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IFRS in Education: Are You Being Prepared?

A lot can happen between December and August. About 8 months ago, we took a look at the implementation of IFRS in college curricula. However, those sophomores that we alluded to have now become juniors and are one step closer to becoming interns, new hires, or sitting for the CPA Exam and the progress made in implementing IFRS into the education system seems min IFRS is consistently a topic of debate in the accounting industry. After the release of the SECs IFRS Roadmap, the accounting industry has been gearing up for adoption. A shortened version of the policies has now even been released to influence private firms to adopt the standards. Subsequently, the AICPA has begun preparation to include IFRS on the CPA Exam, increasing the importance that successful CPAs and CPA candidates are up to date on this information.

Schools that have not begun to incorporate IFRS material into their coursework are doing their students a disservice. If IFRS questions are posed to start showing up on the exam in 2011 (fourth quarter 2010 at the earliest, even) then it should stand that college curricula include this material. Currently enrolled students who want to become a CPA will assuredly be taking at least one section of the exam in 2011, if not multiple. They will be disadvantaged by not receiving an adequate education of the subject matter, and will likely need to teach it to themselves or pay extra attention during their CPA Review.

Deloitte, EY and PwC have released free materials and resources on IFRS for universities with the goal of increasing education across colleges. Not only is IFRS knowledge of escalating importance to CPA Exam candidates, but it is a skill the Big 4 and other large firms are now looking for as well; intern and new hire hopefuls take note. A quote taken from an article by the Illinois CPA Society drives home the point: In five years, if a particular university isn’t teaching IFRS fundamentals, were not likely to recruit from that school, says Grant Thornton’s Cavanaugh. In 10 years, US GAAP isn’t going to be talked about anymore, she stresses. You’ve got to get on the wagon. If you don’t start understanding whats going on, you’re going to get left behind.

As a student, like we stressed in December, it is important to familiarize yourself with this information in order to stay prepared for the job market. Look into the accounting programs offered at your school, and if your school doesnt offer any coursework on IFRS make sure you take the time to learn about it online. Better yet, offer the dean of your college some of the free materials mentioned above and bring about the necessary change in yourself. Future students would have you to thank for helping them better prepare.

We want to know what you think. Has your school started teaching IFRS?