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Outgoing PwC head confident IFRS road map for US on track

Outgoing global head of Pricewaterhouse-Coopers Sam DiPiazza is confident US regulators are sticking to the IFRS road map proposed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last year.

“Some question the US commitment to IFRS,” DiPiazza told an International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) Foundation conference this month. “But I don’t believe that’s what we’re hearing from the US.”

DiPiazza said he hears US regulators are remaining true to the road map, which would see the decision whether to adopt IFRS made in 2011.

When SEC chair Mary Schapiro took office at the beginning of this year, she indicated she would not adhere to the proposed road map, prepared during the time of her predecessor Christopher Cox, without properly considering other options. This raised fears the process of convergence between US GAAP and IFRS might be jeopardised.

However, DiPiazza said that positive noises have been coming from the US in recent weeks. He noted that Schapiro said it was important to have a single set of financial reporting standards, although she did make it clear they must suit US companies.

Hopes for a US shift to IFRS were also given a major boost by President Barack Obama’s recent proposals for an overhaul of the US financial regulatory system. The plans recommend the Financial Accounting Standards Board, International Accounting Standards Board and SEC make substantial progress towards a single set of high quality global accounting standards by the end of 2009.

DiPiazza said there is opposition coming from some US preparers, who are complaining about the cost of adopting IFRS and asking what is in it for them. But he added the SEC and the Obama administration know adoption is essential and is confident the time frame outlined in the road map is attainable.

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