September 4, 2008

University Professors Weigh in on Building IFRS Into Curricula

NEW YORK, Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Relatively few universities currently have a strategy in place to incorporate International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) into accounting curricula in the 2008-2009 academic year, according to the results of a survey of accounting faculty conducted by the American Accounting Association and KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm.

In the KPMG-AAA IFRS Faculty Survey, conducted during July and August, only 22 percent of the 535 professors surveyed indicated that they can incorporate IFRS into curricula this year in any significant way. Sixty-two percent said that they have not taken any significant action steps.

"This is a major undertaking for universities, and it is not surprising to find professors weighing their options," said Philip M. J. Reckers, Ph.D., Vice President, American Accounting Association Professional Advisory Board and Professor of Accountancy W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. "Part of the challenge for professors is to make sure that their upperclassmen have some knowledge of IFRS before they leave campus, and therefore they are likely in the early phases to focus in the areas of intermediate and advanced accounting."

The KPMG-AAA IFRS survey found that the first class of graduating seniors likely to have a substantial amount of IFRS education will be the class of 2011, according to 30 percent of the professors, followed by the class of 2012, at 24 percent. Only five percent of the respondents expect the Class of 2009 to have substantial knowledge of IFRS, and 17 percent say it will be the class of 2010. Those views are in line with the fact that 42 percent of the professors felt that textbooks would not be ready until the 2010-2011 academic year.

Another major issue hindering advancement of curricula is that university administrations do not truly understand and appreciate the significant change needed to incorporate IFRS into a curriculum. In fact, only 23 percent of the professors indicated that the administrators responsible for allocating resources understand the change very well. Another 30 percent say that the administrators have some understanding, and 38 percent expressed the view that they have little or no understanding of the effort needed to make the change.

"It is imperative that professors take the time to educate administrators on the overall impact of IFRS in business and present a needs assessment for their department and curricula," said Manny Fernandez, KPMG's National Managing Partner -- University Relations and Recruiting. "There is no doubt that the early movers in incorporating IFRS into the curricula are those that have adequately informed university leadership, and it will be those schools that will be more successful in building their brands in recruiting students."

Seventy-nine percent of respondents in the KPMG-AAA survey said the key challenge for them is developing curriculum materials, and another 72 percent said it will be making room for IFRS in the curriculum. In terms of plans to prepare faculty to teach IFRS, 49 percent said it is on the shoulders of the individual faculty member. Sixteen percent said their schools will provide funding to attend training sessions and/or acquire study materials.

As to what the SEC should do in moving forward toward the adoption of IFRS, 42 percent said that the SEC and FASB should continue with convergence initiatives and adopt IFRS only when an acceptable level of convergence is achieved and 37 percent felt that the SEC should require adoption by establishing a specific date. Twenty-seven percent felt that the SEC should require adoption using a phased-in process for implementation, based on size of company.

Other survey findings:

-- In terms of what materials would be needed to support teaching IFRS, 89 percent noted textbooks as the highest priority, followed by case studies at 76 percent.

-- As to when they felt the CPA exam would include a comprehensive coverage of IFRS, 34 percent indicated 2011 followed by 29 percent who said 2012.

-- In incorporating IFRS into their curricula once it becomes an acceptable reporting framework for U.S. companies, 56 percent of the professors said they will focus on comparing and contrasting IFRS and U.S. GAAP standards and 37 percent said they would compare and contrast IFRS and U.S. GAAP foundational concepts; 26 percent expressed that they will teach IFRS standards and conceptual framework only. Many others, 33 percent, were undecided. (In selecting responses, professors could select all choices that apply.)

About AAA

The Education Committee of the American Accounting Association engages in activities designed to promote effective accounting curricula and stimulating learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. The American Accounting Association is a voluntary international association with over 8,000 members who are primarily university professors and of which approximately 2,000 reside outside the United States.

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, the audit, tax and advisory firm (, is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International. KPMG International's member firms have 123,000 professionals, including more than 7,100 partners, in 145 countries.

   Contact:  Tim Connolly/Steven Llanes             KPMG LLP             201-307-8393/201-307-7105  


CONTACT: Tim Connolly, +1-201-307-8393, or Steven Llanes,+1-201-307-7105, both of KPMG LLP

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