WASHINGTON Aug 26 The U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission tapped a former Deloitte LLP vice chairman
as its new chief accountant, the agency announced on Tuesday.
James Schnurr, who specialized in SEC reporting for public
companies at Deloitte, will start in October and replace Paul
Beswick, who had been in the job since 2012, the SEC said.
The change comes at a critical time when the agency is
deciding whether to allow U.S. companies to move toward
international accounting standards.
"His deep knowledge of accounting and auditing standards
coupled with his extensive experience interacting with
regulators and accounting and auditing standard setters will be
invaluable to the commission," SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a
The international financial reporting standards, known as
IFRS, are determined by a London-based board and based more on
broad principles than detailed rules. Generally accepted
accounting principles in the United States, or GAAP, are set by
the Connecticut-based Financial Accounting Standards Board.
Most experts agree that U.S. and foreign companies should
follow similar accounting standards. But critics of a switch to
IFRS say the SEC would give up some oversight of reporting
requirements in that scenario.
Staff members at the SEC have in the past raised concerns
about "underdeveloped" areas in IRFS, such as accounting for the
insurance industry; a divergence in how countries applied the
global rules; and a shaky funding mechanism for the
international accounting standard setters.
White said earlier this year that deciding whether to make
such a change would be an SEC priority.
Schnurr recently retired from Deloitte, where he began his
career in 1975. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross
and received a master of business administration from Rutgers
(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Leslie Adler)