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Am I going overboard?  I hope not, hate getting wet.  Let’s see what Dennis Beresford, former chairman of the FASB and current accounting professor, has to say about my previous post.  Denny is quoted from AECM, the international listserv for accounting professors.  On Thursday, November 27, 2008, he says:

Dennis Beresford, former Chairman of FASB, now accounting professor at University of Georgia

Dennis Beresford, former Chairman of FASB, now accounting professor at University of Georgia

Last year I had Julie Erhardt speak to my graduate accounting classes and meet with some of our accounting faculty. Julie is the SEC Deputy Chief Accountant in charge of all of the international accounting effort. One of the faculty members asked about how we could teach IFRS on top of U.S. GAAP. Julie gave what I thought was a very interesting and insightful response.

Julie said that perhaps we could change our approach to financial accounting to one in which most of the focus in the first place was on business issues.  For example, if covering lease accounting, the instruction could begin with the differences between buying and leasing an asset, what are the economics of doing one vs. the other, and what would be the effects on financial statements of capitalizing leases vs. expensing lease payments as they are incurred.  Then the coverage could move on to the fundamental principles that determine whether leases should be capitalized or not e.g., how much of the fair value is covered by lease payments. Only after the economic issues and the basic principles are covered would some of the details (e.g., what to do with contingent rentals) that distinguish IFRS from GAAP be mentioned. In this approach, about 50% of the effort would be on the economics, 25% would be on the principles (that ought be to pretty similar), and 25% on the rules (that could be different).

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