Report from autumn 2015 IFASS meeting

  • IFASS (International Forum of Accounting Standard Setters) (dark green) Image

25 Nov 2015

A report has been issued summarising the discussions at the meeting of the International Forum of Accounting Standard Setters (IFASS) held in London on 29 and 30 September 2015.

Highlights from the meeting included:

Global IFRS issues

Michel Prada, Chairman of the Trustees, IFRS Foundation, delivered the opening remarks. He spoke on the main strategic challenges to IFRS,the current structure and effectiveness review of the IFRS Foundation, and the role and responsibilities of accounting standard-setters in an IFRS world. After his speech when answering questions he spoke at some length about percieved U.S. influence on IFRS standard-setting.

Reports from regional groups

Representatives from the Asian-Oceanian Standard-Setters Group (AOSSG), the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), the Group of Latin-American Accounting Standard Setters (GLASS), and Pan-African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) explained recent developments in each of the groups.

IPSASB matters

Participants were updated on IPSASB developments since March 2015. One focus of attention was the IPSASB’s social benefits project.

Administrative matters

The next IFASS meeting will be held in Toronto on 4 and 5 April 2016.

The IFASS Chairman confirmed that she will step down after the Toronto IFASS meeting in 2016. She summarised the nomination and appointment process of the next IFASS Chairman, including a proposed timetable. A representative from the German standard-setter advised that his jurisdiction would be nominating Liesel Knorr, Past President of the Accounting Standards Committee of Germany, as a candidate for the position of IFASS Chairman.

IASB work and research programmes

IASB staff representatives rprovided an update on the IASB’s current agenda projects and identified activities that representatives could undertake to support the IASB’s project activities and the development of IFRSs. They also noted that the IASB is aware that, while its standards are principles based, many of them are very long. The staff is thinking how to simplify the IASB’s guidance and is examining FASB’s simplification project. Participants noted that simplification is harder for the IASB to accomplish versus the FASB, because of the translation problem.

Report back on IFASS member projects

Representatives from Japan and EFRAG provided an update on the goodwill project being conducted by EFRAG, the Italian standard-setter and the Japanese standard-setter. They also asked for input on the next steps to be undertaken. On an informal show of hands most participants appeared to prefer the amortisation approach.

IFRS implementation issues

The IASB Director of Implementation Activities initiated a discussion on ways of improving the IASB’s knowledge of application issues at the local-jurisdiction level. Participants were doubtful that completely consistent application is possible on each and every issue. Differing tax and other legislation would be a hindrance. The Chairman suggested that helpful hints on contentious issues emanating from local jurisdictions should be shared with IFRIC and the IASB staff. She also added that local jurisdictions could hold education and discussion sessions on issues and send those on which there is no consensus to IASB and IFRIC.

FASB Proposals to Revise Financial Statement Presentation of Not-for-Profit Organisations (NFPO)

FASB representatives provided an overview of the FASB’s April 2015 Exposure Draft proposing several improvements to the financial statement presentation requirements for not-for-profit organisations. On an informal show of hands, participants appeared to indicate that there is a need for international standards for reporting by NFPOs. Many indicated that they favoured customisation of international standards to deal with local situations. The IPSASB incoming Chair said that IPSASB would consider this issue further and report back to the group.

Topical Issues

Participants then discussed three topical issues:

  • Core inventories (presented by India)
  • U.K. GAAP: Adapting IFRS for domestic needs (presented by the UK)
  • Types of reporting frameworks used by entities raising capital in non-traditional markets (presented by Canada)

New IFASS member projects

Three new projects were introduced during this meeting, all undertaken by EFRAG:

  • Reporting income and expense in profit or loss or OCI
  • The statement of cash flows – Issues for financial institutions
  • Use of financial information by investors

Please click for the full report from the meeting.

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