Seventy-five percent of finance professionals support the movement toward a single set of high-quality global accounting standards, according to a new survey by Deloitte.

The survey of 150 financial professionals, CFOs and finance managers by the Big Four firm also found that 62 percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the Securities and Exchange Commission should establish a date for requiring U.S. companies to use International Financial Reporting Standards.

Former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox announced a proposed roadmap for transitioning to IFRS from U.S. generally accepted accounting principles shortly before he left office at the end of the Bush administration. However, his successor, Mary Schapiro, indicated that she was in no hurry to implement the roadmap during Senate confirmation hearings in January (see The Spirit of Accounting: Rethinking the Rush Toward Convergence).

More recently, though, in conjunction with the G-20 summit of world leaders in London last week, she attended the inaugural meeting of the Monitoring Board of global financial regulators that will be overseeing the activities of the International Accounting Standards Board and its parent organization, the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation (see International Accounting Monitors Choose Leader). One of the main topics of discussion was IFRS, and Schapiro reportedly voiced support for a single worldwide set of accounting standards.

“We are also committed to moving ahead with achieving what I think we all believe is the correct goal — over some time frame — and that is a single, universal set of accounting standards for public companies,” she said, according to “And the SEC remains committed to moving in that direction and very much committed to the convergence process.”

The comment period on the SEC roadmap to IFRS closes on April 20 after being extended from the original deadline of February 19.

The Deloitte survey found that 56 percent of the respondents described the timeline for mandatory IFRS adoption in the SEC’s proposed roadmap (which would begin for some U.S. public companies in 2014), to be “about right” or even could be accelerated.

The survey results also suggest that the SEC consider extending the option for early use of IFRS to a broader group of U.S. public companies than is currently outlined in the proposed roadmap. Fifty-six percent of survey respondents are in favor of increasing the scope of the early use option. 

Under the proposed roadmap, early IFRS users may need to continue to maintain U.S. GAAP information, as a final decision on mandatory use is not contemplated until 2011. Sixty-one percent of those responding noted that the proposed requirement to maintain U.S. GAAP information until 2011 decreases the likelihood of electing the option for early use of IFRS.

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