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News

European Union (old) Image

EC Commissioner comments on accounting issues

24 Nov 2006

In a presentation titled Rewarding Excellence in Legibility of Accounts: Meeting the IFRS Challenge, Charlie McCreevy, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, commented on a number of IFRS-related issues:

  • Readbility. "IFRS aim to give increased transparency in accounts. But this must not be at the expense of legibility. Preparers have been grappling with the novelties of IFRS. Companies and investors will take some time to absorb and digest them. That is why I have repeatedly said we need a period of relative stability to let the new standards bed down."
  • Information overload. "The world's biggest accounting firms have recently joined forces to call for a radical overhaul of how companies report. They have called, in particular, for two changes. The first is that there should be a move to real-time, internet-based accounting, instead of quarterly statements. The second is that more non-financial information should be provided to give a fuller picture of companies' performance. The accounting firms are right to provoke a debate. But I wonder whether a flood of information is really the answer. Of course, we must make use of new technological tools. Yet often the real problem in the digital age is how best to sift the mass of information that is available. How to find the needle in the haystack. Too much information may mean many investors will have to rely more heavily on professional analysts. In fact, I have to tell you that I am very glad we didn't go for quarterly reporting in Europe."
  • IFRS for SMEs. "The Commission is working to identify areas of EU accounting and company law which can be simplified for SMEs. Important work on SME accounting is also going on at the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). I have already made clear to that board that if this work is to be useful, it must be kept simple. This is the clear test that I will apply in determining whether it is worthwhile making use of the results of the IASB's work at EU level."

Click for Full Presentation (PDF 72k).

Globe (lt blue) Image

Standard setting activity in Asia-Pacific region

23 Nov 2006

We have updated a number of pages on this website to reflect recent standard setting activity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Click for access to our jurisdiction pages:

IFRIC (International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee) (blue) Image

Updated summary of issues not added to IFRIC agenda

22 Nov 2006

We have updated our Summary of Issues Not Added to IFRIC's Agenda to include IFRIC's final decisions in November 2006 not to add the following topics to its agenda:

  • IAS 1 - Whether the liability component of a convertible instrument should be classified as current or non-current
  • IAS 11 - Allocation of profit in a single contract
  • IAS 16 - Revaluation of investment properties under construction
  • IAS 32 - Changes in the contractual terms of an existing equity instrument resulting in it being reclassified
  • to financial liability
  • IAS 32 - Classification of a financial instrument as liability or equity
  • IAS 32 - Foreign currency instruments exchangeable into equity instruments of the parent entity of the issuer
  • IAS 32 - Puts and forwards held by minority interests
  • IAS 38 - Classification and accounting for SIM cards
  • IAS 38 - Adoption of IAS 38 (revised 2004)
  • IAS 39 - Valuation of electricity
  • IAS 39 - Testing of hedge effectiveness on a cumulative basis
  • IFRS 2 - Fair value measurement of post-vesting transfer restrictions
  • IFRS 2 - Incremental fair value to employees as a result of unexpected capital restructurings
  • IFRS 2 - Employee benefit trusts in the separate financial statements of the sponsor
  • IFRS 3 - Are puts or forwards received by minority interests in a business combination contingent consideration?
  • IFRS 7 - Presentation of 'net finance costs' on the face of the income statement
  • SIC-12 - Relinquishment of Control
United States (old) Image

Treasury Secretary comments on accounting and auditing

22 Nov 2006

United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry M Paulson spoke recently to the Economic Club of New York on the Competitiveness of Capital Markets.

He gave particular emphasis to accounting and auditing matters. Click to Download Mr Paulson's Remarks (PDF 68k). Here is an excerpt from the comments on accounting:

The corporate scandals were, for the most part, accounting scandals, so it is not surprising that so much of the recent reform has focused on the accounting industry. Our accounting system is the lifeblood of our capital markets. And it has historically represented a very high standard. But it was abused in the corporate scandals by manipulation and smoothing of earnings.

Capital markets rely on trust, which is based on financial information presumed to be accurate and to reflect economic reality. The ultimate responsibility for accurate and transparent financial statements must rest with management. The role of the external auditor is to examine a company's financial statements in order to express an opinion that conveys reasonable, but not absolute, assurance as to the truth and fairness of the statements. Auditors do this by evaluating management's adherence to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles....

A common theme in my remarks today is the desirability, where practical, of moving toward a principles-based system. Nowhere is this issue more relevant than in the accounting system. Added complexity and more rules are not the answer for a system that needs to provide accurate and timely information to investors in a world where best of class companies are continually readjusting their business models to remain competitive.

China Image

Guidance on implementing IFRS-based standards in China

21 Nov 2006

The Ministry of Finance of China has issued limited implementation guidance on 32 of the 38 Accounting Standards for Business Enterprises (ASBEs) that it adopted in February 2006, effective for 2007 financial reports of Chinese listed companies.

The table below has the complete list of the new ASBEs. The guidance covers ASBEs 1-14, 16-24, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 37, and 38. The MOF guidance is currently available only in Chinese to Download Zip File (4,009k ZIP). Alternatively, all of the ASBEs and guidance can be downloaded in Chinese from the official website of China Accounting Standards Committee www.casc.gov.cn/htm.

China's Accounting Standards for Business Enterprises

Basic Standard

1

Inventories

2

Long-term equity investments

3

Investment properties

4

Fixed assets

5

Biological assets

6

Intangible assets

7

Exchange of non-monetary assets

8

Impairment of assets

9

Employee compensation

10

Enterprise annuity fund

11

Share-based payment

12

Debt restructurings

13

Contingencies

14

Revenue

15

Construction contracts

16

Government grants

17

Borrowing costs

18

Income taxes

19

Foreign currency translation

20

Business combinations

21

Leases

22

Recognition and measurement of financial instruments

23

Transfer of financial assets

24

Hedging

25

Direct insurance contracts

26

Re-insurance contracts

27

Extraction of petroleum and natural gas

28

Changes in accounting policies and estimates and correction of errors

29

Events occurring after the balance sheet date

30

Presentation of financial statements

31

Cash flow statements

32

Interim financial reporting

33

Consolidated financial statements

34

Earnings per share

35

Segment reporting

36

Related party disclosure

37

Presentation of financial instruments

38

First time adoption of Accounting Standards for Business Enterprises

News default Image

Our views on Conceptual Framework discussion paper

21 Nov 2006

We have submitted to the IASB Our Comments on the Discussion Paper (DP): Conceptual Framework–Objective and Qualitative Characteristics.

Although we agree with many of the provisions in the proposed framework, we have concerns about some of them, including the following:
  • Insufficient emphasis is given to stewardship as an objective of financial reporting. Our letter states:

    "Management, in addition to having the responsibility for allocation of the assets entrusted to it for the benefit of shareholders, also has an obligation to provide its shareholders with an account of what it has done with those assets. This account has to be a faithful and complete historic description of the entity's assets and liabilities at the beginning and end of the accounting period, coupled with management's explanation of how those balances changed during the period. Recognizing this broader meaning of 'stewardship' as one of the primary objectives of financial reporting both supports all of the qualitative characteristics of financial reporting information proposed in the DP, and helps to align management's behaviour with the objectives of all of the entity's stakeholders. Such a stewardship objective will emphasize the role of financial reporting as a dialogue between management and the owners of the business."

  • While present and potential investors and creditors view cash flow information as essential for their decision-making, they also value other information not specifically tied to cash flows. For example, many non-cash transactions such as asset write-downs and share-based payments lend insight into management's stewardship and the impact of current economic factors on the entity's assets and liabilities. Other information such as sensitivity or trend analyses might prove equally useful;
  • Different information needs of different categories of users of financial reports should be set out in a hierarchy;
  • The DP focuses on financial reporting, rather than financial statements, but does not define financial reporting;
  • Reliability should be regarded as an essential attribute of financial information and as an additional and separate characteristic that should not be subsumed in the attributes of faithful representation and verifiability
  • 'Substance over form' should be identified as a component of representational faithfulness,
Click for:
IVSC (International Valuation Standards Council) (lt green) Image

Proposed revisions to 'cost approach' valuation guidance

21 Nov 2006

The International Valuation Standards Committee has published Proposed Revisions to International Valuation Guidance Note 8 – The Cost Approach for Financial Reporting.

The proposed revisions are the result of requests for clarification and suggestions of minor improvements to the 2005 version of GN8. Comment deadline is 31 December 2006. The IVSC has also released an update of its work programme:

IVSC Work Programme

Eighth edition International Valuation Standards

To be published Q2 2007

Revised IVS 2 - Valuation Bases other than Market Value

Early publication on website Q1 2007

Revised IVA 2 - Valuation for Lending Purposes

Early publication on website Q1 2007

New IVA 3 - Valuation for Financial Reporting of Public Sector Assets

Early publication on website Q2 2007

New GN - Valuation of Historic Property

Early publication on website Q1 2007

Proposed Revisions to GN 8 - The Cost Approach for Financial Reporting

Consultation draft issued Nov 06

Proposed Revisions to GN 9 - Discounted Cash Flow Analysis

Consultation draft to be issued Q1 2007

The Valuation of Intangible Assets for IFRS Reporting Purposes

Exposure draft to be issued Q2 2007

Click for Full Report (PDF 193k).
International Auditing (lt green) Image

IAASB issues three exposure drafts

20 Nov 2006

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), an independent standard-setting board under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), has issued three exposure drafts of proposed International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) that follow its new clarity drafting conventions.

Key elements of those drafting conventions include basing the standards on objectives, as opposed to procedural considerations; using the word 'shall' to identify requirements that the professional accountant is expected to follow in the vast majority of engagements; eliminating the present tense to describe actions by the professional accountant; and structural improvements to enhance the overall readability and understandability of the standards. The three new EDs are:
  • ISA 320 (Revised and Redrafted), Materiality in Planning and Performing an Audit;
  • ISA 450 (Redrafted), Evaluation of Misstatements Identified during the Audit; and
  • ISA 260 (Revised and Redrafted), Communication with Those Charged with Governance.
Comment deadline is 15 February 2007. The exposure drafts may be viewed by going to www.ifac.org/EDs. The EDs remain posted until the final ISAs have been issued.
European Union (old) Image

New EU procedure for endorsing IFRSs

20 Nov 2006

A new step has been added to the procedure for endorsing IFRSs (including Interpretations) for use in Europe.

The European Commission will be required to submit its endorsement proposals to a Committee of the European Parliament, known as the Regulatory Procedure with Scrutiny Committee. That Committee will give its opinion on endorsement to the Commission within a time frame determined on a case by case basis. If the Committee agrees with the Commission's recommendation, the recommendation goes to the European Parliament and Council for approval, as at present. If, however, the Committee does not agree with the Commission's recommendation, the matter will go directly to the Council. If the Council supports the Commission's recommendation, the matter will go to Parliament for action. If the Council does not support the Commission's recommendation, the Commission will be asked to reconsider the matter and submit a new recommendation. Click for:
SEC (old) Image

SEC 2006 annual report references to IFRSs

20 Nov 2006

The Performance and Accountability Report of the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the year ended 30 September 2006 makes a number of references to IFRSs including the following progress report under the heading 'Improving Disclosure for Investors':

Global accounting standards. Last year, the SEC staff published a 'roadmap' of the milestones necessary to permit foreign private issuers to file financial statements prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), without reconciling them to U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The roadmap involves, among other things, a detailed analysis of the faithfulness and consistency of the application, interpretation, and enforcement of IFRS in financial statements across companies and jurisdictions, and continued progress in the convergence work now being conducted by the International Accounting Standards Board and the Financial Accounting Standards Board. The SEC staff has been working with other regulators, including through IOSCO and the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR), to help reach some of these milestones. For example, the SEC staff and CESR finalized a work plan in 2006 to share information about IFRS implementation.
Click for Full Report (PDF 2,294k).

Correction list for hyphenation

These words serve as exceptions. Once entered, they are only hyphenated at the specified hyphenation points. Each word should be on a separate line.