PricewaterhouseCoopers said the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board should slow down the pace of their standard-setting work, even though the two boards have recently extended the timeline for exposing new standards to the public.

FASB and the IASB set a target date of June 2011 for completing their major convergence projects, in response to recommendations by the G-20 world economic leaders late last year. However, after hearing from groups like Financial Executives International that the number of exposure drafts of proposed standards they planned to issue would probably overwhelm their constituents, the two boards instead released a revised timeline last week, setting mid-2011 as the target date for the release of the most urgent convergence projects and the second half of 2011 for a few of the remaining projects (see FASB and IASB Reshuffle Convergence Plans). The boards said they would limit to four the number of significant or complex exposure drafts they would release in any open calendar quarter to give constituents time to understand and comment on them.

However, PricewaterhouseCoopers said the revised timeline still would not allow enough time to produce high-quality standards. “It is of utmost importance that adequate time be given to complete an effective, thorough analysis of the accounting, business and operational impacts of the proposals,” said PwC’s U.S. national office leader Mike Gallagher. “Given the boards’ missions of issuing high-quality standards, we believe the proposed timeline will need to be further extended to allow for appropriate due process.”

In an article posted on the firm’s website, PwC said it fully supports an aggressive timeline and the goal of attaining a single set of high-quality global standards. Yet, the firm also expressed significant concern that the current pace of standard-setting does not provide enough time for companies to fully analyze the proposals and respond comprehensively. In the article, the firm’s leadership called upon standard-setters to “re-evaluate the current timeline and set more reasonable expectations.”

Explaining the firm’s concern about the ambitious timelines, Gallagher pointed out, “Even the largest of companies won’t have the resource bandwidth to properly evaluate and respond to so many complex standards in such a limited period of time.”

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