all decisions,” he said. Costello also called for an international code of ethics with standards and guidelines to which accountants would be held accountable.

NASBA is working with international accounting and auditing regulators through its “Forum of International Accountancy Regulators” to be held on Sept. 10-11 in San Francisco. The conference will address topics such as international regulation, legal challenges in uncertain times, and political pressures on standard-setting.


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