SEC Wants US Firms to Switch to International Accounting

Multinationals would change first under plan
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2008 4:42 PM CDT
From left, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson; Sen. Richard Shelby; Sen. Christopher Dodd, and Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox, in Washington, July 15, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to require US companies to switch to international accounting rules, the Wall Street Journal reports. The body voted today to seek public comment on a plan for the transition, which would stagger requirements. Large multinational firms would be expected to voluntarily switch in 2010, prompting an SEC vote in 2011 on making the switch nationwide.

If the commission votes in favor, large companies would have to make the switch in 2014, mid-sized firms in 2015 and small companies in 2016. The transition promises to be costly—international accounting rules aren’t even covered in undergraduate coursework for US accountants. But the costs need to be weighed against the benefits of eventually streamlining international business, proponents argue.