* Survey shows 49 pct of execs want early IFRS adoption
* Majority of executives want greater clarity from SEC
* Many companies already using two sets of standards
By Emily Chasan
NEW YORK, March 9 (Reuters) - About half of U.S. executives would like to be able to move to international accounting sooner rather than later even though U.S. regulators have not made a formal decision to mandate a switch, according to a new survey on Tuesday.
Last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said U.S. companies could start using International Financial Reporting Standards, rather than U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, no sooner than 2015.
The SEC’s previous plan would required companies to switch in 2014 and allowed some to do so before then.
In a survey of 2,500 executives by accounting firm KPMG LLP [KPMG.UL], 49 percent said they would like the option to adopt IFRS, which are already used in more than 100 countries, before 2015, if the U.S. does plan to formally make the switch.
“Many U.S. companies with subsidiaries around the world are already using IFRS for statutory reporting,” said Janice Patrisso, partner and national IFRS leader at KPMG. “For them, having the option to synchronize it all up front at the U.S. company is a positive.”
The SEC, which still supports the development of a single set of high-quality global accounting rules, said it would come up with its own “work plan” and make another decision next year about whether the U.S. would move to IFRS. But even the 2015 date is not certain.
KPMG, which polled executives just two days after the SEC’s announcement, found the majority would also like greater clarity on the SEC’s IFRS plans.
“Generally the companies believe this is going to happen,” Patrisso said. “Companies are saying, ‘What do I have ahead of myself?’ and they are inventorying around the world where they are already on IFRS.”
Patrisso said companies with international subsidiaries that have already made conversions to IFRS were looking at the way those units had chosen to use the rules. They are also preparing for changes U.S. and international accounting rulemakers are making to converge the two sets of rules.
Companies with less of a “global footprint” may be less eager to make changes, she said.
About 59 percent of the executives polled said a potential move to IFRS in 2015 or 2016 would give their companies enough time to prepare for the change.
Only 15 percent of those polled said that it would not be enough time, and 25 percent said they would be unsure of the impact of a switch. (Reporting by Emily Chasan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)