Consolidated Financial Statements of International Companies in Accordance with SEC Requirements
by KARL A. HERRHAMMER Partner, New York Office
Presented before a meeting of the financial officers and accountants of the Badische Anilin- & Soda-Fabrik A.G., Ludwigshafen al Rhein, West Germany -— April 1970
AFEW YEARS AGO, in my country, when someone spoke of a multinational
company, it was assumed that he was referring to a U.S. company
with operations abroad. That situation is changing rapidly. In recent
years, foreign investments in the United States have been increasing at a far greater rate than have American investments in other countries, and BASF (Badische Anilin- & Soda-Fabrik A.G.) is one of the leaders in this respect. Americans are now becoming as familiar with the names and products of German companies as Germans are aware of our General Motors and its products.
My purpose today is to outline some of the problems you can expect to encounter in preparing consolidated financial statements for American use. In so doing I shall try to give you an overview of reporting variations
in accounting practice, problems resulting from currency valuations and international auditing problems. The main point is that if you plan to register stock on the American capital market, a company will have to abide by the reporting requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission,
which we refer to as the SEC.
THE SEC AND U.S. GENERALLY ACCEPTED ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES
I think it would be well to take a minute to talk about the regulatory body that you will be concerned with.
The SEC has established accounting requirements that govern the type, the form, and the content of the financial statements, but generally speaking it does not actually specify the accounting principles to be used. The accounting principles and practices are established by the accounting
profession and are expressed in the Accounting Principles Board pro-