How to Integrate International Financial Reporting Standards Into Accounting Programs

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Robert A. Singer


IFRS, US GAAP, Convergence, Accounting Education


It is expected the SEC will require U.S. domestic companies to prepare and file their annual 10Ks in accordance with international financial reporting standards (IFRS) by 2016. Given the probability that the FASB-IASB convergence project (i.e., Norwalk Agreement) will continue subsequent to mandatory adoption, US accounting programs will be inclined to cover the standards in both reporting regimes. Despite the likely prospect of mandatory adoption of IFRS, most US accounting educators have done little to revise their programs, their courses, and their curricula to address the question of how best to incorporate these standards. This paper discusses the pros/cons of three possible approaches in addressing this question: 1) IFRS taught in a stand-alone course, 2) IFRS taught in all upper-level financial accounting courses, and 3) IFRS taught across the entire accounting curricula. This paper argues in favor of the third alternative since non-accounting business majors will be expected to have a general knowledge of this reporting paradigm, and thus should receive exposure in the introductory courses. Second, if accounting majors obtain exposure to IFRS across the entire accounting curricula, they will obtain a better understanding and appreciation of essential differences between principles and rules based financial reporting systems. Moreover, such exposure across the curricula will allow accounting majors to better evaluate the impact of IFRS vs. US GAAP across the range of accounting disciplines.


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