Accounting body signals pause after flurry of rules

LONDON Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:00pm EST

LONDON Dec 18 (Reuters) - The standard setter which writes accounting rules for over 100 countries said it will pause for a while and focus on just a few reforms requested by its users, and bed down rules it has already approved.

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has worked on a string of rule changes in response to the financial crisis.

In the run up to the crisis banks had been too slow to make provisions for soured loans and other assets, and were also able to shunt many risky assets off their balance sheets, making them appear healthier.

IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said a consultation has showed that users of accounting rules want a period of relative calm for a few years, to "let the dust settle" and allow everyone to get used to the new rules.

The board will pay closer attention to making sure that the standards it now has are properly implemented.

The board will take more time to write new rules by conducting more research and costings first, and consult more widely with national and regional accounting bodies.

The IASB's agenda has been dominated by joint talks with its U.S. counterpart, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, for a decade to "converge" their rules so that the United States would then be expected to switch to IASB standards.

The 40-page paper published by the IASB on its future agenda priorities on Tuesday made little mention of the convergence project.

The United States decided this year to defer a decision on switching to the board's rules.

Instead, the IASB's priorities now reflect the growing use of its rules in emerging economies in Asia and Latin America, such as financial reporting in high inflationary economies.

Accounting for emissions trading schemes will also a priority, along with intangible asset rules for mining and exploration companies as sought by Australia, Canada, Norway and South Africa.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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