The long-running effort to reconcile U.S. and international accounting standards is proceeding on schedule, the two bodies involved in the effort say. In a joint letter to the G20, the heads of the Norwalk, Conn.-based Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the London-based International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) said they are modifying their efforts to reconcile International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) with the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) used in the United States.

Despite the shift in approach, FASB Chairman Robert Herz and IASB Chairman David Tweedie expressed confidence they could meet the June 2011 target date set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2008. Moreover, Herz and Tweedie said their staffs were accelerating their pace in order to meet the deadline.

“Reflecting our commitment to timely completion of the major MoU projects, the boards have significantly intensified their interaction,” the letter states. “The boards are now meeting jointly for consecutive days on a monthly basis, either in person or by video. The boards have called, and will continue to schedule special joint meetings to address issues requiring timely joint resolution.”

The head of an insurance industry association charged with tracking the convergence praised the accelerated timetable.

"In particular, this direction would provide the IASB and FASB with more time to better understand the unique characteristics and attributes of the insurance industry—both life and non-life—and the real-world impact its proposals will have on it," Jerry de St. Paer, executive chairman of the Group of North American Insurance Enterprises said in a statement.

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