The IASB set out on the agenda consultation identifying five key aspects that should be reflected in the strategic approach towards a future agenda:
- the IFRS community has become more diverse
- the market environment has become more complex
- there are a number of changes that require implementation
- the quality and relevance of the standards needs to demonstrated
- the risk that practices related to implementation and adoption will diverge.
The Request for Views: Agenda Consultation 2011 published in July 2011 and opening up the agenda to all received general attention and the impressive amount of 243 comment letters. Five broad themes emerged in the responses:
- First, respondents asked that a decade of almost continuous change in financial reporting should be followed by a period of relative calm.
- Second, there was almost unanimous support for the IASB to prioritise work on the Conceptual Framework, which would provide a consistent and practical basis for standard setting.
- Third, the IASB was asked to make some targeted improvements that respond to the needs of new adopters of IFRSs.
- Fourth, the IASB was asked to pay greater attention to the implementation and maintenance of the Standards.
- Finally, the IASB was asked to improve the way in which the IASB develops new Standards, by conducting more rigorous cost-benefit analysis and problem definition earlier on in the standard-setting process.
As a result, the IASB’s future technical programme will focus on three areas: implementation and maintenance (including post-implementation reviews), the Conceptual Framework, and a small number of major IFRS projects. Among the latter are the four current major projects (financial instruments, leases, revenue recognition, and insurance) as well as three new or revived projects: Agriculture, in particular, bearer biological assets, rate-regulated activities, and separate financial statements: use of the equity method.
Concurrently with the announcement of the agenda, the IASB also announced a revised process for developing standards. The current usual process of proposal -> agenda decision -> discussion paper -> exposure draft -> standard -> post implementation review will now include a research phase, thus starting the process with research, then a discussion paper, then a proposal, before an agenda decision is made. This means a project to develop a new IFRS will only be considered after the research has been published in a discussion paper, which would be open for public comment. Not all research will lead to a standards-level project.
The feedback statements identifies the following issues for the research phase:
In addition, the feedback statement identifies three "long term" topics that, because of their nature and complexity, cover matters for which the IASB does not plan to issue a Discussion Paper or research document within the next three years but where it encourages other standard-setters to investigate these topics on its behalf: income taxes, post-employment benefits, and share-based payments.
Lastly, the IASB points to "other activities" where it is aware that work needs to be done: The IASB is establishing a consultative group to assess the relationship between Shariah-compliant transactions and instruments and IFRS and to help educate the IASB, mainly through public education sessions. The IASB is also undertaking a short-term initiative to explore opportunities to see how those applying IFRS can improve and simplify disclosures within the existing disclosure requirements. Sustainability reporting is not considered in the feedback statement or on the future agenda of the IASB. The IASB is convinced that there are other standard-setters well capable of handling this topic, so that the IASB can focus on accounting and financial reporting.
The IASB also points out that it is putting increased efforts into developing a network of national accounting standard-setting and regional bodies that are involved with accounting standard-setting.
Please click for the following documents on the IASB website: