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

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What sort of people?

The IASB Constitution specifies that Board members must represent the ‘best available combination of technical expertise and diversity of international business and market experience’ (Paragraph 25). The Constitution adds: ‘The Trustees shall select IASB members so that the IASB as a group provides an appropriate mix of recent practical experience among auditors, preparers, users and academics’.

A number of commentators have attempted to analyse the Board members in terms of their professional background, but this is not that simple an exercise. On the one hand, in many anglophone countries, a training as a public accountant is regarded as the appropriate route for anyone interested in a career in accounting in any context. This means that most anglophone standard-setters have started their career in an audit firm, but it does not mean that it is reasonable to categorize them as auditors.

To take an example, Tom Jones, in 2001 the first deputy chairman of the IASB, and now retired, is a British chartered accountant, trained with an international firm. But like many public accountants, he decided before he had been 10 years in the business to switch to working for a preparer. He worked in a number of different European countries for different companies until he started to work for Citibank. Eventually he was transferred to New York and became vice-president (accounting) for Citibank. He lives in Connecticut, USA, just down the road from the FASB, on whose committees ...

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