Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Accounting changes

It doesn't happen often that the debate about changes in accounting rules makes the Financial Times' front page. Today is the exception to the rule. The CEOs of the global Big Four audit firms (KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young) together with their colleagues from smaller siblings Grant Thornton and BDO, are calling for wide ranging changes to global accounting and auditing in a Paris Symposium. The discussion paper is available online.

While initial comments tend to be skeptical, I share the thrust of the self-proclaimed conversation starter. Comprehensive change, including efficient delivery via XBRL and fair value reporting in real time is on the agenda, but will be strongly opposed by forces opposed to change. Unfortunately, using utopian language along the lines of Huxley's Brave New World is playing right into their hands.

XBRL has been a recurring theme at today's meeting of the IASB's Analyst Representatives Group, for instance. This is no Utopia, it's just fast change. Have a look at the SEC's Chairman's comment to a blog post (via

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