This paper was published as a Faculty Working Paper (no. 207) for the Lubin School of Business, Center for Applied Research, September 2002. This paper was also presented at the American Accounting Association - Mid Atlantic Region, Baltimore, Maryland, April 25-27, 2002.

Document Type



Do Global companies headquartered in the United States believe that there is value in having a single set of international accounting standards fir their financial reporting? This is the question for which an answer was sought in an inquiry-based study undertaken in late summer 2001. The value of an international set of standards was highlighted with the acceptance of a new international structure for accounting standard setting and the establishment of the International Accounting Standards Board(IASB), which began functioning in May 2001. A random sample of 100 of the Fortune Global 500 companies that were U.S. based was selected to participate.

The chief executive officer was addressed by name and provided with a memorandum and inquiry form to forward to the person responsible for consolidated financial reporting in the company. Two subtopics were identified for inquiry. One was related to assessment of international accounting standards; the second to current global financial reporting practices. There were eight questions with a ninth question that merely stated: “Comments?” Thirty-four responses from two mailings were received, for a response rate of approximately 35 percent (of the 98 that were assumed to have been received). Approximately 65 percent reported either limited or extensive review of the core set of International Accounting Standards. Of these, 65 percent, a majority believed that the core set of International Accounting Standards appeared adequate in relation to some of the guidance, but appeared inadequate in other respects. None felt the core set was adequate overall. Notwithstanding the extent of their review of the core set of accounting standards, all respondents expressed an opinion of ultimate usefulness, with approximately 74 percent of them noting that U.S. GAAP requirements would persist for the foreseeable future. Information about their global reporting practices was also obtained. The paper provides some ideas for further studies.