The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to publish the long-delayed roadmap for transitioning to International Financial Reporting Standards on Friday.

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox announced a proposed roadmap back in August that would have most large public companies transitioning from U.S. generally accepted accounting principles to IFRS by 2014. Companies that are among the top 20 in their industry would begin to file statements in IFRS in 2010 (see SEC Proposes IFRS Roadmap).

Back in August, Cox promised the SEC would soon issue a "concept release" detailing the roadmap, but it has not yet appeared. The economic turmoil of the past few months has been blamed for the delay, but the SEC reportedly wants to publish the roadmap before the Obama administration takes office, according to the U.K. publication Accountancy Age.

SEC Chief Accountant Conrad Hewitt admitted at a recent conference that the economy was holding up publication of the roadmap but said it would be coming out soon. As recently as last week, AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon said of the roadmap, "In this political environment, the outcome is in doubt." AICPA spokesman Joel Allegretti said the institute had not received confirmation of the roadmap being issued Friday. SEC spokesman John Heine left open the possibility of the roadmap being published by Friday, only committing to saying, "as early as sometime this week."

However, Financial Accounting Standards Board spokesman Neal McGarrity said, "We really don't know," and referred questions to the SEC.

D.J. Gannon, national leader of Deloitte's IFRS Center of Excellence, said he has been hearing that the roadmap will be published Friday, with a 60-day comment period starting after publication. "The roadmap documents will include a rule proposal on early adoption, which typically would be from 60 days after they get posted to the Public Register," he said. "I think ultimately the next administration would be the one that would have to act on all this. It's more of a policy document than rules per se. There would have to be formal rulemaking to mandate IFRS down the road, which is contemplated by the roadmap."

While the current SEC will set up the roadmap, the SEC under the next administration will set the final rules.

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