Normas internacionais

A adoção das normas internacionais ainda possui resistências nos Estados Unidos. Reportagem do Wall Street Journal destaca a decisão da SEC de não mais exigir a reconciliação com as normas norte-americanas de empresas estrangeiras com ações listadas no mercado dos EUA. Isto seria o primeiro passo para que as próprias empresas norte-americanas passem a adotar as normas internacionais, abandonando os US GAAP (normas de contabilidade dos Estados Unidos). Isto poderia simplificar a vida do investidor. Mas alguns problemas permanecem, em virtude das diferenças dos países, conforme destaca o texto:

Corporate News: Global accounting effort advances — U.S. loosens a rule on foreign firms; challenges remain
David Reilly and Kara Scannell
The Wall Street Journal Asia – 19/11/2007 – p 5

But even as the drive toward a global standard gains steam, potential problems loom. While markets are global, individual countries and regions differ on whether they should operate to benefit investors, companies or in some cases governments.

That could ultimately undermine a single set of standards if countries and regions take different approaches to formulating and applying the rules. A thicket of different interpretations could make a single set of rules unreliable for investors. That is why some critics say it is too early to move in this direction.

Some commissioners still worry it is too soon for a complete embrace of international rules. “If there is wide latitude . . . investors will not only lose confidence in the reliability of financial statements but also will lose the consistency that U.S. GAAP provides,” Commissioner Annette Nazareth said.

Despite the growing connections among international markets, countries and regions still differ sharply in who those markets are intended to serve first. In the U.S. and the U.K., markets are generally investor-driven. Financial statements, and the rules that govern them, are designed with investors’ needs generally taking priority over those of companies and auditors.

Elsewhere in Europe, investors’ needs often take a back seat to corporate or political goals. In China, meanwhile, companies, markets and investors are all subservient to the needs of the ruling Communist Party.

“I think you could have one set of standards, but given the differences in countries’ institutions and perceptions and views the implementation is going to be different and the enforcement is going to be different,” said Teri Lombardi Yohn, an associate professor of accounting at Indiana University who testified last month at a Senate subcommittee hearing on international standards.

Proponents of a single, global accounting system say sufficient protections could assure that the body that crafts international rules, the IASB, is buffered from political interference.

Separately, the SEC voted to propose overhauling offering documents, or prospectuses, issued by mutual-fund companies.

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