Majority of finance professionals think positively about IFRS, even if they are not prepared for conversion.
Saddle Brook , NJ (November 19, 2008) – Fifty-eight percent (58%) of U.S. companies are unprepared to train staff for the transition from U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), according to a new survey by Ajilon Finance Solutions and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). The survey, which polled approximately 500 finance and accounting professionals as part of IMA's Inside Talk Webinar Series, reveals there is still a high degree of uncertainty among finance and accounting professionals about the transition to IFRS, despite the vast majority (86%) of professionals reporting that they anticipate IFRS conversion having a positive impact on the accounting profession.
Other key findings from Ajilon Finance Solutions' survey reveal:
- IFRS Expertise Desired: Fifty-two percent (52%) of respondents said their employers want them to have a general awareness about IFRS and convergence, showing strong demand for this set of skills/experience.
- Career Worries are Surfacing : The top three concerns of finance employees in relation to the convergence of U.S. GAAP and IFRS are: the impact convergence will have on their future career prospects (58%), that converged standards might be more challenging to apply than current U.S. standards (26%), and that compliance with converged standards might not be enforced consistently by regulators throughout the world (24%).
- Employees Want Training: The majority (63%) of employees said their company will pay for the cost of training to get up to speed with IFRS convergence. Most finance employees (61%) prefer Internet-based training in IFRS and convergence as opposed to classroom or other types of training.
“Companies cannot wait until the 2014 deadline before training and hiring the staff they need for this transition,” said Andrew Reina, practice director for Ajilon Finance Solutions. “We are working with many of our clients now to enable a seamless and efficient transition of staff and resources in order to ensure that their team is fully prepared, trained and comfortable as soon as possible.
”Employers wishing to improve their staff's transition to the new international accounting standards should take the following steps, according to Ajilon Finance Solutions:
- Conduct a comprehensive diagnostic of existing accounting processes, staff and training resources. It is critical that organizations create a baseline assessment to identify any gaps in preparedness. We recommend identifying an independent source to validate critical migration functions, outline transition costs and perform impartial staff appraisals
- Appoint a Project Management Officer. Successful implementations are often a direct result of the leaders organizing and managing day-to-day activities. Companies need to designate or acquire a seasoned professional with the critical PMO and accounting expertise to facilitate change management effectively. This liaison should be a single point of contact for the project deliverables and held accountable to the activity timetables.
- Survey finance employees to ascertain appropriate training methods. Training will be a key component during IFRS transition. It is important for companies to identify those training delivery mechanisms specific to their organization. Evaluate feedback from your finance team on what they consider the most effective methods for training. This could include web seminars, classroom sessions, one–on-one training, onsite versus offsite and ongoing training requirements.
- Regularly review IFRS adoption procedures. Once IFRS adoption is complete, continue to review accounting treatments and processes. Conduct periodic best practices assessment to confirm accounting optimization and guidelines. This is also a good opportunity to reassess ongoing training requirements, how competitors are reporting and what additional savings can be generated from an infrastructure standpoint.