Financial Times Survey Reveals Patchy Compliance with International Accounting Standards

Article excerpt

Companies that use International Accounting Standards (IASs) vary considerably in their level of compliance, according to the recently published "Financial Times Inter national Accounting Standards Survey 1999."Written by former IASC Secretary-General David Cairns, the survey examines the 1998 financial statements of 125 companies that refer to the use of IASs.

The survey's detailed conclusions include the following: Some of Europe's largest companies are among those that refer to the use of IASs but do not comply fully with all IASs.

The auditors of almost half of the surveyed companies do not express an opinion on compliance with IASs; the auditors refer only to compliance with national standards. The auditors of three survey companies express unqualified opinions" when the companies disclose exceptions from full IAS compliance, in conflict with the International Standards on Auditing.

Although national and international accounting standards increasingly converge, national bodies have rejected some recent IASs. For example, Canada and Malaysia have continued to allow companies to defer foreign exchange losses.

The survey also deals with the possible endorsement by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) of the use of IASs in cross-border offerings and listings. …