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Hans Hoogervorst discusses the IASB work program

  • Speech — dark green Image

May 29, 2014

At the IFRS Conference in Singapore today, IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst gave a speech titled "Charting Progress Towards Global Accounting Standards." He provided an overview of the current use of IFRSs around the world and discussed the IASB's work program, specifically providing insight into the joint leases project.

Mr. Hoogervorst began his speech by talking about the successful spread of IFRSs around the world and noted that "[a]lthough some big economies are still missing, the countries where IFRS is used already cover more than half of the world's GDP."

His speech focused on the IASB's work program; he began by highlighting yesterday's issuance of the joint revenue recognition standard with the FASB. Mr. Hoogervorst went on to discuss the joint leases project and emphasized that the leases standard will only affect significantly fewer than 10 percent of listed companies. He noted that the use of operating leases is highly concentrated and explained that approximately 50 percent of listed companies report material operating leases, and that of the 12,000 entities the IASB analyzed, less than 10 percent accounted for 80 percent of all operating leases. Mr. Hoogervorst stated: "We calculated that inclusion of the lease liability would lead to an increase of the long-term debt-to-equity ratio from 13 percentage points in Europe through 20 percentage points in Asia." He also acknowledged the cost to preparers to implement the leases standard, saying that the IASB is "motivated" to find ways to make the standard less costly to implement and apply. He mentioned that the IASB and FASB hope to finalize its work on the leases project "in the next couple of months."

Moving on to financial instruments, Mr. Hoogervorst summarized the IASB's deliberations on IFRS 9, Financial Instruments, and said that the new standard will be issued in July. He highlighted two "improvements over current accounting": (1) "own credit" fix and (2) loan loss provisioning.

Mr. Hoogervorst then discussed the steps the IASB is taking to simplify disclosures. He noted that in June 2013, he presented a 10-point plan to improve disclosures in financial reporting and the IASB published an exposure draft in March 2014 that clarifies immaterial information. Looking forward, Mr. Hoogervorst mentioned the IASB's research project to develop clearer principles of disclosures and subsequent reviews of all standards in an effort to make disclosure requirements more consistent and easier to apply.

Please click for access to the full text of Mr. Hoogervorst's speech on the IASB's Web site.

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