IFRS Creates Training Cottage Industry

Last Updated Sep 25, 2008 1:12 PM EDT

The planned switch to an international accounting system is creating its own cottage industry.

Accounting firms, universities, self-help advisers and magazines are setting up a plethora of courses about how to deal with the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS).
In late August, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission approved a proposed "roadmap" that could led to U.S. firms switching from the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to IFRS.

The U.S. is one of the last GAAP holdouts but that could change by 2014. The SEC will make a final decision about IFRS in 2011 about universal use of IFRS but some 100 or so large companies with international operations could use the system sooner.

Problem is, up until now, very few business schools have taught IFRS which has evolved as the world's accounting system only in the past decade or so.

That's changing. Seminars about IFRS are big business. Accounting firms such as Deloitte, training firms such as Ethan Hathaway and IAseminars and others are offering courses about IFRS of varying lengths and costs.

Venues of the seminars are global, ranging from Hong Kong, Dubai, London, Singapore, New York and Washington. Some range in cost from $3,000 or more although Corporate Board Member magazine, for which I write on occasion, will have a one-day round table in New York on Nov. 11 for $495 designed for directors of Fortune 1000 firms.

Small or middle sized companies, however, may be more in need of training since large multinational companies with a global reach already employ IFRS in some of their operations.

In some ways, IFRS is like Sarbanes-Oxley. It will be a gold mine for accounting firms and training groups.