Stakeholder event in Sydney sees panel discussion on complexity

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16 Apr, 2014

On 9 April 2014, the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation jointly hosted a stakeholder event in Sydney, Australia in conjunction with CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA).

The stakeholder event, which also featured a keynote speech by Michel Prada, Chairman of the IFRS Foundation Trustees, included an interactive panel discussion with senior financial reporting stakeholders. Ian Mackintosh, Vice Chairman of the IASB, was a member of the panel.

The panel discussion was titled Global Accounting Standards: Are they fit for purpose? For the largest part the panel members discussed complexity and materiality.

On the question of what introduces complexity into financial reporting, Mr Mackintosh commented users also "assist" in bringing about complexity by asking for more and more information and for interpretations: "Interpretations make the whole system more complex," he stated and added on the frequent requests regarding implementation guidance:

You need to push back when you hear problems and say: 'Are they really problems at all or are they something, if you went away and thought about it properly, you could solve for yourself?'

After the discussion touched briefly on other topics such as the Conceptual Framework project, the leases project, and integrated reporting, it concluded on the topic of public sector accounting. Hans Hoogervorst, Chairman of the IASB, who had already earlier contributed to the discussion from the audience, commented on the IPSASB governance consultation and the question whether the monitoring and oversight of the IPSASB should be given to the IFRS Foundation's Monitoring Board and Trustees:

I would love to do the job – setting financial standards for the public sector – […] but the big danger would be that it would politicise our work even further than is already the case and we would like to retain our independence and if we get thrown into that sea, we might sink.

Please click to access a video recording of the panel discussion on the IASB's website.

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