Home' Charter : 1211 Charter Contents 42 Charter I December 2011
Profile > Ian Mackintosh FCA
In July 2011 Ian Mackintosh FCA stepped
into the biggest role of his career – taking
on the position of vice-chairman of the
International Accounting Standards Board
(IASB). Prior to his appointment, London-
based Mackintosh – who has a long history
in accounting standards – held the position
of chairman of the Accounting Standard
Board (ASB) in the United Kingdom. A New
Zealander, he has spent much of his career
working in the accounting standards sector
Mackintosh recently returned home
to Sydney as part of a global tour to visit
nations within the IASB framework. While in
Sydney his efforts were concentrated on four
He says he is well aware of the impact of
these changes and understands that people
are asking for a period of calm.
“The job of IASB is to keep in touch
with its constituents and to let them know
that the board is aware of their problems.
Rest assured, we’re working on them and
we are taking all these into consideration.
Agreements have been reached on two,”
Revenue recognition is the frst of the four
convergence items. An exposure draft has
already been completed and is currently
available on the IASB website for comment.
“The process takes several months. The
draft is posted on our website for comments
from stakeholders, companies or institutions.
Accountants can use this opportunity to
comment on the draft. We encourage
comments,” he adds.
Next on the agenda is the issue of leasing,
which has retailers hot on their heels.
“We understand the issue of leasing is
incredibly important. Once carried through,
it will bring a number of liabilities onto the
balance sheet that weren’t there before.
The exposure draft will be available at the
end 2011. Again, we are seeking comments
from our constituents through our website,”
The third agenda item is insurance – IASB
aims to establish a common insurance
As vice-chairman of the IASB, Ian Mackintosh FCA has a
tough assignment: mass harmonisation of international
accounting standards. But he's rising to the challenge.
Story Emily Chantiri
standard – and the fourth item is fnancial
instruments. Mackintosh is calling for
patience, as there will be some major
changes for fnancial institutions, particularly
in light of the current global fnancial crisis.
“This is an important issue for all to get
convergence. Take for example write-offs
and the current sovereign debt crisis. If any
bank has Greek bonds what value should
they be held on balance sheets at present?
Today, they’re not worth as much as when
they were issued. We are working hard to
get convergence on this standard. We hope
to get an exposure draft on this in 2012,”
THE EURO PROBLEM
As for the impact from the other European
nations plagued by economic woes, such as
Iceland, Portugal and Italy, he adds the IASB
has a critical role to play.
“Our most important role is to have the
right fnancial reporting in place so, as things
transpire, accounting departments are
able to write off quickly,” says Mackintosh.
He says government must also be held
“The bigger question is how governments
themselves report. The basic responsibility
for this area is with the International Public
Sector Accounting Standards Board
(IPSASB). Ideally, we’d like to work closely
with them, so that we understand each
other’s point of view and work in a co-
ordinative way rather than in a diverse way.”
Back home, he says Australian
accountants will have time to adapt to the
changes. The date for the fnal convergence
on all the above items will be to complete
them by 2015.
“It’s important for accountants to keep
across what we are doing so they are
prepared and ready. Some of these standards
will make a big difference to the way they
are currently reported. We understand that
it will take some time and effort to grasp the
changes, but we still have a few years before
they are fully integrated,” he adds.
Mackintosh has full confdence in the IASB
and his colleagues.
“It’s remarkable what has been achieved in
the last 10 years. We have been going for just
over a decade and the previous chairman, Sir
David Tweedy CA and his team have done a
fantastic job to keep standards in line. We are
running fast to get standards set in place not
just in Australia, but globally,” he says.
He further adds that he is well aware of
the load chief fnancial offcers are carrying
in regard to how the changes will effect their
board and management.
“CFOs and their boards are used to doing
things a certain way. Nobody likes change –
this could mean change in some areas as to
how they look at their fgures. Naturally, these
will need to be explained to their boards and
to their investors.”
A truly globalised reporting system is in
his sight. It’s a goal that Mackintosh would
like to achieve during his term at the IASB.
However, he is realistic and says it could
be fve to 10 years way. The major hurdle is
getting America and Asia across the line.
“This will be attainable although the
big decision lies with the USA and Asia
and whether they adopt the international
standards or not. We have 120 countries that
have either adopted or are adopting at the
CFOs and their boards are used to doing
things a certain way. Nobody likes change --
this could mean change in some areas as
to how they look at their figures
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