July was a busier period for Europe than for the IASB. The European Commission sent two draft texts (deferred application of IFRS 9 for insurers and financial conglomerates, and IFRS 16 on Leases) to the European Parliament and Council for endorsement before the end of the year, while ESMA published three documents on financial information and its enforcement activities.
After a quiet summer on the accounting front, September started brightly with two exposure drafts and a Practice Statement from the IASB.
June 2017 saw the publication of IFRIC 23 – Uncertainty over Income Tax Treatments. According to this Interpretation, entities must now assume that any uncertainty over income tax treatments will be examined by the taxation authorities, and must consider the probable outcome of such examination when determining the amount of income tax to be recognised in the financial statements.
IFRS 17 – Insurance Contracts has been in the pipeline for more than ten years, and finally made its appearance during the night of 16 to 17 May 2017. On 17 May, the IASB hosted two interactive webinars on the standard, and launched a dedicated webpage to support implementation. IFRS 17 will replace the interim standard IFRS 4 from 2021, meaning insurers will no longer be able to use local accounting frameworks for insurance contracts. The new standard is therefore likely to cause substantial upheaval, with impacts varying significantly from one company to another.
Following a November issue that was packed with ‘A Closer Look’ features, this month’s Beyond the GAAP is unusual in not containing any at all. However, our monthly crossword will provide a useful reminder of key issues in IFRS over the 2016 reporting period.
After a pause of several months, the IASB has started the year by presenting its annual improvements in a short exposure draft, with the next consultations expected as of April. It is also continuing to offer support on new standards, publishing an article on IFRS 16 – Leases, noting in passing that there are some decisions to be taken and judgments to be made, and urging entities not to delay the launch of their transition process.
For the second time in its history, the IASB has launched a rapid-turnaround consultation with a comment period of just 30 days – the minimum permitted by its Due Process Handbook. What is more, it once again relates to financial instruments. The IASB is rushing it through in the hope that the document will be ready for first-time application alongside IFRS 9 in 2018. It is touch and go, as the basic principle needs to be approved by stakeholders and the amendments then need to go through the EU adoption process!
While they do not form an official part of the IASB’s Disclosure Initiative, the amendments proposed to IFRS 8 on operating segments are certainly in the same spirit. With this consultation, and the consultation around the discussion paper on Principles of Disclosure, the IASB has started the ball rolling for the 2017 round of deliberations on the theme of Better Communication. In Europe, the recently published standard on leases has just completed the first stage of the adoption process, EFRAG having just issued a recommendation for rapid endorsement to the European Commission.
IASB Vice-Chair Sue Lloyd has been appointed to head the IFRS Interpretations Committee, and four IASB members who supported the recent major standards have been re-appointed for a second term.
While work on the IFRS now seems complete for the present, the IASB envisaging no further changes before the Post Implementation Review, nothing is less certain on the American side. This is because the American TRG is continuing its work – without the IASB, now in an observer role – and this may lead to clarifications of the US standard. Significantly, the first meeting of the US-only TRG addressed a subject that had been raised in the world of IFRSs: measuring progress by the technical milestones method.