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

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Conclusion

This chapter has been a brief tour of the highlights of the creation of the IASC and its evolution into the IASB. The IASC seemed like a good thing to be doing but no one knew what to do with its standards. It was not until the crucial 1987–93 phase that the organization acquired focus and a specific purpose. Circumstances since then, particularly adoption by the EU and probably the Enron and other US scandals, have conspired to confirm and expand the role of the international standard-setter. It has, so far, survived the financial crisis, and gained a great deal more governmental visibility.

There are, of course, challenges ahead. Major economies such as Canada, Brazil, India and South Korea are adopting IFRS while Japan and China are ‘converging’ their standards. This will put pressure on the issues of uniform application and compliance. If the IASB survives those, there is then the challenge of the US adopting IFRS. Some commentators think that US adoption should be avoided since the very particular and very litigious cultural environment would push IFRS into a confined set of anti-abuse rules unsuitable for an international and multicultural environment.

1 Camfferman, K. & Zeff, S.A. (2007), Financial Reporting and Global Capital Markets: A History of the International Accounting Standards Committee, 1973–2000, Oxford University Press (this is the authorized history of the IASC, an exhaustive and fascinating work compiled by two leading researchers).

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