For over three decades, the United Nations has been contributing to the global efforts
aimed at promoting transparent corporate accounting and reporting. The need for a global set of
high-quality financial reporting standards has been apparent since the early 1970s. The existence
of a global benchmark enables direct comparison of corporate financial reports between
jurisdictions. Such high-quality standards enhance investor’s confidence by allowing economic
transactions of a similar nature to be treated and reflected in the same manner around the globe.
What was only a vision three decades ago has now become a reality. As of the beginning of 2005,
over 100 countries, including the European Union, either require or permit use of international
financial reporting standards (IFRS) for preparation of financial statements by enterprises in their
The full benefits of such a global benchmark will be realized only when it is implemented
around the world in a consistent manner. Many developing countries and countries with
economies in transition lack the accounting infrastructure and professional institutions needed for
building the technical capacity required to meet the challenges posed by the transition to a
common set of global standards – standards that are formulated with developed markets in mind
and which have been becoming increasingly sophisticated.
In light of these important developments, UNCTAD’s Intergovernmental Working Group
of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) has been deliberating
on practical challenges that arise in the implementation of IFRS. In particular, during the twentythird
and twenty-fourth sessions of ISAR, country case studies were discussed with a view to
facilitating sharing of experiences and important lessons learned among member States.
This publication has been prepared to disseminate the lessons learned to a wider audience.
As a growing number of developing countries and countries with economies in transition are
embarking on the IFRS implementation process, the need for sharing experiences and lessons
learned is becoming even more vital. It is my hope that policymakers, regulators, standard-setters
and educators will find this publication to be a timely reference and a useful tool as they go about
tackling practical implementation challenges of IFRS.
Secretary-General of UNCTAD