Breakout sessions

Date recorded:

Background: The IFRS Advisory Council undertook breakout sessions to discuss the role and composition of the Council, in light of earlier discussions on the topic and the IFRS Foundation’s XBRL bodies , the XBRL Advisory Council (XAC) and XBRL Quality Review Team (XQRT).

As the Council prepared to go into group discussions, a Council member asked the Council to think particularly about whether, given the establishment of the Accounting Standards Advisory Forum (ASAF), is the mandate of the Council appropriate?

Reports from group discussions

Group 1: Establishing ASAF provided an opportunity to sharpen the focus of the Council on strategic issues.  Council should remain on strategic issues related to financial reporting, but with knowledge of wider corporate reporting issues.  The composition of the Council should be reviewed, to incorporate other organisations – the International Integrated Reporting Council was one possible candidate.  If the Council were to consider digital reporting issues (XBRL, etc.), such considerations should be limited to strategic issues.

Group 2: Very similar conclusions.  Council’s role is very much on the future of financial reporting and maintaining the relevance of financial reporting within corporate reporting general.  No duplication between ASAF and the Council, the Council is a strategic body, not a technical body.  XAC meets for about 20 hours per year, so to combine the Council and XAC would not be advisable at this point, given the significant workload this would place on the Council.  However, there was an opportunity to hear from the XAC Chair/ Vice-chair on a regular basis.

Group 3: (Mainly users) Council should not tackle XBRL at the moment, for reasons expressed above.  Council should draw on the XAC as necessary, but the two groups should continue to be separate.  Some reconsideration of the Council, especially geographies (Africa and Arabia were mentioned as being under-represented) and whether some constituencies are over-represented.

Group 4: The IFRS Foundation needed to decide what it wanted the XAC to do.  The Advisory Council should not undertake its role.  The focus of the Council should be quite narrow, and should not ‘open pathways’ for other wider corporate reporting initiatives.  Membership of the Council was appropriate.

The Chairman noted that the groups were expressing similar thoughts, albeit in different ways.  There was no immediate need to merge the AC and the XAC.  With respect to composition, need to be sensitive to drawing in various other interested parties, such as the IIRC, but in the context of advising the Trustees as vacancies occur.

A Council member was concerned that the XBRL Taxonomy could be seen as ‘an application of IFRSs’ and that the IASB and the Council should keep aware that [like ‘educational guidance’] the XBRL IFRS Taxonomy had the potential to identify technical issues with a particular Standard.  In such cases, the technical staff and the XBRL staff should raise such issues immediately with the IASB.

The Chairman urged Council members to suggest to Anne and/or the IFRS Foundation staff, organisations that could be considered for Council membership.

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