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Heads Up on FASB's proposed fair value FSPs

23 Mar 2009

Deloitte (United States) has published an issue of the Heads Up newsletter dealing with FASB's two proposed Staff Positions (FSPs) dealing with guidance on fair value measurement and impairments of certain investments in debt and equity securities.

The IASB has issued a Request for Views on the two FASB proposals. Click to download the Heads Up Newsletter (PDF 118k), which is titled Guidance Proposed on Inactive Markets, Distressed Transactions, and Other-Than-Temporary Impairments.

Strategic choices in converting to IFRSs

23 Mar 2009

Deloitte (Canada) has published Strategic Choices on the Conversion to IFRS.

This booklet identifies a broad range of issues that companies should consider – many of which are beyond accounting – in developing their plan for conversion to IFRSs. In Canada all publicly accountable profit-oriented enterprises must adopt IFRSs starting in 2011.

We do not support IASB's proposed consolidation model

23 Mar 2009

Deloitte has submitted a Letter of Comment on the IASB's exposure draft of Consolidated Financial Statements.

We have reservations about the proposed new consolidation model and believe it requires rethinking and re-exposure. However we support immediate improvements to consolidation-related disclosures.

The principles underlying the consolidation model proposed in the ED are not well established and the guidance within the ED is ambiguous and inconsistent in a number of fundamental areas, not least of which in the failure to distinguish between 'power to control' and 'ability to control'. Without a clear definition of control, the resulting Standard will be difficult to interpret and apply on a consistent basis. As a consequence, the financial statements of groups will be less, not more, comparable and understandable. We do not believe that the ED in its current form is an improvement on existing IFRSs.

It is crucial that the Board responds on a timely basis to the global financial crisis and the recommendations of the Financial Stability Forum. We therefore believe that improved disclosure requirements should be issued as swiftly as possible. We are providing comments on specific aspects of the proposed disclosure requirements later in this letter. However, further work, including appropriate field testing, is required to adequately address concerns about the consolidation model itself. Once the results of such additional work has been analysed, we believe that the consolidation Standard should be re-exposed.

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European Council comments on IFRSs and IASB

23 Mar 2009

The European Council (the heads of state or government of the European Union member states) met in Brussels on 19-20 March 2009. The Report of the Meeting includes the following comments on IFRSs and the IASB:

The magnitude and the underlying causes of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis demonstrate the need to reshape macroeconomic global management and the regulatory framework for financial markets. Prudential rules, crisis management arrangements and the supervisory framework must be strengthened at the national, European and global levels. Financial regulations should dampen rather than amplify economic cycles. The European Council urges the FSF, Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and Commission to accelerate their work and to swiftly submit appropriate recommendations. This should be complemented with a strong EU initiative in reviewing international accounting standards....

Improve prudential rules and accounting standards to mitigate their pro-cyclical effects and enhance the accountability of the International Accounting Standard Board, by further reforming its governance and mandate.

Click to view the Report of the Meeting (PDF 216k).

Malta adopts special standard for small companies

23 Mar 2009

Malta has amended its Companies Act to adopt General Accounting Principles for Smaller Entities (GAPSE), a special standard that can be used by entities that meet several criteria, such as fewer than 250 employees, assets below €17.5 million, revenue below €35 million, not publicly traded, and not financial institutions.

Since 1995, all limited liability companies in Malta, irrespective of size, have been required to prepare annual financial statements in accordance with IFRSs (IFRS as adopted by the EU for accounting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2008). Over the years this requirement was considered as becoming increasingly onerous for local smaller entities, and hence the initiative of the Malta Institute of Accountants to draw up GAPSE. GAPSE allows a historical cost option for all assets and liabilities but allows alternative measurement bases in particular circumstances. It contains significantly reduced disclosure requirements compared to IFRSs.


Reply to NY CPAs 'serious doubts' about IFRSs

22 Mar 2009

In its response to the SEC's proposed Roadmap, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) argued against requiring US companies registered with the SEC to use IFRSs at this time. The NYSSCPA is the largest state CPA society in the United States.

The NYSSCPA is the largest state CPA society in the United States. The NYSSCPA favoured, at a minimum, further SEC study or, as an alternative, vigorous efforts to converge FASB standards and IFRSs. One of the concerns expressed by the NYSSCPA was:

'Questions about the IASB's ability to weather political pressures raise serious doubts about its ability to issue high quality standards.'

In support of that assertion, the NYSSCPA cited one example – the IASB's amendment of IAS 39 regarding Reclassifications of Financial Assets. Professor Stephen Zeff, co-author of Financial Reporting and Global Capital Markets – A History of the International Accounting Standards Committee 1973-2000, responded to the NYSSCPA as follows:

'Who has ever argued that, since the launch of U.S. standard setting in 1939, the setting of U.S. accounting standards has not been frequently influenced by such self-interests and politics? Who are we to avow that U.S. accounting standards have all been precisely as the standard setters (currently the FASB) preferred them to be, free of political interference?'

Prof. Zeff's reply cites ten major examples of political interference in the United States, and he points out that his article titled 'The Evolution of U.S. GAAP: The Political Forces Behind Professional Standards published in two parts in the January and February 2005 issues of the NYSSCPA's own magazine, The CPA Journal, identifies many others. Prof Zeff concludes:

'Why, then, should the Society raise a "concern" about one or two instances so far of political interference in the IASB's standard setting?'

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*Posted with the kind permission of Prof Zeff.

Notes from day 5 of the March 2009 IASB meeting

21 Mar 2009

The IASB is holding its March 2009 meeting at its offices in London from Monday through Friday, 16 to 20 March 2009.

Click here to go to the preliminary and unofficial Notes Taken by Deloitte Observers at the Meeting.

IASB request for views on FASB proposals

21 Mar 2009

The IASB has published a request for views on proposals from the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that deal with guidance on fair value measurement and impairments of financial instruments.

Both of FASB's proposals are in the form of draft Staff Positions (FSPs) and are intended to provide additional application guidance on fair value measurement and to amend the impairment requirements for certain investments in debt and equity securities. The proposals are:

Though the proposed FSPs are a direct response to US-specific requests, the IASB believes that (in the light of its commitment to work jointly with the FASB to address issues arising from the financial crisis) it would be useful to seek the views of interested parties on the FASB's proposed FSPs before deciding whether to publish formal proposals for public comment. Any proposed changes in IFRSs will be subject to due process. You can download the IASB Request for Views (PDF 61k) from the IASB website. The IASB would like to receive any views by 20 April 2009.

EITF Snapshot for March 2009

21 Mar 2009

We have posted the March 2009 edition of EITF Snapshot summarising the 19 March 2009 meeting of FASB's Emerging Issues Task Force.

EITF Snapshot, published by Deloitte & Touche LLP (USA), enables readers to identify relevant topics and to understand quickly the meeting's outcome. Past issues can be downloaded here. This EITF Snapshot covers the following issue discussed by the EITF at the meeting:

  • Issue 08-1 Revenue Arrangements With Multiple Deliverables – Tentative conclusion reached
  • Issue 08-9 Milestone Method of Revenue Recognition – Consensus-for-exposure
  • Issue 09-1 Accounting for Own-Share Lending Arrangements in Contemplation of Convertible Debt Issuance – Consensus-for-exposure
  • Issue 09-2 Research and Development Assets Acquired in an Asset Acquisition – Tentative conclusions reached
  • Issue 09-3 Applicability of SOP 97-2 to Certain Arrangements That Include Software Elements – Tentative conclusions reached

Initial EITF consensuses (known as 'consensuses-for-exposure') are exposed for a comment period after ratification by the FASB. At its first scheduled meeting after the comment period, the EITF considers comments received and, as warranted, affirms its consensuses-for-exposure as final consensuses. Those consensuses are then provided to the Board for final ratification.

Click to view the March 2009 edition of EITF Snapshot (PDF 84k).

UK Financial Reporting Faculty

21 Mar 2009

The new Financial Reporting Faculty, launched by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in December 2008, has recruited its first 1,000 members.

The Faculty, chaired by Deloitte partner Andy Simmonds, is open to all and offers free access to eIFRS, the ability to create and comment on topical issues through a blog platform, and substantial IFRS resources including a Standards Tracker which monitors and hotlinks to different versions of IFRS standards. More information at the Faculty Website.


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