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International Financial Reporting Standards, commonly called IFRS, are
accounting standard Publicly traded companies typically are subject to the most rigorous standards. Small and midsized businesses often follow more simplified standards, plus any specific disclosures required by their specific lenders and shareholders. Some firms opera ...
s issued by the
IFRS Foundation The International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, or IFRS Foundation, is a nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity orga ...
and the
International Accounting Standards Board The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is the independent, accounting standard Publicly traded companies typically are subject to the most rigorous standards. Small and midsized businesses often follow more simplified standards, plus a ...
(IASB). They constitute a standardised way of describing the company's financial performance and position so that company
financial statements Financial statements (or financial reports) are formal records of the financial activities and position of a business, person, or other entity. Relevant financial information is presented in a structured manner and in a form which is easy to un ...
are understandable and comparable across international boundaries. They are particularly relevant for companies with shares or securities listed on a public stock exchange. IFRS have replaced many different national accounting standards around the world but have not replaced the separate accounting standards in the United States where
US GAAP Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP or U.S. GAAP, pronounced like "gap") is the accounting standard adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While the SEC previously stated that it intends to move from U.S. GAAP ...
is applied.


History

The
International Accounting Standards Committee The International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) was founded in June 1973 in London at the initiative of Henry Benson, Baron Benson, Sir Henry Benson, former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The IASC w ...
(IASC) was established in June 1973 by accountancy bodies representing ten countries. It devised and published International Accounting Standards (IAS), interpretations and a conceptual framework. These were looked to by many national accounting standard-setters in developing national standards. In 2001 the
International Accounting Standards Board The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is the independent, accounting standard Publicly traded companies typically are subject to the most rigorous standards. Small and midsized businesses often follow more simplified standards, plus a ...
(IASB) replaced the IASC with a remit to bring about convergence between national accounting standards through the development of global accounting standards. During its first meeting the new Board adopted existing IAS and Standing Interpretations Committee standards (SICs). The IASB has continued to develop standards calling the new standards "International Financial Reporting Standards" (IFRS). In 2002 the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of that are located primarily in . The union has a total area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. has been established through a standardised that apply in ...

European Union
(EU) agreed that, from 1 January 2005, International Financial Reporting Standards would apply for the consolidated accounts of the EU listed companies, bringing about the introduction of IFRS to many large entities. Other countries have since followed the lead of the EU. In 2021 on the occasion of COP26 of the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established an international International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between nations". International may also refer to: Music Albums * ''International'' ( ...
in Glasgow the IFRS Foundation announced the formation of the new International Sustainability Standards Board ISSB.


Adoption

IFRS Standards are required in more than 140 jurisdictions and permitted in many parts of the world, including
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A cou ...

South Korea
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both and . At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 million people, Brazil is the ...

Brazil
, the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of that are located primarily in . The union has a total area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. has been established through a standardised that apply in ...

European Union
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (: ), is a country in . It is the by area, the country, and the most populous in the world. Bounded by the on the south, the on the southwest, and the on the southeast, it shares land borders wit ...

India
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a and of China on the eastern in . With over 7.5 million residents of various nationalities in a territory, Hong ...

Hong Kong
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are geographically south of C ...

Malaysia
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, e ...

Pakistan
, GCC countries,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly becau ...

Russia
,
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention ra ...

Chile
,
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
,
Kenya ) , national_anthem = "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu" (, ) is the national anthem of Kenya. History "Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu"'s lyrics were originally written in Swahili language, Kiswahili, the national language of Kenya ...

Kenya
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities ...

South Africa
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...

Singapore
and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It shares borders with Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; the ...

Turkey
. To assess progress towards the goal of a single set global accounting standards, the IFRS Foundation has developed and posted profiles about the use of IFRS Standards in individual jurisdictions. These are based on information from various sources. The starting point was the responses provided by standard-setting and other relevant bodies to a survey that the IFRS Foundation conducted. As of August 2019, profiles are completed for 166 jurisdictions, with 166 jurisdictions requiring the use of IFRS Standards.Profiles of the IFRS Foundation
/ref> Due to the difficulty of maintaining up-to-date information in individual jurisdictions, three sources of information on current worldwide IFRS adoption are recommended: * IFRS Foundation profiles page * The World Bank * International Federation of Accountants
Ray J. Ball Raymond J. (Ray) Ball is a researcher and educator in accounting and financial economics. He is the Sidney Davidson Distinguished Service Professor of Accounting in the University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago, U of C, or Chic ...
described the expectation by the European Union and others that IFRS adoption worldwide would be beneficial to investors and other users of financial statements, by reducing the costs of comparing investment opportunities and increasing the quality of information. Companies are also expected to benefit, as investors will be more willing to provide financing. Companies that have high levels of international activities are among the group that would benefit from a switch to IFRS Standards. Companies that are involved in foreign activities and investing benefit from the switch due to the increased comparability of a set accounting standard. However, Ray J. Ball has expressed some scepticism of the overall cost of the international standard; he argues that the enforcement of the standards could be lax, and the regional differences in accounting could become obscured behind a label. He also expressed concerns about the fair value emphasis of IFRS and the influence of accountants from non-
common-law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudi ...
regions, where losses have been recognised in a less timely manner.Ball R. (2006)
, date=21 August 2010 . ''Accounting and Business Research''


US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (United States), US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

remains separate from IFRS. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Securities Exchange Committee (SEC) requires the use of US GAAP by domestic companies with listed securities and does not permit them to use IFRS; US GAAP is also used by some companies in Japan and the rest of the world. In 2002 IASB and the
Financial Accounting Standards Board The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is a private standard-setting body whose primary purpose is to establish and improve Generally Accepted Accounting Principles Publicly traded companies typically are subject to the most rigorous ...
(FASB), the body supporting US GAAP, announced a programme known as the
Norwalk AgreementNorwalk Agreement refers to a Memorandum of Understanding signed in September 2002 between the Financial Accounting Standards Board The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is a private, non-profit organization A nonprofit organization ...
that aimed at eliminating differences between IFRS and US GAAP. In 2012 the SEC announced that it expected separate US GAAP to continue for the foreseeable future but sought to encourage further work to align the two standards. IFRS is sometimes described as principles-based, as opposed to a rules-based approach in US GAAP; so in US GAAP there is more instruction in the application of standards to specific examples and industries.


Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting

The Conceptual Framework serves as a tool for the IASB to develop standards. It does not override the requirements of individual IFRSs. Some companies may use the Framework as a reference for selecting their accounting policies in the absence of specific IFRS requirements.


Objective of financial statements

The Conceptual Framework states that the primary purpose of financial information is to be useful to existing and potential investors, lenders and other creditors when making decisions about the financing of the entity and exercising rights to vote on, or otherwise influence, management's actions that affect the use of the entity's economic resources. Users base their expectations of returns on their assessment of: *The amount, timing and uncertainty of future net cash inflows to the entity; *Management's stewardship of the entity's resources.


Qualitative characteristics of financial information

The Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting defines the fundamental qualitative characteristics of financial information to be: * Relevance; and * Faithful representation The Framework also describes and qualitative characteristics: * Comparability * Verifiability * Timeliness * Understandability


Elements of financial statements

The Conceptual Framework defines the elements of financial statements to be:- *
Asset In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entity, economic entities such a ...
: A present economic resource controlled by the entity as a result of past events which are expected to generate future economic benefits *
Liability Liability may refer to: Law * Legal liability, in both civil and criminal law ** Public liability, part of the law of tort which focuses on civil wrongs ** Product liability, the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retai ...
: A present obligation of the entity to transfer an economic resource as a result of past events *
Equity Equity may refer to: Finance, accounting and ownership *Equity (finance), ownership of assets that have liabilities attached to them ** Stock, equity based on original contributions of cash or other value to a business ** Home equity, the differe ...
: The residual interest in the assets of the entity after deducting all its liabilities *
Income In microeconomics, income is the Consumption (economics), consumption and saving opportunity gained by an entity within a specified timeframe, which is generally expressed in monetary terms.Smith's financial dictionary. Smith, Howard Irving. 190 ...
: increases in economic benefit during an accounting period in the form of inflows or enhancements of assets, or decrease of liabilities that result in increases in equity. However, it does not include the contributions made by the equity participants (for example owners, partners or shareholders). *
ExpenseExpenditure is an outflow of money, or any form of Wealth, fortune in general, to another person or group as payment for an item, service, or other category of costs. For a leasehold estate, tenant, renting, rent is an expense. For students or parent ...
s: decreases in assets, or increases in liabilities, that result in decreases in equity. However, these do not include the distributions made to the equity participants. * Other changes in economic resources and claims: Contributions from holders of equity and distributions to them


Recognition of elements of financial statements

An item is recognized in the financial statements when: * it is probable that future economic benefit will flow to or from an entity. * the resource can be reliably measured In some cases specific standards add additional conditions before recognition is possible or prohibit recognition altogether. An example is the recognition of internally generated brands, mastheads, publishing titles, customer lists and items similar in substance, for which recognition is prohibited by IAS 38. In addition research and development expenses can only be recognised as an intangible asset if they cross the threshold of being classified as 'development cost'. Whilst the standard on provisions, IAS 37, prohibits the recognition of a provision for contingent liabilities, this prohibition is not applicable to the accounting for contingent liabilities in a business combination. In that case the acquirer shall recognise a contingent liability even if it is not probable that an outflow of resources embodying economic benefits will be required.


Concepts of capital and capital maintenance

Concepts of capital maintenance are important as only income earned in excess of amounts needed to maintain capital may be regarded as profit. The Conceptual Framework describes the following concepts of capital maintenance: *Financial capital maintenance. Under this concept a profit is earned only if the financial amount of the net assets at the end of the period exceeds the financial (or money) amount of net assets at the beginning of the period, after excluding any distributions to, and contributions from owners during the period. Financial capital maintenance can be measured in either nominal monetary units or units of constant purchasing power; *Physical capital maintenance. Under this concept a profit is earned only if the physical productive capacity (or operating capacity) of the entity (or the resources or funds needed to achieve that capacity) at the end of the period exceeds the physical productive capacity at the beginning of period, after excluding any distributions to, and contributions from owners during the period. Most entities adopt a financial concept of capital maintenance. However, the Conceptual Framework does not prescribe any model of capital maintenance.


Requirements


Presentation of financial statements

IFRS financial statements consist of: * a statement of financial position (balance sheet) * a statement of comprehensive income. This may be presented as a single statement or with a separate statement of profit and loss and a statement of other comprehensive income * a
statement of changes in equity A statement of changes in equity and similarly the statement of changes in owner's equity for a , statement of changes in partners' equity for a , statement of changes in shareholders' equity for a or statement of changes in taxpayers' equity for ...
* a
statement of cash flows In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial and non financial information about economic entity, economic entities such as b ...
* notes, including a summary of the significant accounting policies. Comparative information is required for the prior reporting period.


General features

The following are the general features in IFRS: * Fair presentation and compliance with IFRS: Fair presentation requires the faithful representation of the effects of the transactions, other events and conditions in accordance with the definitions and recognition criteria for assets, liabilities, income and expenses set out in the Framework of IFRS. *
Going concernA going concern is a business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling Product (business), products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered int ...
: Financial statements are present on a going concern basis unless management either intends to liquidate the entity or to cease trading, or has no realistic alternative but to do so. * Accrual basis of accounting: An entity shall recognise items as assets, liabilities, equity, income and expenses when they satisfy the definition and recognition criteria for those elements in the Framework of IFRS. * Materiality and aggregation: Every material class of similar items has to be presented separately. Items that are of a dissimilar nature or function shall be presented separately unless they are immaterial. * Offsetting: Offsetting is generally forbidden in IFRS. However certain standards require offsetting when specific conditions are satisfied (such as in case of the accounting for defined benefit liabilities in IAS 19 and the net presentation of deferred tax liabilities and deferred tax assets in IAS 12). * Frequency of reporting: IFRS requires that at least annually a complete set of financial statements is presented. However listed companies generally also publish interim financial statements (for which the accounting is fully IFRS compliant) for which the presentation is in accordance with IAS 34 ''Interim Financing Reporting''. * Comparative information: IFRS requires entities to present comparative information in respect of the preceding period for all amounts reported in the current period's financial statements. In addition comparative information shall also be provided for narrative and descriptive information if it is relevant to understanding the current period's financial statements. The standard IAS 1 also requires an additional statement of financial position (also called a third balance sheet) when an entity applies an accounting policy retrospectively or makes a retrospective restatement of items in its financial statements, or when it reclassifies items in its financial statements. This for example occurred with the adoption of the revised standard IAS 19 (as of 1 January 2013) or when the new consolidation standards IFRS 10-11-12 were adopted (as of 1 January 2013 or 2014 for companies in the European Union). * Consistency of presentation: IFRS requires that the presentation and classification of items in the financial statements is retained from one period to the next unless:


Cash flow statements

Cash flow statements in IFRS are presented as follows: * Operating cash flows: the principal revenue-producing activities of the entity and are generally calculated by applying the indirect method, whereby profit or loss is adjusted for the effects of transaction of a non-cash nature, any deferrals or accruals of past or future cash receipts or payments, and items of income or expense associated with investing or financing cash flows. * Investing cash flows: the acquisition and disposal of long-term assets and other investments not included in cash equivalents. These represent the extent to which expenditures have been made for resources intended to generate future income and cash flows. Only expenditures that result in a recognised asset in the statement of financial position are eligible for classification as investing activities. * Financing cash flows: activities that result in changes in the size and composition of the contributed equity and borrowings of the entity. These are important because they are useful in predicting claims on future cash flows by providers of capital to the entity.


Criticisms

In 2012, staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a report setting out observations on a potential adoption of IFRS in the United States. This included the following criticisms:- *that it would be expensive for companies to move to compliance with IFRS; *that the IASB had reliance on funding from large accounting firms which might jeopardise its actual or perceived independence; *that the process of convergence of IFRS with US GAAP had not made progress in some areas; *that the valuation of inventory under Last In First Out (LIFO) remains common in the United States, where it has some tax advantages, but would be prohibited under IFRS; *that IFRS is not comprehensive in its coverage. IASB staff have responded to these observations and concluded that there were no insurmountable obstacles for the adoption of IFRS by the United States. In 2013 IASB member Philippe Danjou listed ten common criticisms of IFRS. He sought to counter these, describing them as misconceptions *IFRS practise a generalized "fair value" *IFRS are intended to reflect the global financial value of the company *IFRS deny the concept of accounting conservatism *IFRS give prominence to economic reality over legal form *Directors can't make heads or tails of IFRS financial statements *IFRS financial statements do not reflect the business model *Financial instruments are stated at "full fair value", thereby maximizing earnings volatility. The "fair value" is always defined as "market value" even when markets are illiquid. *The treatment of business combinations is irrational. *IFRSs create accounting volatility that does not reflect the economic reality. Charles Lee, professor of accounting at Stanford Graduate School of Business, has also criticised the use of fair values in financial reporting. In 2019, H David Sherman and S David Young criticised the current state of financial reporting under IFRS and US GAAP:- *Convergence of reporting standards has stalled. IFRS is not consistently applied; *Alternative methods of revenue recognition make it difficult to interpret reported results; *Many companies are using unofficial measures, for example earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), whether to get around a deficiency in the format in accounting standards or potentially to mislead users; *Companies can control decisions on expenditure to manage results.


Economic effects

Many researchers have studied the effects of IFRS adoption but results are unclear. For example, one study uses data from 26 countries to study the economic consequences of mandatory IFRS adoption. It shows that, on average, even though market liquidity increases around the time of the introduction of IFRS, it is unclear whether IFRS mandate adoption is the sole reason of observed market effects. Firms' reporting incentives, law enforcement, and increased comparability of financial reports can also explain the effects. The adoption of IFRS in the European Union is a special case because it is an element of wider reforms aiming to consolidate the economies of member countries. One study reports positive market effects for companies adopting IFRS but these positive effects occurred even before the transition took place. Another study looked at the development of the stock market in Poland; it found positive effects associated with Poland joining the EU but no specific effect attributable to the IFRS. Interestingly, member states maintain a large degree of independence in setting national accounting standards for companies that prefer to stay local.


See also

*
List of International Financial Reporting StandardsThis is a list of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and official interpretations, as set out by the IFRS Foundation. It includes accounting standards either developed or adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board (I ...
*
Chinese accounting standardsChinese accounting standards are the accounting rules used in People's Republic of China, mainland China. As of February 2010, the Chinese accounting standard systems is composed of Basic Standard, 38 specific standards and application guidance. Chi ...
*
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (Canada) Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to th ...
* Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (France) * Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (UK) *
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (United States) Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP or U.S. GAAP, pronounced like "gap") is the accounting standard Publicly traded companies typically are subject to the most rigorous standards. Small and midsized businesses often follow more simpli ...
* Indian Accounting Standards *
International Public Sector Accounting Standards International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) are a set of accounting standards issued by the IPSAS Board for use by public sector entities around the world in the preparation of financial statements. These standards are based on Internat ...
*
Nepal Financial Reporting Standards {{Accounting , expanded=al Nepal Financial Reporting Standards (NFRS) are designed as a common global language for business affairs so that company accounts are understandable and comparable within Nepal. The rules to be followed by accountants to ...
* Philosophy of accounting


References


Further reading

* International Accounting Standards Board (2007): ''International Financial Reporting Standards 2007 (including International Accounting Standards (IAS(tm)) and Interpretations as of 1 January 2007)'', LexisNexis, * Original texts of IAS/IFRS, SIC and IFRIC adopted by the Commission of the European Communities and published in Official Journal of the European Union https://web.archive.org/web/20061020223959/http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/accounting/ias_en.htm#adopted-commission * Case studies o
IFRS implementation
i
BrazilGermanyIndiaJamaicaKenyaPakistanSouth Africa
an
Turkey
Prepared by the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR). * Wiley Guide to Fair Value Under IFR

John Wiley & Sons John Wiley & Sons, Inc., commonly known as Wiley (), is an American Multinational corporation, multinational publishing company founded in 1807 that focuses on academic publishing and instructional materials. The company produces books, Academic ...
. * Perramon, J., & Amat, O. (2006)
IFRS introduction and its effect on listed companies in Spain
Economics Working Papers 975, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra. ''Available at SSRN 1002516''.


External links


IFRS Foundation

International Accounting Standards Board
*
The International Accounting Standards Board
– (Archive) Free access to all IFRS standards, news and status of projects in progress
PwC IFRS page
with news and downloadable documents
The latest IFRS news and resources from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

Initial publication of the International Accounting Standards in the Official Journal of the European Union PB L 261 13-10-2003


* [https://web.archive.org/web/20121015074952/http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_GB/uk/industries/financial-services/sector-focus/capital-markets/2c557501a5b91210VgnVCM200000bb42f00aRCRD.htm Deloitte: An Overview of International Financial Reporting Standards]
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) in partnership with its marketing and technology subsidiary, CPA2Biz, has developed the IFRS.com web site.

RSM Richter IFRS page
with news and downloadable documents related to IFRS Conversions in Canada

Proposal for First-Time Application of International Financial Reporting Standards by Foreign private issuers registered with the SEC

Presented by Michael Wells, Director of the IFRS Education Initiative at the IASC Foundation
Pricewaterhousecoopers's map of countries that apply IFRS

EY IFRS page
with insights on IFRS Standards {{Authority control Financial regulation Accounting terminology