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Kroeker’s departure set to delay IFRS decision

The resignation of the SEC’s chief accountant is likely to put back any decision by the US on IFRS convergence, said one of his predecessors in the role.

Jim Kroeker is leaving the SEC in July to rejoin the private sector. He has been chief accountant since January 2009, having joined the commission two years earlier as deputy chief accountant.

"It will likely be some period of time before a new chief accountant is appointed," Lynn Turner, the SEC’s chief accountant between 1998 and 2001, told Bloomberg. "And I would not expect the SEC to adopt IFRS prior to that person being in place. You've got five commissioners, none of which have an accounting background whatsoever. It would be highly unusual that they would adopt a rule without having their chief policy adviser on such matters in place."

“Jim has played a key role in efforts to improve financial reporting and reduce the complexity of financial disclosure,” Barry Melancon, president and chief executive officer of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), said.

The SEC has been studying if and how the US GAAP should converge with IFRS since Christopher Cox, the former chairman, announced the proposal of roadmap towards achieving harmonisation in 2008.

However, Kroeker told the AICPA’s National Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments last December that the SEC’s decision would be delayed because the convergence agenda of the International Accounting Standards Board and the Financial Accounting Standards Board was some months from completion.

The SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant, which has accounting, professional practice and international affairs groups, is charged with establishing and enforcing accounting and auditing policy to improve the transparency and relevancy of financial reporting, as well boosting the performance of public company auditors so financial statements are fair and credible.

The statement announcing Kroeker’s resignation said he had been staff director of the SEC’s study of fair value accounting standards, which Congress asked it to undertake in 2008, and led the efforts of the Office of the Chief Accountant to improve off-balance sheet accounting standards, as well as guiding the commission’s considerations related to the convergence of US and international accounting standards.

Kroeker was formerly a member of Deloitte’s National Office accounting services group and, between 1999 and 2001, was a practice fellow at the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

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