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Report from autumn 2016 IFASS meeting

  • IFASS (International Forum of Accounting Standard Setters) (dark green) Image

17 Nov 2016

A report has been issued summarising the discussions at the meeting of the International Forum of Accounting Standard Setters (IFASS) held in London on 27 and 28 September 2016.

Highlights from the meeting included:

Cooperation of IASB and IFASS/NSS

Hans Hoogervorst, Chairman of the IASB, delivered the opening address. He emphasised the importance of a good relationship between national standard-setters throughout the world and the IASB and stressed that the national standard-setters had important role to play with regard to implementation issues and connecting to local/regional constituents. He recognised that the IFASS is an independent forum that sets its own agenda. However, he warned against a meeting overload and advocated exploring ways of further integrating the agendas of world standard-setters (hosted by the IASB) and IFASS (hosted independently) meetings.

Future of IFASS (Part 1)

In order to allow for an open discussion, this session was held with no IASB members and staff attending. The session was dedicated to discussing the future role and output of IFASS and its relationship with the IASB. Participants discussed (a) issues for which a solution is needed but no action is taken by the IASB, (b) possible IFASS contributions to the IASB’s research programme, (c) possible contributions to standard-level projects of the IASB, and (d) implementation and maintenance.

Professional Judgement and “Terms of Likelihood” under IFRS

Representatives from the AASB and the KASB presented the final report on this research project conducted jointly by the Korean Accounting Standards Board and the Australian Accounting Standards Board.

Optional Session: Improvements to IAS 7 Statement of Cash Flows

A representative from the UK FRC gave a presentation about the FRC Discussion Paper Improving the Statement of Cash Flows. After the comprehensive optional session on the first night of the meeting there was also a short preseantion of the main results the next morning.

Future of IFASS (Part 2)

The second part of the session was focused on the expectations and ambitions as well as the effectiveness of IFASS. Many participants emphasised the need to increase the NSS’s awareness of local guidance and interpretations in other jurisdictions. It was proposed that IFASS participants should increasingly inform each other about research issues taken up locally and seek input from other NSS at IFASS meetings and beyond. Sharing information between IFASS participants should be enhanced. The group further discussed the communication between IFASS and the IASB, in particular the letter with key messages sent to IASB and meeting reports. Participants stressed the importance of clear messages to both the IASB and the IFRS IC.

Towards a Framework for Corporate Reporting

Participants discussed some ideas around how corporate reporting is expected to develop in future. The participants expressed mixed views. Some standard-setters stated that non-financial reporting matters are not within their remit. Others pointed out that a non-financial issue of today will sooner or later become a financial one. It was also pointed out that the IIRC is already addressing the combination of financial and non-financial items in integrated reporting. Many participants were of the opinion that NSS within their respective remits shall engage in a dialogue on non-financial reporting as much as possible.

Outreaches on IAS 26 and IFRS 13

The purpose of the session on IAS 26 was to seek IFASS participants’ views on whether the standard should be withdrawn. Reasons for the potential withdrawal were provided in a presentation given by the IASB staff. The IFASS participants expressed opposing views.

Background of the outreach on IFRS 13 was the standard’s post-implementation review. The IASB representatives were seeking first input on issues that  made the implementation of IFRS 13 challenging. Participants provided examples of challenges arising from IFRS 13.

Rate-regulated activities

This session comprised of two sections. The first part was based on a paper currently under preparation by the Accounting Standards Board of Canada (AcSB). The reactions of participants were multi-faceted, they also provided information on the circumstances in their jurisdictions. In the second part of this session a representative from the KASB gave a presentation on case studies from a Korean perspective. The major part of the discussion following this presentation focussed on whether and how to address the accounting for rate regulated activities in IFRS 15.

Not-for-profit-reporting

The Chair of the IPSASB provided an overview of the progress of the IFASS NFP Working Group since it was formed following the April 2016 IFASS meeting, and a FASB representative reported on the Group’s interaction with the Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP) Programme.

Public sector reporting

In this session, the IPSASB Chair provided an update on the IPSASB work plan and current projects relevant to IFASS participants, in particular on leases, revenue and non-exchange expenditure, as well as social benefits.

Please click for the full report from the meeting.

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