The Group of 20 wants to see U.S. accounting standards mergewith international standards, and so do finance executives at U.S.corporations. At the major nations' meeting this month inPittsburgh, the G20 requested that U.S. and internationalaccounting regulators work harder to achieve a convergence of U.S.GAAP and international financing reporting standards (IFRS) bymid-2011. The G20 statement, along with some friendly comments maderecently by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials,suggest the move toward a single set of global accounting standardsis regaining steam.

Meanwhile, a recent survey of U.S. finance executives found thatwhile 70% want the SEC to approve its proposed road map for theU.S. adoption of IFRS, most favor some adjustment. More than 50% ofthe 150 executives surveyed by Deloitte say the SEC should considerdelaying the plan's deadline for a year. The road map calls forlarge companies to start using IFRS in fiscal years ending afterDec. 15, 2014, but it gives the SEC until 2011 to make a finaldecision. Companies worry that an SEC decision in 2011 wouldn'tgive them enough time to prepare for a 2014 start.

The executives were divided on the best way to make the changein accounting regulations. Thirty-nine percent say the FinancialAccounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International AccountingStandards Board (IASB) should extend their efforts to converge U.S.generally accepted accounting standards with IFRS over the nextfive to 10 years. Another 39% think FASB and IASB should make asmuch progress on convergence as they can by 2011 and then switch toconverting U.S. companies to IFRS, and 17% say standards settersshould give up on convergence now and focus on conversionefforts.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.