Dearing steps down from reporting body

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SIR RON DEARING, chairman of the Financial Reporting Council since it was set up to supervise the tightening of the rules on company accounts three years ago, is to stand down at the end of this month.

A successor to Sir Ron, who is a former chairman of the Post Office, is due to be announced by the Department of Trade and Industry shortly, possibly this week.

Sir Ron is understood not to be seeking another term because of his workload as head of the Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority, which in October took over responsibility for what is taught in English schools and how pupils are tested up to the age of 16.

His decision comes as the Accounting Standards Board, the Auditing Practices Board and other organisations concerned with financial reporting have responded to industry criticisms of regulatory 'overload' by announcing plans to co-operate on the timing of their proposals and requirements.

The initiative - announced in the FRC's third annual review of the state of financial reporting by large companies, published today - aims to make it easier for preparers and users of accounts to assimilate changes at a time when the area is developing rapidly.

Among the documents about to be published by the Accounting Standard Board, which with the Financial Reporting Review Panel comes within the council's remit, are an exposure draft on fair values in acquisition accounting and a discussion paper on goodwill. Both are expected to generate controversy.

The review contains an overview of the work of the council, the ASB and the review panel to date as well as looking ahead to next year.