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March 2009

International Finacial Reporting Standards:

The Road Ahead

In December 2007, the SEC eliminated the requirement to provide U.S. GAAP information for many foreign company filers that use International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The SEC has also published a proposed rule for U.S. companies to start preparing their financial statements using IFRS. IFRS is effectively in the process of replacing U.S. GAAP in the U.S. capital markets—it has already replaced GAAP for non-U.S. companies listed in domestic markets, and will soon replace GAAP for U.S. public companies. These rapid developments will require CPAs to retool and learn more about IFRS quickly. Doing so requires an appreciation of why IFRS is of such immediate interest to U.S. businesses and practitioners, a familiarity with the history and background of IFRS, and an understanding of the key similarities and differences between IFRS and U.S. GAAP. This primer on IFRS I concludes with some practical considerations for a company converting from U.S. GAAP to IFRS.

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