International


  The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) published for public comment an exposure draft of proposed amendments to 11 IFRSs under its annual improvements project.

 

The proposed amendments range from clarification of the measurement of noncontrolling interests in IFRS 3, Business Combinations (as revised in 2008), to changes of wording to clarify the meaning of IFRSs and remove unintended inconsistencies.

 

Unless otherwise specified, the proposed effective date for the amendments is for annual periods beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2011. Entities would be permitted to adopt them earlier. The proposed effective date for the amendments arising from IFRS 3 and the consequential amendments to the transition requirements of IAS 27, Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements (as amended in 2008), is July 1, 2010.

 

The ED, Improvements to IFRSs, is available at tinyurl.com/mg5vyx. Comments are due Nov. 24.

 

Printed copies of Improvements to IFRSs (ISBN 978-1-907026-33-1) are available for approximately $16 (plus shipping), from the IASC Foundation Publications Department at tinyurl.com/lkujmb.

 

  Representing the AICPA and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), the International Qualifications Appraisal Board (IQAB) signed a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in New Zealand (NZICA) that is intended to help facilitate the process for U.S. CPAs to be recognized as chartered accountants in New Zealand and vice versa.

 

The IQAB reviews accounting qualifications of foreign countries, negotiates reciprocity agreements with professional accounting organizations and makes reciprocity recommendations to state boards of accountancy based upon mutual recognition agreements adopted by the IQAB with foreign institutes. Agreements recommended by the IQAB are subject to approval by the boards of the AICPA and NASBA. Both boards have approved the MRA with New Zealand.

 

In addition to the new agreement with New Zealand, the AICPA and NASBA have mutual recognition agreements with institutes from Canada, Mexico, Ireland and Australia. Applicants from these countries are eligible to take the four-hour International Qualifications Examination (IQEX) as determined by those state boards that recognize the various mutual recognition agreements. In states that choose to recognize the MRA with New Zealand, applicants who receive a passing score on the IQEX exam will be eligible for licensure without sitting for the Uniform CPA Examination.

 

  The European Commission (EC) published the results of a survey on control structures in audit firms and their consequences on the audit market. The survey found that:

 

  • Ninety percent of respondents believe that the EC should strive to reduce all potential barriers to the entry, growth and survival of audit firms in the international audit market. However, most of the respondents consider that lack of access to external financial capital is not the most important barrier preventing emergence of new players. It would not, therefore, be sufficient simply to change the current rules on the control of audit firms; a comprehensive analysis on a greater number of priorities would be needed. Nevertheless, some respondents do believe that allowing external investment in audit firms can help. For others, however, the risks linked to the external investor model exceed any potential benefits.
  • Stakeholders do not consider the current rules essential to retain human capital. However, they are important to protect independence of auditors. If these rules were changed, additional safeguards on independence of auditors would be needed.
  • Stakeholders are unhappy about the lack of harmonization of regulatory requirements, in particular on independence rules for auditors and professional qualifications requirements. Multiple registration requirements to provide cross-border services as well as lack of harmonization of liability limitations for auditors were also seen as important barriers.
  • Some respondents would favor new governance rules for audit firms, as well as measures to address the lack of recognition of the actual audit capabilities of firms other than the four largest networks. More frequent and transparent tender procedures, and the involvement of companies’ audit committees and of shareholders in the tendering process, would be helpful in this respect.
  • Respondents emphasized the need for action at the EU level while also acknowledging that any action should take into account the global dimension of the issues.

 

Additional information is available at tinyurl.com/mzn3af.

 

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