Currently IFRS consists of two principles-based standards, IAS 18 Revenue and IAS 11 (Construction Contracts) and three IFRS Interpretations. These were criticised for failing to provide adequate guidance on application - they have been described as ‘vague and inconsistent’. The IASB and the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) collaborated on a project to develop improved, converged standards for revenue recognition.
Preparers must develop a policy for measuring the amount and timing for recognising revenue for goods and services. Revenue is a key performance indicator that drives the recognition of expenses and profits and valuation of an entity.
The IASB’s standard, IFRS 15 is mandatory for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018 with early application permitted. IAS 16 focused on identifying when a lease is economically similar to purchasing the asset being leased and therefore classified as a finance lease. All other assets were classified as operating leases and not reported on a company’s balance sheet (they were ‘off balance sheet leases’).
The absence of information about leases on the balance sheet meant that investors and analysts did not have a complete picture of the financial position of a company, and were unable to properly compare companies that borrow to buy assets with those that lease assets, without making adjustments. In 2005, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) expressed concerns about the lack of transparency of information about lease obligations.
Responding to those concerns, the IASB and the FASB initiated a project to improve the accounting for leases. IFRS 16 is effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019.
IFRS 9 is the new accounting standard for financial instruments that will have an impact on International banks and financial institutions worldwide. Numerous changes are in place, designed to make annual reports more meaningful to investors as well as simplify how auditors implement the rules and introduce safeguards to ensure that a severe credit crises cannot emerge again.
IAS 39 has been replaced with a new standard IFRS 9, which removes the restrictions and accounting anomalies contained in IAS 39 improving the reporting standards and transparency. Many of the users of financial statements told the IASB that the requirements in IAS 39 were difficult to understand, apply and interpret.
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