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An Executive Guide to IFRS: Content, Costs and Benefits to Business by Peter Walton

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Steady progress

The IASC proceeded to write International Accounting Standards (IAS). Their first standard, IAS 1, remains in force today, even if much re-organized and revised. The initial standard-setters were not especially trying to break new ground. Benson has written that they were trying to create a set of ‘best practice’ standards that could be used for international transactions and could also be a benchmark for harmonization. However, best practice did not always mean the same thing to everyone. Where the IASC could not get agreement, in the early days its standards might include more than one option.

The other issue the IASC Board had to face was the lack of take-up of their standards. Each of the member professional associations had to agree to ‘use their best endeavours’ to have IAS adopted in their country. However, IAS were in fact not used by any of the founding countries until the EU made them compulsory for listed companies in 2005. By the end of the 1970s, there were a number of standards in existence but they were not used. In Europe, some Swiss companies started to use them (there were no Swiss standards for consolidated entities at that time) and the Italian stock exchange regulator also mandated them for use where Italian GAAP had no equivalent.

The standards started to be discussed in teaching texts, as representing some form of benchmark, and they started to be used in former colonies of European countries, particularly those of the UK, as a guide in shaping ...

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