Rules seem onerous until you contemplate life without them. That seems to be one message uncovered in a survey of more than 200 CFOs and senior comptrollers recently conducted by accounting firm Grant Thornton. Asked whether today's financial statements are too complex for the average investor, a solid majority said yes. A slim majority thought that principles-based standards that allow for professional judgment (that is, international financial reporting standards, or IFRS) would be superior to the current system of rules-based standards that offer plenty of detailed guidance (U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP). But few companies have experience in preparing financial statements based on IFRS, and only a quarter agree with the Securities and Exchange Commission's decision to allow foreign companies listed on U.S. exchanges to file statements in IFRS with no reconciliation to U.S. GAAP.