IASB ‘obsessed’ with fair value, and other myths

BVWireIssue #61-2
October 10, 2007

Among the more popular myths surrounding the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is “that we are obsessed with fair value,” says Chairman Sir David Tweedle, in the current issue of Insight (see below).  That obsession is “grossly overstated,” he insists.  The Board’s primary efforts this year have focused on deciding the appropriate mix between historical cost and fair value on balance sheets.  “The only major fair value changes we’ve brought about are the valuation of share options and the fair value option.”  Convergence is another myth, he says.  In reality, the Board has been working on how to reduce or eliminate the gap between IFRS and US GAAP—which, Tweedle predicts, has a fair chance of happening next year.  “That is a massive change…A globalised accounting language will bring benefits to everyone.”

That’s in keeping with the newly revamped and revised Insight, the quarterly journal published by the IASB and the IASC Foundation.  “Truly global capital markets require a common language to articulate business performance,” say the editors. “Yet we haven’t always made it easy for those outside of the standard-setting world to understand, and most importantly to engage in the extensive rounds of consultation we undertake.”   By exploring some of the “bigger picture themes and concepts,” the expanded Insight hopes to “raise awareness…amongst a broad range of constituencies both within and outside the standard-setting world.”

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