FEI Current Issues In Financial Reporting Conference – Unexpected Pleasures Part 1

One of the nicest things about attending FEI’s Current Issues in Financial Reporting Conference this past week was finally meeting Edith Orenstein, FEI’s Resident Blogger.  I think I mentioned Colleen Cunningham, formerly of FEI and now of Resources Global to Edith several times during the two day conference.  Edith kept reminding me that Colleen was the one that decided, as FEI president, that FEI should launch a blog.  

Colleen lead a panel on Tuesday morning with Michael Young of Wilkie Farr and Ken Goldmann of JH Cohn. That was interesting.
I had a feeling Colleen Cunningham was a leader when I met her at Resources Global’s IFRS briefing a couple of months ago.  And I congratulate her again, because Edith and the blog are essential resources for professionals.  Edith is the go-to person for the latest on financial reporting, regulatory issues affecting finance and accounting professionals, and insight into the politics around the people who set our standards.  Many of us could not live without her and her work.
Another lovely pleasure was meeting and spending time with Susan Webster Managing Editor of BNA.  I remember when I got the call from Denise Lugo, one of their reporters a couple of months ago looking for my comments on FAS 5.  That conversation resulted in a quote in her article in BNA, in the same paragraph as Lynn Turner. 
Susan and I talked at length on Monday evening about distribution models for media that targets accounting and tax professionals, my new blog site launch, Twitter, and BNA’s business model.  I hope to see more of my quotes in BNA and maybe see BNA on Twitter soon.
I met several other journalists at the conference.  FEI set up a very professional, organized, and effective press room and press briefing program.  On Monday, the press, (which included me as the only invited blogger,) was allowed a private briefing with Sir David Tweedie of the IASB. 
Sir David is a pistol, not afraid to say what he thinks, and reportedly willing to resign on principle when prompted.  The big story all the journalists wanted to ask him about was his recent threat to resign over political pressure brought to bear on IASB by banks on the subject of fair value.  IASB and Sir David reportedly felt forced to agree to change some rules regarding classification of assets without their usual due process and comment period. Some rules were brought closer to GAAP, in conflict with the general agreement to push for adoption of IFRS globally, including in the US.  Accountancy Age has a good summary of the dustup here
My question to Sir David was much simpler.  Given all the chatter about cooperation between FASB, IASB, and the SEC, I asked about TARP.  The exchange was Tweeted. 
My impression of Tweedie was generally positive, notwithstanding the fact that someone I like and respect has an entirely different opinion.  It may be a form of Euro snobbery.  It may be a dislike of the Scottish.  Or my friend may be right and I may have been completely disarmed by Tweedie’s charm.

Photo by fm, NYC, 19 November 2008
5 replies
  1. Edith Orenstein
    Edith Orenstein says:


    Thanks for your nice words about FEI, our blog, and our CFRI conference.

    There’s a reason you were chosen as the first blogger ever invited with full press privileges to our conference, our press folk recognize your blog is influential and widely read.

    Personally, I applaud you for writing a blog which brings into the public discourse questions about accounting and auditing standards and those who develop them, apply them, audit them and rely on them.

    I don’t always agree with your (usually) strongly held views, but I think your questions make it a more fulsome and thoughtful process.

    Kudos also on providing advice to young people just entering the profession; there are of course mainstream organizations that provide such advice, as well as the audit firms and university placement offices, but your blog is kind of the ‘no-spin zone,’ and you speak with authority as someone who’s been there, done that; moreover, I respect that you offer to take conversations offline from young people looking for career advice.

    Anyway, as SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said at the conclusion of the SEC’s mark-to-market roundtable on Friday(which I hope to blog about soon) with Thanksgiving coming up, and with all that’s going on this year, we still have a great deal to be thankful for… including, added Cox, the willingness of Americans to pitch in, like those who took the time to testify on the roundtable, given how much is going on back at their banks, insurance co’s, audit firms, etc. Happy Thanksgiving to your and your family!

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    IFSR has more holes that moldy swiss cheese. Claims that moving to IFRS will make financials “more comparable” is a complete misrepresentation. To the contrary, it will basically be giving the keys to the castle to public companies to get to a defined outcome that they want. I’m not saying that I’m opposed to IFRS; I’m saying that I’m tired of the the morons who tout the benefits that it (not really) brings.

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