Global convergence of accounting standards - the rules by
which companies communicate their financial performance to
their shareholders and market - has never appeared so close.
Since no single country's own standards would be acceptable
worldwide, it has fallen to a non-national body to promote
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), as the
answer for global capital markets.
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is based
in London. Its standards will, from this year, be used on a
mandatory or optional basis by nearly 100 countries. That
sounds a lot, but it still leaves many first world economies
following their own route. Some big economic blocs have opted
for IFRS - the EU being the most significant - but several are
still on the outside, most notably the US and Japan, leading to
some tension in the regulatory environment. The IASB is
nominally aiming for one-size-fits-all regulatory environments,
but it has no...