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Issue 1. The relationship of SNA and IASB

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Description of the issue
The International Accounting Standards Board is an independent, privately funded accounting standard-setter. The Board members come from nine countries and have a variety of functional backgrounds. The IASB is committed to developing, in the public interest, a single set of high quality, understandable and enforceable global accounting standards that require transparent and comparable information in general purpose financial statements.

The IASB works with national commercial accounting standard-setters to achieve convergence in accounting standards around the world. Nearly one hundred countries currently require or permit the use of IFRSs (International Financial Reporting Standards) or have a policy of convergence with them. The development of IFRSs reflects the changing needs and circumstances of the global economy in ways that can be directly relevant to the use and requirements of the SNA. The adoption of IFRSs by corporations can have a major impact on corporate accounting and the data available from corporate accounts.

The IASB works in a three-stage process to develop a new standard. The first is a draft with an invitation to comment (ITC); the second is an exposure draft (ED) also inviting comment; the third is the new standard. At each stage the background to the issue is clearly explained and the reasons are given for the choice recommended. In both the first two stages comments are invited from any interested party. The development of a regular dialogue between the national accounts community and the IASB would be a way to assure the needs of national accountants were represented to the IASB and national accountants were aware of the possible developments in the data sources. Already during the 2008 revision consultation of IASB standards and their counterpart for public accounting standards (the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board, IPSASB) has been extremely beneficial. It is therefore desirable that a dialogue be established and maintained with the IASB with a view to amending the SNA to follow new accounting standards when appropriate.

One area of developing interest in international accounting, relating back to the question of multinational enterprises, is that of mergers and acquisitions. The text in chapter 21 draws on information in the OECD Benchmark Definition of Foreign Direct Investment. IASB work in this area should be monitored to see if these recommendations need amending.
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