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This issue of Beyond the GAAP brings a piece of good news for our readers, as we all return to work following a well-deserved break: our financial instruments experts have saved you some effort by reading and summarising the IASB’s particularly dense Discussion Paper on the classification of financial instruments as liabilities or equity, published at the beginning of the summer. See our ‘A Closer Look’ feature for our summary of the DP.
After focusing on half-yearly reporting and on IFRS 15 and IFRS 9 in our last edition, this month’s special study presents a Benchmark on disclosures by entities at 31 December 2017 on the future impact of IFRS 16. The level of information provided varies greatly, and, unsurprisingly, is on average rather limited. It is as well to remember that entities should expand these disclosures at 30 June 2018.
Target: the half-year accounts! With the disclosures required by the two standards that came into force on 1 January 2018 and the full list of applicable texts, three ‘A Closer look’ studies will support you in their preparation. In passing, take the time to review the details of IAS 34 on interim financial statements in our crossword!
Again this month IFRS 9 and IFRS 15 take centre stage in our highlights as they are the focus of attention for market regulators and the Monitoring Board of the IFRS Foundation. As announced in our previous edition, our closer look study this month presents the key features of the new IFRS Conceptual Framework. In summary, the final text confirms and expands the main outlines proposed in the 2015 exposure draft.
The year began quietly with few major developments relating to standards, but March has seen a whole series of projects coming to fruition. Some of these are highly concrete, with three very detailed decisions published by the IFRS IC on the application of IFRS 15, which we explore in our ‘A Closer Look’ feature. Others are much more conceptual, such as the publication of the IFRS Conceptual Framework, and still others are forward-looking and are prompted by the European Union’s action plans on sustainable development and the fitness of public reporting by companies.
With less than a year to go before the effective date of IFRS 16 on Leases, the report of the ANC’s (The French accounting standards setter) decisions on the duration of 3/6/9 leases, published in February, is certainly the most anticipated announcement for French entities. This is because it should enable most of them to resolve this thorny question in their plans for implementation. This decision will of course also be useful to entities with subsidiaries in France.
Since 1 January 2018, IFRS 9 - Financial instruments and IFRS 15 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers have been effective, as the the IASB headline announced on its website on 8 January. In parallel, work to assess the impact of IFRS 9 on long-term investment is continuing at the European level, with the publication of the outcomes of a first factual analysis by EFRAG. This research has also acted as a spur to the IASB, which has followed up the EFRAG publication by issuing two presentations of its own on the contributions of IFRS standards to financial stability and long-term investment.
The last quarter has yielded a significant number of changes in the international tax landscape. These have ranged from domestic changes to withholding tax treatments, to the publication by the European Commission of draft directives on the taxation of the digital economy.
2017 ended fairly quietly, since the European Commission had already endorsed several texts in November and the IASB’s December meeting decided to postpone publication of most of its texts and draft texts, with the exception of the annual improvements to IFRSs, which we discuss in this month’s ‘A closer look’ study. This being the case, the implementation of IFRS 9 and IFRS 15 in January 2018 will be more than enough to keep entities and their auditors busy, on top of the preparation of the 2017 financial statements.
Over the past decade, the IASB has been working on the process of converging IFRS with US GAAP, and this month saw EU endorsement of the remaining resulting standards. With implementation now set to go ahead, this marks the end of a chapter. The one remaining major standard awaiting endorsement – namely IFRS 17 - Insurance Contracts – was not a joint project with the FASB, and moreover is not scheduled for endorsement until the end of next year.