Global Standards for the world economy

Monday 24 February 2020

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Convergence with US GAAP

 Convergence between IFRS Standards and US GAAP

The IASB and the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) have been working together since 2002 to achieve convergence of IFRS Standards and US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). A common set of high quality global standards remains a priority of both the IASB and the FASB.

In September 2002 the IASB and the FASB agreed to work together, in consultation with other national and regional bodies, to remove the differences between international standards and US GAAP. This decision was embodied in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the boards known as the Norwalk Agreement. The boards' commitment was further strengthened in 2006 when the IASB and FASB set specific milestones to be reached by 2008 (A roadmap for convergence 2006 - 2008).

In the light of the progress achieved by the boards and other factors, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) removed in 2007 the requirement for non-US companies registered in the United States to reconcile their financial reports with US GAAP if their accounts complied with IFRS Standards as issued by the IASB. At the same time, the SEC also published a proposed roadmap on adoption of IFRS Standards for domestic US companies.

In 2008 the two boards issued an update to the MoU, which identified a series of priorities and milestones, emphasising the goal of joint projects to produce common, principle-based standards.

The Group of 20 Leaders (G20) called for standard-setters to re-double their efforts to complete convergence in global accounting standards. Following this request, in November 2009 the IASB and the FASB published a progress report describing an intensification of their work programme, including the hosting of monthly joint board meetings and to provide quarterly updates on their progress on convergence projects.

In April 2012 the IASB and FASB published a joint progress report in which they describe the progress made on financial instruments, including a joint expected loss impairment ('provisioning') approach and a more converged approach to classification and measurement.

In February 2013 the IASB and FASB published a high-level update on the status and timeline of the remaining convergence projects. The report includes an update on the impairment phase of the joint project on financial instruments.