May 1999 Issue


The 16-member International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) Board held its first open meeting in Washington, D.C., March 16­19. Observers are now permitted to attend the board's discussions in an effort to give its deliberations more credibility and respectability. The next meeting of the board will be in Warsaw, Poland, June 29­July 2.

The IASC Board is comprised of representatives from 13 countries (including the United States) and three other interest groups (the International Council of Investment Associations, the International Association of Financial Executive Institutes, and the Federation of Swiss Industrial Holding Companies), for a total of 16 voting members. The board has final authority to issue exposure drafts and final statements based upon a 75% majority. FASB and several other organizations have the privilege of the floor for debate and discussion but have no vote. A delegation from China also attends and has the privilege of the floor but no vote.

The delegations of each of the voting members typically comprise three people. Some have technical support from the member organizations. AICPA staff members provide technical support to the U.S. delegation.

The IASC is made up of 142 member organizations from 103 countries. The member organizations from the United States are the AICPA, the Institute of Management Accountants, and the National Association of State Boards of Public Accountancy.

The agenda for the Washington meeting, the first in the United States since 1992, provoked greater interest from those outside the country. For example, a major part of the discussion was on a draft of an exposure draft on accounting for agricultural activity. While farming remains a major component of the U.S. economy, it has little impact on U.S. securities markets. On the other hand, in developing countries agricultural activity has a major effect on their economies. The board did conclude that all biological assets and all agricultural produce should be measured in financial statements at their fair values. *

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