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October

Ethics standards board finalises priorities

17 Oct 2011

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) has released its '2011-2012 IESBA Strategy and Work Plan', which sets the direction and priorities for the activities of the IESBA.

The work plan, which has been approved by IESBA, the IESBA Consultative Advisory Group, and the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB), contains the following priorities:

  • Development of standards. The IESBA intends to progress projects on inadvertent violations of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (Code) (finalised standard expected Q1 2012), conflicts of interest (ED expected Q4 2011) and responding to fraud and illegal acts (ED expected Q4 2011)
  • Adoption and implementation. The IESBA plans to continue to assess what additional material or activities would be useful to support those who are adopting and implementing the Code
  • Convergence. The IESBA will further its objective of achieving convergence of the Code and national standards and regulations by identifying improvements, comparing the Code to standards and regulations of select jurisdictions and increased outreach efforts.

Click for IESBA press release (link to IFAC website).

UK FRC launches 'Financial Reporting Lab'

16 Oct 2011

The United Kingdom Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has launched a 'Financial Reporting Lab' which aims to bring together companies and investors to identify practical solutions to reporting problems, such as the length and complexity of reports and financial statements.

The Lab is expected to focus on helping quoted UK companies communicate more effectively with investors and analysts. Listed companies from all industries and of all sizes are being invited to participate, along with professional investors and the retail shareholder community.

The priorities of the Lab will be determined primarily by companies and investors. Projects that have been suggested to date include relatively simple improvements to the notes to the financial statements, a review of the effectiveness of elements of narrative reporting and governance information, the potential to revisit the use of websites versus physical reports, and the materiality of specific disclosures.

The establishment of the Lab follows other initiatives such as the United Kingdom Accounting Standards Board report on cutting clutter, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) report on reducing disclosures under IFRSs, and the wider call for integrated reporting.

Click for FRC press release (link to UK FRC website).

IFAC updates policy policy statements on regulation and standard setting

16 Oct 2011

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has released revised versions of its Policy Position Papers on the regulation of the accountancy profession and international standard setting.

Policy Position Paper 1, Regulation of the Accountancy Profession, was first issued by IFAC in December 2007. The revised paper includes a new section highlighting the importance of global regulatory convergence, including the adoption and implementation of high-quality standards. IFAC recognises that regulation of the accountancy profession is primarily conducted at a national level. Therefore, in IFAC's view, to achieve international convergence, national regulation should aim to endorse and implement principles, approaches, and obligations outlined in material issued by authoritative international bodies.

Policy Position Paper 3, International Standard Setting in the Public Interest, was issued by IFAC in December 2008. The revised and updated paper describes how current governance arrangements and independent standard-setting boards supported by IFAC operate in the public interest and address the need for legitimacy, transparency, and performance. The paper includes a brief history of IFAC's governance structure (such as the 'IFAC Reforms') and notes that the IFAC Board is considering amendments to the governance process of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB), including the possibility of public oversight by the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB).

Click for IFAC press release (link to IFAC website).

Deloitte quarterly report on trends in integrated reporting in South Africa

14 Oct 2011

Deloitte South Africa has revealed the findings of the first Deloitte quarterly report on trends in integrated reporting in South Africa, analysing trends and areas of excellence in integrated reporting among South Africa's listed companies.

Deloitte has undertaken substantial research into the quality and extent of integrated reports produced during the transition from the traditional annual financial report, supported by a sustainability report, to the inclusive integrated report as recommended by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Click for access to a Deloitte (South Africa) blog (link to external website) discussing the findings.

28th session of UNCTAD's Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting

14 Oct 2011

The twenty-eighth session of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) is currently being held in Geneva.

ISAR assists developing countries and economies in transition to implement best practices in corporate transparency and accounting in order to facilitate investment flows and economic development. ISAR's annual sessions regularly involve over 200 government authorities, regulators, standard-setters and academic representatives.

Speeches and presentations at the session included contributions from ACCA, IAESB, IFAC, IFRS Foundation and the World Bank. They are available on this UNCTAD website.

On the eve of ISAR 28, a technical accounting workshop on "Accounting and reporting for financial instruments and application for fair value measurement requirements" was offered. During the workshop experts presented and discussed main provisions, changes and challenges associated with IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement and IFRS 9 Financial Instruments. Speakers included Deloitte's financial instruments expert Andrew Spooner, Joao Santos from the Financial Instruments Team of the IASB and Gerald Edwards, Senior Advisor Accounting & Auditing Policy of the FSB. All speeches and presentations are available on the UNCTAD webpage dedicated to the workshop.

AccountAbility names members of its Advisory Council

14 Oct 2011

AccountAbility, the international corporate responsibility organisation, has announced members of its newly formed Advisory Council.

This council will "provide strategic guidance and facilitate AccountAbility's mission of advancing corporate responsibility and sustainability by increasing the impact of its standards, shaping a leading research agenda, and delivering transformative service solutions". Members include CEOs, policymakers and thought leaders, including the former US FASB chairman Robert Herz.

Click for AccountAbility announcement (link to AccountAbility website) to see a full list of council members.

New research paper on reporting the impacts and reliance on 'ecosystem services'

14 Oct 2011

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has released a research report entitled 'Approach for reporting on ecosystem services — Incorporating ecosystem services into an organization's performance disclosure'.

'Ecosystem services' (ES) is a term used to capture the benefits derived from ecosystems, such as food, pharmaceutical products, timber, soil fertility, pollination, and freshwater.

In cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and consultancy CREM, GRI proposes a new approach for developing sustainability reporting indicators to help companies report their impacts and reliance on ecosystem services.

The research publication elaborates on what ecosystem services are, and in which ways organisations interact with them and how to factor ecosystem services into their long term strategy and operations. The publication suggests indicators that organisations could use to assess and report their impacts on ecosystem services, discussing both narrative reporting and performance reporting.

The publication builds on related initiatives around 'natural capital' such as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity study (TEEB), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV) Guide and The University of Cambridge Natural Capital Leaders Platform report (issued in June 2011). The GRI publication represents a move towards incorporating ecosystem services information into sustainability reporting and ultimately integrated reporting.

Click for GRI press release (link to GRI website).

Deadline reminder — ED on Improvements to IFRSs

14 Oct 2011

We remind you that comments on the Exposure Draft: Improvements to IFRSs are due on 21 October 2011. The ED proposes changes to IFRS 1, IAS 1, IAS 16, IAS 32 and IAS 34. If finalised, all of the amendments will be effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2013.

Click for our earlier story on exposure draft of proposed amendments to IFRS.

IVSC and IPEV seek consistency in private equity valuation standards

13 Oct 2011

The International Valuations Standards Council (IVSC) and the International Private Equity Valuations (IPEV) board have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), agreeing to co-operate on valuation standards.

The International Valuations Standards Council (IVSC) and the International Private Equity Valuations (IPEV) board have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), agreeing to co-operate on valuation standards.

The IVSC recently published new International Valuation Standards (IVS) covering the valuation of a wide range of assets for financial reporting and other purposes. The IPEV issues the International Private Equity and Venture Capital Valuation Guidelines, which were last updated in 2009 and are widely used by private equity managers when estimating the fair value of investments for financial statements and for reports to investors.

Under the MoU, the IVSC and IPEV have agreed to co-operate with a view to ensuring that the IPEV Valuation Guidelines are consistent with the International Valuation Standards and that the IVSC considers the needs of private equity and venture capital investors in its future work plan.

Click for IVSC announcement (link to IVSC website). More information about the IPEV Valuation Guidelines can be found at www.privateequityvaluation.com.

IFAC releases recommendations for G20

13 Oct 2011

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has provided a series of recommendations for consideration by the G20 at its meeting on 3-4 November 2011 in Cannes, France.

The IFAC submission follows previous submissions by IFAC to the G20 in 2009 and 2010 and encourages the G20 to continue its essential work on addressing important issues arising from the global financial crisis and to meet the commitments made in its communiqués of 2008–2010 and in the reports of its working groups. In IFAC's view, to achieve these aims the G20 must strive for reporting of high-quality, internationally consistent, relevant, and reliable financial and non-financial information by all sectors.

IFAC recommends that the G20 consider the following three objectives:

  • Public sector financial management, transparency, and accountability – including urgent and fundamental work to consider the nature of institutional change to protect the public and investors in government bonds. Key points to be considered include high-quality and timely accrual-based financial reporting by the public sector (which may be achieved through the adoption and implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs, published by the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board), audited financial statements, and budgeting, appropriations, and reporting on the same accrual basis
  • Global regulatory convergence. IFAC recommends the G20 continue its momentum and ambition for regulatory reform and convergence that has been developed during the global financial crisis – recommendations include the adoption and implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), and the auditor independence requirements set out in the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants across all jurisdictions
  • Development of integrated reporting. IFAC encourages the G20 to support the development and use of integrated reporting, and in particular, the work of the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC) in creating a globally accepted integrated reporting framework.

Click for IFAC announcement (link to IFAC website).

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