IFRS update — Austria

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30 May 2001

An update about IFRS in Austria as of May 2001.

In Austria, new accounting standards are issued after a decision of Parliament. However, new regulations are very likely to be discussed with representatives of the Austrian Chamber of Accountants as well as members from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, both of which were members of the IASC prior to the restructuring. Within both these bodies, there are working groups that provide interpretations and guidelines on existing regulations.

In 1999, the Austrian Parliament enacted a law that allows all Austrian companies to use IFRS or another internationally recognised set of accounting standards, rather than the Austrian commercial code (HGB), when preparing consolidated financial statements if the following prerequisites are met:

  • the financial statements also comply with European Directives,
  • the financial statements disclose the basis of accounting used as well as significant differences from Austrian Law,
  • the quality of information is deemed at least equivalent to the quality of information if prepared in compliance with Austrian Law, and
  • the auditor confirms that the above criteria are met.

This regulation is not limited to listed companies and was enacted in anticipation of the harmonisation process which is now also supported by the European Commission.

Since April 2001, the Vienna stock exchange requires all domestic and foreign companies listed on the A-Market and the Austrian Growth Market (AGM) to submit consolidated financial statements under either IFRS or US GAAP. Other listed companies are permitted to use IFRS or US GAAP or they may use Austran GAAP. So far about 50% of the companies listed on the A-Market have used IAS for their financial statements for the year 2000.

In the second quarter of 2001, Parliament will pass a new regulation regarding management stock option programmes with the aim to facilitate the raising of capital for companies having issued such programmes.

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