In a major step toward an eventual convergence of accounting standards, the Securities and Exchange Commission put out a proposal to allow non-U.S. companies that list on U.S. exchanges to reconcile their financials using International Financial Reporting Standards, instead of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.The measure, according to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, is a movement to have all companies "speak the same language," while serving to attract more international companies to U.S. markets. Business leaders have complained that investors are bypassing the U.S. in favor of London and Hong Kong as a result of over-regulation and the costs of having to file in two sets of accounting rules.

Currently, foreign companies trading on U.S. exchanges must convert their financial results to GAAP.

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