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Financial reporting framework in Colombia

In July 2009, the Colombian Government enacted Law 1314/2009 (PDF 481k). That law provides for convergence of national standards with IFRSs. National standards are developed by the Consejo Técnico de la Contaduría (CTCP, The Public Accounting Technical Council) but must be formally adopted by both the Ministerio de Hacienda and Ministerio de Comercio.

Adoption of IFRSs was to begin as at 1 January 2013 for some users. In Dectember 2012, it was announced that the Colombian Government would defer mandatory IFRS application to 2015, in reaction to many submission received noting difficulties regarding the implementation of IFRSs. Application of the IFRS for SMEs will be deferred to 2016.

The new timetable for IFRS adoption in Colombia is as follows:

  • Group 1: Publicly traded entities, public interest entities and large companies that a) are branches of parent companies that report under IFRS, b) parent companies of branches that report under IFRS and c) companies exporting or importing over 50% of their sales or purchases.  These entities will adopt full IFRS in 2015, with 2014 being the year of transition (meaning opening balances of the Statement of Financial Position as at 1 January 2014).
    As per decree 1851 of August 2013, companies from Group 1 a) (publicly traded entities, public interest entities and large companies that are branches of parent companies that report under IFRS) need not apply IAS 39 and IFRS 9 in respect of credit portfolio impairment and IFRS 4 in respect of the treatment of provisions for catastrophic earthquakes and occupational risk in their separate financial statements. The Financial Supervisory Authority will define special technical standards, interpretations and guidance for the accounting and financial reporting in these cases.
  • Group 2:  Large and medium companies other than those included in group 1.  These entities will adopt the IFRS for SMEs in the 2016 fiscal year, meaning the year of transition being 2015 (opening balances of the Statement of Financial Position as at 1 January 2015).

A third group consisting of micro entities will apply standards especially developed for their needs (Normas de Información Financiera para Microempresas) from 2015.

Currently, early adoption in 2013 is permitted for those companies of group 1 that voluntarily decide this option.

Other information

The following is an excerpt from World Bank ROSC Report on Accounting and Auditing for Colombia, 25 July 2003 (PDF 277k), link is to download from World Bank website.

D. Setting Accounting and Auditing Standards

24. Under the Colombian Constitution, only Congress has the authority to issue generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Congress can delegate this authority to the executive branch and other institutions through an act of law. Law 43 of 1990 created the Technical Council for Public Accounting under the Central Board of Accountancy to issue technical guidance on accounting standards. The Council developed a set of accounting principles that they termed Colombian GAAP. The President of Colombia issued Decree 2649 of 1993, which mandated Colombian GAAP as the accounting standards for all enterprises in Colombia. And in Law 222 of 1995, Congress allowed governmental agencies and regulators to issue the accounting standards necessary to perform their regulatory duties. At present there are approximately 43 different sets of accounting standards in Colombia, including those issued by the Superintendent of Banking and the Superintendent of Securities.

25. Colombian GAAP was developed by the Technical Council in early 1990s on the basis of U.S. GAAP and International Accounting Standards. Colombian GAAP is not consistent with the U.S. GAAP and other international standards. For example, several accounting standard areas, which are presented in detail over many pages under U.S. GAAP or IAS, are shortened to only basic provisions but no substantive directions in brief paragraphs under the Colombian GAAP. Disclosure is not addressed at all in the Colombian GAAP. The Technical Council has not updated Colombian GAAP to reflect changes in U.S. GAAP and IAS since 1993.

26. There are no legally binding financial statement audit standards in Colombia. Law 43 of 1990 requires the revisor fiscal to conduct work in accordance with Colombian GAAP, but it does not specify any other auditing standards or procedures. It provides only one page of general guidance on auditing requirements. The absence of auditing standards for financial statement audit reflects the fact that Colombian law recognizes the work of the revisor fiscal only. There is no concept of independent audit of financial statements. No law has yet been passed to streamline the legal framework regarding development and issuance of auditing standards.

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