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June 3, 2008

Technical experience vital on the IASB

Industry figures have called for the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to retain part-time members in order to ensure recent, or current, technical experience at the international standard setter.

The trustees of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation have sped up the process on two issues raised in its current five-yearly review, which is due to be completed by the end of 2009. The foundation hopes to finalise decisions on the creation of a monitoring group and the composition of the IASB by October this year, so that changes can be implemented in 2009.

At present, the IASB has 14 members, two of whom are part-time. The trustees have proposed to expand the board to 16 members and have recommended flexibility regarding part-time members.

Part-time push

Participants from the profession argued in favour of retaining a number of part-time members at a series of roundtables held in London recently.

Ken White, the national director of assurance and advisory services for Deloitte UK, commented: “I know it’s probably a lost cause but I believe it’s good to retain part-time board members who are still active in the industry.”

Mazars & Guerard partner Michel Barbet-Massin said it is “paramount members have recent practical experience”.

European Federation of Accountants (Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens – FEE) deputy president Hans van Damme agreed with the importance of having some part-time board members, pointing out that if someone has been on the board for two five-year terms and was also in standard setting before then, their technical practice experience could be ten to 20 years outdated.

In terms of the number of board members, several industry figures warned 14 is already a large number and 16 could become inefficient. Roundtable participants also stressed that quality of IASB member candidates should be more important than the geographic spread of board members.

Carolyn Canham

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