Global Accounting Boards Unify Rules to Ease Revenue Comparisons

May 29, 2014 12:01 am ET

May 29 (Bloomberg) -- Companies worldwide will be asked to meet a new unified accounting standard that will change the way some firms recognize revenue under a new rule.

The overseers of U.S. and worldwide accounting rules announced their new rule coordinated approach yesterday, saying it should give investors more confidence they are reading comparable revenue figures. The rule replaces separate standards for the U.S. and other countries and will provide companies with common principles for booking revenue regardless of their industry.

Software, wireless and real-estate companies will probably report revenue earlier when the new approach becomes effective in 2017, said Russell G. Golden, chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the U.S. standard setter. Asset managers will recognize some revenue later under the new model, Golden said.

“This aligns the different models so that there is one model that can be consistently applied across all industries and across all capital markets,” Golden told reporters today on a conference call.

The impact of the new standard will vary by industry, according to Golden and Ian Mackintosh, vice chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, which governs accounting rules in the European Union, Mexico, South Korea and other countries.