Major financial firms and credit ratings agencies are pushing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to blend U.S. and international accounting standards into one set of practices.

At a roundtable meeting on accounting standards in Washington today, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro called the idea "a major decision for this agency, and not one to be taken lightly."

Regulators were originally supposed to finish the convergence work by last month. It's now expected to go "into the first or second quarter" of next year, Schapiro said in an interview.

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