02 September 2009

Actual accounting-related item! What's that doing here?

Sitting on campus working on my accounting homework, because if I did it at home I'd get distracted by rodents or games, and I can't have that. Plus, missing the 2:10 bus means no sardine cans on the way home, and sardine cans rattle my nerves and put me in a foul mood for the rest of the afternoon (damn my hermit tendencies!) Anyway...

I got a chance to ask a question of my accounting teacher today: "Are accounting standards in the US radically different from accounting standards in Canada or Europe?" The answer was yes---the standards used by FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board, the US agency that sets the rules here) and IASB (International Accounting Standards Board, which the rest of the civilized world uses) are quite different, mostly because US-based corporations have had their hands in the cookie jar of American regulatory agencies since...well, since 1935 when the board was formed in the first place as part of FDR's New Deal, and especially under Reagan and the two Bushes, the standards got tilted to make all manner of merry hell possible in America that's illegal in Canada, Europe, Australia, and probably Timbuktu.

This could prove to be a bit of a monkey wrench in my internationalist aspirations, but fortunately thanks to globalization, learning IASB standards is part of the training to become a CPA in the States; I'll just have to wait until at least my junior year of college (where Intermediate Accounting classes are part of the deal) to learn more. Most American CPAs these days (even the ones who weren't initially trained in IASB standards) say that the writing's on the wall and all it'll take will be a couple more Enron/Arthur Andersen accounting scandals and subprime mortgage flim-flams before Congress decides (possibly in an election year) to disband FASB and adopt IASB standards across the United States.

Just one man's opinion, but IASB standards might be the only thing that could save this wretched hive of scum and villainy under the Stars and Stripes. The short version for my wife: Canada remains an option, I'll just have to keep an internationalist focus in my education.

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