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How the SEC's Authority Helps Resolve Accounting Issues

Scott Taub | July 30, 2013

For the past five years, I have served on the IFRS Interpretations Committee, the body that issues authoritative interpretations of International Financial Reporting Standards. During that time I have learned a great deal about how financial reporting works outside of the United States. There are several important differences, of course, some of which are immediately evident, while others are more subtle.

One of the more obvious differences is the role that securities regulators play. While U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the statutory authority to set GAAP for public companies actually rests with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC also has the authority to review and enforce the application of GAAP by public companies. This dual authority makes the SEC the final arbiter of what...

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