That’s the argument from Jim Peterson at Re:Balance in his post, Unification of Global Accounting Standards? It’s Time to Call Time.
He is responding to the three-post series from Tom Selling in The Accounting Onion that I summarized here.
Mr. Peterson thinks it’s time to call the game.
First … the manifold complexities and range of judgmental decision within either of these sets of standards are so extensive as to render illusory any sense of transparency or comparability.
My rephrase and expansion of the idea? The latitude within either set of accounting standards, especially combined with distinctives of different industries in different countries with different statutory reporting requirements and different capital structures would make it exquisitely difficult to get anything that approaches consistency and transparency across the planet.
Second … the simple truth is that the American regulators lack the will, the skill and the patience to navigate the path.
Other people with more skill than me at reading the tea leaves will have to expand on that. The minimal progress made on convergence thus far challenges the possibility of getting to the stated goal.
Finally, it is time to acknowledge the application to the GAAP/IFRS dysfunction of a basic principle observed on large-scale projects of social and political importance.
He explains the dynamics of large projects, particularly those that have extensive political dimensions, which typically grow in size and delay in time. Something this large, complicated, and political will take an extremely long time to get anywhere.
Check out the full post.
Perhaps when you’re in the 10th overtime and no one has yet put any points on the board it’s time to just call the game and go get a pizza.