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What’s the ASB’s job after 2005?

They’re right, of course, though the “deadline” is one that can be fudged.

But failure to think about the issues in plenty of time could result in businesses adopting the wrong hedging strategy or having inadequate distributable reserves on dividend day, thanks to the expected volatility in IAS profits.

Next month’s issue will feature an interview with AstraZeneca FD Jonathan Symonds. Symonds will shortly become chairman of the highly influential (but massively low-profile) Hundred Group of Finance Directors, a discussion group and lobby organisation that seeks to raise awareness in the corridors of power about the key issues affecting FDs at Britain’s largest companies.

Symonds is also joining the UK Accounting Standards Board for a three-year stint, which might seem like a funny time to join an organisation that is about to lose a large chunk of its constituency. So what’s the relevance of the ASB today? Does it have any future beyond 2005? Judging from Symonds’ response, the ASB may eventually cease to exist as a standard-setting body in its own right. However, no one should underestimate the intellectual strengths of the ASB, in particular, and the UK accountancy profession in general. The track record of the British contingent in translating good accounting thought into pragmatic solutions is impressive.

The role of the ASB, therefore, should be to continue acting as “an engine of thought and influence”, as he put it, even if the standards all ultimately emanate from the IASB. In that spirit, we hope the ASB is more prepared for 2005 than many British plcs are.

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