The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) plans to complete a new conceptual framework by September 2015.
In addition, the board plans to have its technical program focus on implementation and maintenance, including post-implementation reviews and a small number of IFRS projects.
The IASB announced that it has mapped its future plans after reviewing more than 240 comment letters in response to a consultation document it published in July 2011. The plans are included in a 40-page feedback statement released by the IASB.
Respondents to the consultation document advised the IASB to:
- Have a period of relative calm after 10 years of almost continuous change in financial reporting.
- Prioritize work on the conceptual framework. This was one of the recommendations of the comment letter submitted by the AICPA’s Financial Reporting Executive Committee.
- Make targeted improvements that respond to the needs of new adopters of IFRS.
- Pay greater attention to the implementation and maintenance of standards.
- Improve the way it develops new standards, with more rigorous cost/benefit analysis as well as problem definition earlier in the standard-setting process.
A joint conceptual framework project undertaken by the IASB and FASB was suspended in 2010 to allow the boards to focus on high-priority, standards-level projects. The remainder of the IASB’s conceptual framework project will not be run jointly with FASB.
An important step in the building of a new conceptual framework will come when the IASB publishes a discussion paper on the topic in June 2013.
With regard to implementation and maintenance, the IASB already has developed a revised process to allow its Interpretations Committee to deal with a wider range of requests. And the first post-implementation review was launched in early 2012 on IFRS 8, Operating Segments. The next standard planned for such a review is IFRS 3, Business Combinations.
The IASB also has started building a forum for national and regional standard setters to create better dialogue between the board and the standard-setting community. It will be known as the Accounting Standards Advisory Forum.
Nine research projects have been identified as priorities based on the feedback the IASB received. These are:
- Emissions trading schemes.
- Business combinations under common control.
- Discount rates.
- Equity method of accounting.
- Intangible assets; extractive activities; and research and development activities.
- Financial instruments with the characteristics of equity.
- Foreign currency translation.
- Nonfinancial liabilities (amendments to IAS 37, Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent
- Financial reporting in high-inflationary economies.
In addition, the IASB is encouraging other standard setters to undertake research work on income taxes, a second phase of post-employment benefits standards development, and share-based payments.
The first three standards-level topics the IASB will consider as a result of its request for views are:
- Agriculture, particularly bearer biological assets such as grapevines or dairy cows.
- Rate-regulated activities.
- Separate financial statements: use of the equity method.
“Our new work program will address many challenging topics,” IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst said in the foreword to the feedback statement. “But I look forward to facing those challenges with the support of the wider IFRS community.”
—Ken Tysiac (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a JofA senior editor.