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2016

The Bruce Column — Paul Druckman looks back over five years of achievement

18 Nov 2016

Five years can bring about an immense amount of change. Paul Druckman has just stepped down as chief executive of the International Integrated Reporting Council.

And in a video interview with Robert Bruce he has reflected on what has been achieved in that time under his leadership. 

Probably his most important achievement over those years is how the concept of integrated thinking is now moving towards being a mainstream benefit of an integrated reporting system. Under Druckman’s vigorous encouragement the reporting system which companies operate has evolved into something which is not just a means of communicating what a company has done and how it has done it but a lead motivator for change within companies. He sees it as part of what he calls ‘a new information architecture’ which will sit well alongside and within changing attitudes in the corporate governance world. Once everything was geared around the financials, he says. Now we are seeing a broader form of value creation with integrated reporting, a multi-capital system, which will drive a more inclusive and responsible capitalism. It is no longer simply about trust and KPIs, or about delivering a broader based prosperity. It’s about all three. And, he underlines, the momentum is probably unstoppable.

Druckman’s five years as chief executive have all been about that momentum. He feels that at the outset they had the right idea at the right time. And bringing about a coalition of ideas around a common aim meant that early adopters of integrated reporting provided the encouragement and example. And off the back of that the cumulative effect of its growth has been influential. He argues that the implementation of the concept of a Strategic Report in the UK would not have been as successful without the ideas that the growth of integrated reporting had brought into the mainstream. And the influence has been worldwide. He points to the strength and success of integrated reporting in, for example, Japan, in Singapore, and in Germany.

One of the great strengths of the integrated reporting model is, he says, the fact that the integrated reporting framework is not a product. It is a mission-driven system. It has not relied on regulatory imposition of any sort. And, as he repeatedly said during his five years as Chief Executive the process has been an evolution, not a revolution. It is a shift to a world of trust, transparency, credibility and understanding. It needs regulatory support but the jury is out whether it needs reporting standards to encourage a degree of uniformity in its practice.

But he does feel some disappointment from his five years that at times development, momentum and innovation were partly blunted by ownership issues. Organisational egos sometimes got in the way, he said, and efforts could be stifled by organisations doing great things but not connecting up.

And as Druckman stepped down there were three areas he drew attention to as being both successful but needing further attention. The recently established Corporate Reporting Dialogue is one. This has been, he says, one of the biggest achievements of the IIRC. It too has been about bringing the standard-setting, financial and sustainability worlds together after years, as he points out, of being very siloed communities.

The second is the need for the accounting profession to embrace the changes integrated reporting is bringing about and to embed them in the educational processes of accountants. He sees the profession as being at a point of great soul-searching at the moment. Are they primarily compliance people? Will much of their work eventually be done by robots? Or will accountants go back to earlier days when they fulfilled the role of trusted advisor to business? He sees integrated reporting and integrated thinking as being fundamental to the role of being a trusted advisor, a professional accountant.

And the third part of the great changes he identified is simply in the transformational power of integrated thinking. Integrated thinking, he says, is articulated by an integrated report but value creation cannot be achieved by only a report. It has to be embedded in the business. Producing an integrated report changes behaviours. It really makes you think, he says. It asks what value you have created. It enables companies to make changes in their structure and their management. But it also acts as a tool which encourages people to challenge their strategy and what they are doing. It is a very different way of embedding and bringing about change.

And as for Druckman’s future he envisages a bit more golf and reducing the almost constant travelling around the world to exhort, encourage, and build momentum. Instead he sees himself in a role of looking at the broader areas of corporate reporting and the development of the capital markets system. For him it is all about delivering a broader based prosperity. Hardly a modest goal.

 

IASB updates work plan

18 Nov 2016

Following its November 2016 meeting, the IASB has updated its work plan.

Standard-setting and related projects

Narrow-scope amendments and IFRIC Interpretations

IFRS Taxonomy

  • The proposed updates for Common Practice — Agriculture, leisure, franchises and retail and Common Practice — Banks are now expected in December.

Agenda consultation

  • IASB Work Plan 2017–2021: Feedback statement on the 2015 Agenda Consultation was added to the work plan.

The revised IASB work plan is available on the IASB's website.

Agenda for AOSSG annual meeting

18 Nov 2016

The eighth annual meeting of the Asian-Oceanian Standard Setters Group (AOSSG) will be held in Wellington on 29-30 November 2016. A first glimpse of the agenda for the meeting is now available through a press release on the KASB website.

According to the press release, the meeting will feature the following sessions:

  • Australia and Korea will address the effect of IFRS adoption in their jurisdictions respectively;
  • New Zealand will share the findings of a research on user information needs;
  • Japan will address the implication of negative interest rate environment;
  • Hong Kong will share its research outcome on a project–Business Combination Under Common Control (BCUCC);
  • India will raise the issue of classification–current or non-current–of security deposit under IFRS;
  • Thailand and Sri Lanka will raise issues of IFRS implementation;
  • Korea will share its experience of operating Technical Support TFs on IFRS 9 and IFRS 15;
  • Malaysia will share a study relating to financial statements of Islamic Financial institutions; and
  • India, Japan and Thailand will present an update on IFRS convergence/adoption in their jurisdictions.

Please click for the full press release on the KASB website and more information on the meeting on the AOSSG website.

FSB agrees 2017 workplan

18 Nov 2016

Financial Stability Board (FSB) met in London on 17 November to discuss current vulnerabilities, ongoing policy work, and its work plan for 2017.

One of the topics discussed was the work of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). TCFD Chair Michael Bloomberg and Mary Schapiro, Special Adviser to the Chair, presented an update to the Plenary on the work of the industry-led TCFD. The presentation included a summary of the recommended voluntary disclosures and guidance developed by the TCFD, which will be released for public consultation in December 2016. The final report will be published by June 2017. The FSB welcomed the progress of the TCFD in finalising recommendations, given the importance of effective risk disclosures, and encouraged firms to respond to the TCFD’s forthcoming consultation.

For the full workplan and topics discussed please see the press release on the FSB website.

November 2016 IASB meeting notes posted

18 Nov 2016

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) met at its offices in London on 14–16 November 2016. We have posted our comprehensive Deloitte observer notes for all projects discussed during the meeting.

Monday 14 November

Last month the Board started its detailed discussions of feedback received on its proposed Practice Statement on materiality. The Board continued those discussions, focusing on errors; covenants; stewardship; recognition and measurement, whether it should apply to entities applying the IFRS for SMEs Standard; and the status and form of the guidance.

There was a mixed response to the staff recommendations, with some being supported by the Board while others were not. The staff expect to conclude the main discussions next month.

Tuesday 15 November

The Board continued its discussions on the Conceptual Framework, focusing on the definition of a liability and the effects of the proposed changes to the Conceptual Framework on preparers. The Board supported using the proposal included in the ED in the final version of the Framework.

The Board discussed its project on Primary Financial Statements. The staff have been gathering evidence about perceived problems with the presentation of the primary financial statements and to understand stakeholders’ views on the areas that need improvement. The discussions were exploratory, with the Board not being asked to make any technical decisions.

The Board gave the staff clearance to start balloting process on a proposed annual improvements in relation to IFRS 9 Financial Instruments and IAS 28 Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures on the impairment of long-term interests and a narrow scope amendment to IAS 16 Property, Plant and Equipment in relation to accounting for proceeds from testing an asset.

Wednesday 16 November

The Board continued its discussions on the development of a discussion paper on financial instruments with the characteristics of equity, this week focusing on puttable instruments. The Board agreed that the planned Discussion Paper should propose that, if the so-called Gamma approach is used, the exception to categorise puttable instruments as equity should be retained.

The meeting concluded with a discussion of the Insurance Contract project and the draft of what will become IFRS 17 Insurance Contracts. The staff have been undertaking fieldwork, the results of which were discussed at this meeting. Also, as a result of insights gained from the fieldwork, the staff proposed some changes to the current draft in relation to changes in the carrying amount of the contractual service margin (CSM) for experience adjustments; transition; and the effects of financial risk when an entity applies the variable fee approach (VFA) and mitigates that risk with a derivative. Several other sweep issues will also be discussed.

The Board supported all of the changes proposed, including setting the effective date so that the Standard will apply the annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2021. That date is predicated on the assumption that IFRS 17 is issued in the first half of 2017.

The draft of IFRS 17 will be revised and undergo a fatal flaw review with selected external parties.

Please click to access the detailed notes taken by Deloitte observers for the entire meeting.

Report from autumn 2016 IFASS meeting

17 Nov 2016

A report has been issued summarising the discussions at the meeting of the International Forum of Accounting Standard Setters (IFASS) held in London on 27 and 28 September 2016.

Highlights from the meeting included:

Cooperation of IASB and IFASS/NSS

Hans Hoogervorst, Chairman of the IASB, delivered the opening address. He emphasised the importance of a good relationship between national standard-setters throughout the world and the IASB and stressed that the national standard-setters had important role to play with regard to implementation issues and connecting to local/regional constituents. He recognised that the IFASS is an independent forum that sets its own agenda. However, he warned against a meeting overload and advocated exploring ways of further integrating the agendas of world standard-setters (hosted by the IASB) and IFASS (hosted independently) meetings.

Future of IFASS (Part 1)

In order to allow for an open discussion, this session was held with no IASB members and staff attending. The session was dedicated to discussing the future role and output of IFASS and its relationship with the IASB. Participants discussed (a) issues for which a solution is needed but no action is taken by the IASB, (b) possible IFASS contributions to the IASB’s research programme, (c) possible contributions to standard-level projects of the IASB, and (d) implementation and maintenance.

Professional Judgement and “Terms of Likelihood” under IFRS

Representatives from the AASB and the KASB presented the final report on this research project conducted jointly by the Korean Accounting Standards Board and the Australian Accounting Standards Board.

Optional Session: Improvements to IAS 7 Statement of Cash Flows

A representative from the UK FRC gave a presentation about the FRC Discussion Paper Improving the Statement of Cash Flows. After the comprehensive optional session on the first night of the meeting there was also a short preseantion of the main results the next morning.

Future of IFASS (Part 2)

The second part of the session was focused on the expectations and ambitions as well as the effectiveness of IFASS. Many participants emphasised the need to increase the NSS’s awareness of local guidance and interpretations in other jurisdictions. It was proposed that IFASS participants should increasingly inform each other about research issues taken up locally and seek input from other NSS at IFASS meetings and beyond. Sharing information between IFASS participants should be enhanced. The group further discussed the communication between IFASS and the IASB, in particular the letter with key messages sent to IASB and meeting reports. Participants stressed the importance of clear messages to both the IASB and the IFRS IC.

Towards a Framework for Corporate Reporting

Participants discussed some ideas around how corporate reporting is expected to develop in future. The participants expressed mixed views. Some standard-setters stated that non-financial reporting matters are not within their remit. Others pointed out that a non-financial issue of today will sooner or later become a financial one. It was also pointed out that the IIRC is already addressing the combination of financial and non-financial items in integrated reporting. Many participants were of the opinion that NSS within their respective remits shall engage in a dialogue on non-financial reporting as much as possible.

Outreaches on IAS 26 and IFRS 13

The purpose of the session on IAS 26 was to seek IFASS participants’ views on whether the standard should be withdrawn. Reasons for the potential withdrawal were provided in a presentation given by the IASB staff. The IFASS participants expressed opposing views.

Background of the outreach on IFRS 13 was the standard’s post-implementation review. The IASB representatives were seeking first input on issues that  made the implementation of IFRS 13 challenging. Participants provided examples of challenges arising from IFRS 13.

Rate-regulated activities

This session comprised of two sections. The first part was based on a paper currently under preparation by the Accounting Standards Board of Canada (AcSB). The reactions of participants were multi-faceted, they also provided information on the circumstances in their jurisdictions. In the second part of this session a representative from the KASB gave a presentation on case studies from a Korean perspective. The major part of the discussion following this presentation focussed on whether and how to address the accounting for rate regulated activities in IFRS 15.

Not-for-profit-reporting

The Chair of the IPSASB provided an overview of the progress of the IFASS NFP Working Group since it was formed following the April 2016 IFASS meeting, and a FASB representative reported on the Group’s interaction with the Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP) Programme.

Public sector reporting

In this session, the IPSASB Chair provided an update on the IPSASB work plan and current projects relevant to IFASS participants, in particular on leases, revenue and non-exchange expenditure, as well as social benefits.

Please click for the full report from the meeting.

FEE responds to European Commission proposal on public country-by-country reporting

17 Nov 2016

In April 2016, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive which imposes on EU and non-EU multinational groups the publication of a yearly report on the profit and tax paid and other information. The Federation of European Accountants (Fédération des Experts-comptables Européens, FEE) has commented and believes that a European solution can only be a pragmatic first step.

The Commission proposal would amend the Accounting Directive to ensure that large groups publish annually a report disclosing the profit and the tax accrued and paid in each Member State on a country-by-country basis.

In its letter, FEE supports the initiative for more transparency and restoring trust in tax systems as high quality corporate reporting is in the public interest. FEE also notes that the information produced must be useful and meaningful, that the form and date of publication should be clarified, and that clearer guidance on materiality is needed. Overall, FEE sees some of the proposed amendments as "pragmatic first step" and believes that the EU should strive for a global standard.

Like with other tax initiatives in past years, greatest effectiveness would be ensured through international coordinated initiatives. Therefore, the Federation would suggest that the EU improves international coordination in this field with relevant bodies such as the OECD, the UN, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

Please click to download the full letter from the FEE website.

IASB decides on IFRS 17 effective date

16 Nov 2016

The IASB has just voted on the effective date of the forthcoming IFRS 17 'Insurance Contracts', which will be 1 January 2021.

The IASB followed the reasoning of the staff that assuming IFRS 17 is issued in the first half of 2017 the 2021 effective date would allow 3.5 to 4 years from the issuance of IFRS 17 to the mandatory effective date. The Board also decided that an entity may apply IFRS 17 before 1 January 2021 but cannot do so unless it also applies IFRS 9 Financial Instruments and IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers.

The 2021 effective date also means that entities applying the deferral approach, which permits an entity to apply IAS 39 rather than IFRS 9 for annual reporting periods beginning before 1 January 2021, can continue to do so right until the new insurance contract becomes mandatorily effective.

Developments at the FASB and the SEC

16 Nov 2016

FASB Chairman Russell Golden has been reappointed for a second term. SEC Chair Mary Jo White will step down.

The Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) has announced the reappointment of Russell G. Golden as Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The Trustees have also announced the appointments of Marsha L. Hunt and Harold L. Monk Jr. as new board members of the FASB. Russell Golden began his term as the seventh chairman of the FASB in 2013. His first term as chairman extends to 30 June 2017, and his second and final term will conclude on 30 June 2020. Please click for the press release on the FASB website.

At the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Chair Mary Jo White has announced that she plans to leave the SEC at the end of the Obama Administration. Mary Jo White, who became the 31st Chair of the SEC in April 2013, has been one of the SEC’s longest serving Chairs. For more information, see the press release on the SEC website.

Updated roadmap for IFRS transition in Iran

16 Nov 2016

The Iranian Securities and Exchange Organisation (SEO) has updated the IFRS transition roadmap. The dates remain unchanged, but the list of companies coming under the new requirements has been refined and a dual reporting requirement has been added.

The new roadmap dated 15 November 2016 states that from fiscal years beginning on or after 21 March 2016 all banks, insurance companies, listed financial institutes, and all listed companies with registered capital of more than 10 trillion Iranian rial must prepare two sets of financial statements - one in accordance with IFRS and one in accordance with Iran GAAP. Both sets of financial statements must be audited.

Please click for more information on the Tehran Stock Exchange website.

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