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Accountancy NEWS

Bridging the GAAP - accounting conference looks at cross-border issues

by Carol Elliott, Director of Newswriting

May 21, 2008


U.S. companies prepare financial statements using a set of reporting rules known as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Countries in the European Union, as well a growing number of others internationally, issue financial statements under a different system – the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). This creates a problem – corporations basically are speaking two different languages to describe the same financial events. And it is a problem that grows more pressing, especially considering the increasingly global nature of business.

As a result, the regulatory pressure is mounting for the United States to convert to IFRS in order to simplify the world of accounting. But for U.S. corporations, the conversion isn’t so simple. It amounts to a tectonic shift affecting the most fundamental ways they report their business, and raises a host of questions ranging from the need for re-education of accountants to what the change means for accounting standards.

This shift to the IFRS is the focus of the 2008 Financial Statement Analysis and Valuation Conference: Cross-Border Issues to be held May 30-31 in London, England. The annual international conference is hosted by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Accounting Research and Education (CARE).

The conference features some of the foremost experts in financial statement analysis and valuation, with more than more than 100 university scholars and practitioners from North America, Europe and Asia expected to attend.

“The conferences provide an opportunity for continued conversation between accounting practitioners, investment professionals, leading accounting academics, and young scholars,” said Peter D. Easton, Notre Dame accountancy professor and director of CARE. “Through these conversations, we ensure that the research work of the academics is relevant and worthwhile.”

This year’s practitioner sessions include Kenneth Lee, managing director of the Accounting and Valuation Team at Citi Investment Research; David Gascoigne, Transaction Services partner at KPMG UK; Leonie Bell and Agris Preimanis from Oxera; Susanne Leitterstorf and Christian Winkler from the Financial Services Authority; and Jing Zhang, head of research at Moody’s KMV.

Since 2005, CARE conferences have provided a forum where renowned financial reporting experts explore contemporary valuation issues, such as trends in the debt market and short-selling practices. The conferences are guided by an active advisory board, which includes senior faculty, investment professionals and editors from three of the top four accounting journals, and offers a platform for younger faculty to highlight their work.

“We are gratified by the wide-spread recognition of the importance of the conferences in bridging the gap between academia and practice,” said Easton. “More people, both practitioners and academics, ask to attend our conferences than can be accommodated.”

The 2008 conference will take place at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business European Campus in London. Previous events were held in Braselton, Ga., and California’s Napa Valley region. For more information about CARE or the conferences, including past conference video, visit http://www.nd.edu/~carecob/

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