Companies in the U.S. and Europe generally favor the move to International Financial Reporting Standards, but European companies are much more skeptical about the process.

A study by professors Tim Buthe of Duke University and Walter Mattli of Oxford University found that a majority of the 749 CFOs they surveyed from the U.S., Germany, France and the United Kingdom favor international standards, but 40 percent question whether global accounting standards are achievable.

Financial executives overwhelmingly expect financial reporting standards to be increasingly set at the international level, and a clear majority approves of this trend. However, almost 40 percent are skeptical whether full harmonization of standards and their implementation is feasible, given the differences in legal environments and business cultures across countries.

The survey found that American executives, compared to their European counterparts, have a much more favorable assessment of key aspects of International Accounting Standards Board reporting, such as due process, transparency, accessibility, inclusiveness and accountability.

“Very strong majorities on both sides of the Atlantic believe that standards should be developed at the international level,” said Buthe. “That suggests to me that CFOs really think that international standard setting is feasible and desirable.”

Only 12 percent of U.S. respondents and 19 percent of European respondents view the trend toward "fair value accounting" favorably. Almost 60 percent of U.S. and European financial executives think the complexity and cost of switching reporting standards may outweigh the benefits. Ninety-three percent of U.S. companies say writing comment letters offering feedback is effective, while only 51 percent of Europeans agree.

An overwhelming majority of the respondents said that early involvement in the standard-setting process is key.

For more information, visit www.standardssurvey.com.

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