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Standards, Reporting, and Enforcement

In need some help in answering these questions:
1) What is your opinion on the questions below?

FASB promulgates US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Standards) and IASB creates IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). US GAAP is a rule-based system while IFRS are principle-based. The accounting standards only report on the financial dimension and stakeholders are demanding additional information. GRI (The Global Reporting Initiative) is one effort and standardizing reporting on multiple dimensions. In addition, SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) was passed in 2002 as a response to numerous accounting scandals. Accounting does not exist in isolation, and changes in accounting rules and enforcement impact business organizations on a global basis.

References:
American Institute of Public Accountants (AICPA). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.aicpa.org/Pages/Default.aspx
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fasb.org/home
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). (n.d.). Convergence with the International Accounting Standards Board. Retrieved from http://www.fasb.org/intl/convergence_iasb.shtml
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx
International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ifrs.org/Home.htm
International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ifac.org/
The Sarbanes-Oxey Act. (2002). A Guide to the Sarbanaes-Oxley Act. Retrieved from http://www.soxlaw.com/

Required: Below are some questions for discussion.
1. How widespread are IFRS and what do think will happen to US GAAP?
2. What is the difference between a rule-based and principle-based system?
3. Discuss the Global Reporting Initiative, its purpose, the standard setting process, the use of its reporting system, etc.
4. How has SOX affected business organizations and the accounting profession?

You do not need to discuss every organization mentioned above. Choose one or two relevant aspects for further investigation and share your knowledge with the class. Try to add information not previously discussed by others. Please, provide factual information (not merely opinions) backed up by details or examples. Your comments should be in your own words and Include references in APA format.

Solution Preview

Solutions:
1. There has been talk for some time now about convergence between GAAP and IFRS. Basically, we would be under IFRS and no longer adhere to GAAP. In reality, there are several problems with this transition. The main problem is the nature of IFRS. GAAP is rule-based because it covers all possible areas in accounting (as many as realistic given the scope of accounting). GAAP was written this way so that companies could not find loopholes. When companies find loopholes, they use those loopholes to manipulate or change accounts in certain ways, even if it is legal to do so. It then creates a set of financial statements that look good only because of those loopholes. In any instance, without exception, when management changes the financial statements in any way to make the financial statements appear in a manner different from how they did appear by using the numbers in the accounts and transactions where they originally were (should be), it is unethical because it is a form of deceit. There are no exceptions to this statement, ever. GAAP is all-inclusive to prevent creative accounting, which presents deceit.

IFRS is not rule-based. We would have a big, big problem with creative accounting, fraud, and deceit. We would also have a problem in the fact ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides a comprehensive discussion into each of the topic questions listed. GAAP and IFRS usage is discussed, including the current convergence of GAAP. The differences between the two systems are also discussed. The Global Reporting Initiative is discussed in detail, and the effect that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) has had on organizations and the accounting profession is also discussed (in separate discussions).

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