Get the requirements for properly disclosing the accounting policies to provide the users of your financial statements with useful financial data, in the common language prescribed in the world’s most widely used standards for financial reporting, the IFRS Standards. First there is a section providing guidance on what the requirements are, followed by a comprehensive example, easy to tailor to the specific needs of your company.
Example accounting policies guidance
Whether to disclose an accounting policy
1. In deciding whether a particular accounting policy should be disclosed, management considers whether disclosure would assist users in understanding how transactions, other events and conditions are reflected in the reported financial performance and financial position. Disclosure of particular accounting policies is especially useful to users where those policies are selected from alternatives allowed in IFRS. [IAS 1.119]
2. Some IFRSs specifically require disclosure of particular accounting policies, including choices made by management between different policies they allow. For example, IAS 16 Property, Plant and Equipment requires disclosure of the measurement bases used for classes of property, plant and equipment and IFRS 3 Business Combinations requires disclosure of the measurement basis used for non-controlling interest acquired during the period.
3. In this guidance, policies are disclosed that are specific to the entity and relevant for an understanding of individual line items in the financial statements, together with the notes for those line items. Other, more general policies are disclosed in the note 25 in the example below. Where permitted by local requirements, entities could consider moving these non-entity-specific policies into an Appendix.
Change in accounting policy – new and revised accounting standards
4. Where an entity has changed any of its accounting policies, either as a result of a new or revised accounting standard or voluntarily, it must explain the change in its notes. Additional disclosures are required where a policy is changed retrospectively, see note 26 for further information. [IAS 8.28]
5. New or revised accounting standards and interpretations only need to be disclosed if they resulted in a change in accounting policy which had an impact in the current year or could impact on future periods. There is no need to disclose pronouncements that did not have any impact on the entity’s accounting policies and amounts recognised in the financial statements. [IAS 8.28]
6. For the purpose of this edition, it is assumed that RePort Co. PLC did not have to make any changes to its accounting policies, as it is not affected by the interest rate benchmark reforms, and the other amendments summarised in Appendix D are only clarifications that did not require any changes. However, this assumption will not necessarily apply to all entities. Where there has been a change in policy, this will need to be explained, see note 26 for further information.
Disclosure financial risk management provides the guidance on the need for disclosure of the management policies, procedures and measurement practices in place at the operations within the reporting entity’s group of companies and an actual example of disclosures for financial risk management.
Disclosure Financial risk management guidance
Classes of financial instruments
Where IFRS 7 requires disclosures by class of financial instrument, the entity shall group its financial instruments into classes that are appropriate to the nature of the information disclosed and that take into account the characteristics of those financial instruments. The classes are determined by the entity and are therefore distinct from the categories of financial instruments specified in IFRS 9. Disclosure Financial risk management
As a minimum, the entity should distinguish between financial instruments measured at amortised cost and those measured at fair value, and treat as separate class any financial instruments outside the scope of IFRS 9. The entity shall provide sufficient information to permit reconciliation to the line items presented in the balance sheet. Guidance on classes of financial instruments and the level of required disclosures is provided in Appendix B to IFRS 7. [IFRS 7.6, IFRS 7.B1-B3]
– provides a narrative providing guidance on users of financial statements’ needs to present financial disclosures in the notes to the financial statements grouped in more logical orders. But there is and never will be a one-size fits all.
Here it has been decided to separately disclose financial assets and liabilities and non-financial assets and liabilities, because of the distinct different nature of these classes of assets and liabilities and the resulting different types of disclosures, risks and tabulations.
Disclosure financial assets and liabilities guidance
Disclosing financial assets and liabilities (financial instruments) in one note
Users of financial reports have indicated that they would like to be able to quickly access all of the information about the entity’s financial assets and liabilities in one location in the financial report. The notes are therefore structured such that financial items and non-financial items are discussed separately. However, this is not a mandatory requirement in the accounting standards.
Accounting policies, estimates and judgements
For readers of Financial Statements it is helpful if information about accounting policies that are specific to the entityand about significant estimates and judgements is disclosed with the relevant line items, rather than in separate notes. However, this format is also not mandatory. For general commentary regarding the disclosures of accounting policies refer to note 25. Commentary about the disclosure of significant estimates and judgements is provided in note 11.
Scope of accounting standard for disclosure of financial instruments
IFRS 7 does not apply to the following items as they are not financial instruments as defined in paragraph 11 of IAS 32:
prepayments made (right to receive future good or service, not cash or a financial asset)
tax receivables and payables and similar items (statutory rights or obligations, not contractual), or
contract liabilities (obligation to deliver good or service, not cash or financial asset).
While contract assets are also not financial assets, they are explicitly included in the scope of IFRS 7 for the purpose of the credit risk disclosures. Liabilities for sales returns and volume discounts (see note 7(f)) may be considered financial liabilities on the basis that they require payments to the customer. However, they should be excluded from financial liabilities if the arrangement is executory. the Reporting entity Plc determined this to be the case. [IFRS 7.5A]
Classification of preference shares
Preference shares must be analysed carefully to determine if they contain features that cause the instrument not to meet the definition of an equity instrument. If such shares meet the definition of equity, the entity may elect to carry them at FVOCI without recycling to profit or loss if not held for trading.
IFRS 15 Revenue Disclosures Examples provides the context of disclosure requirements in IFRS 15 Revenue from contracts with customers and a practical example disclosure note in the financial statements. However, as this publication is a reference tool, no disclosures have been removed based on materiality. Instead, illustrative disclosures for as many common scenarios as possible have been included.
Please note that the amounts disclosed in this publication are purely for illustrative purposes and may not be consistent throughout the example disclosure related party transactions.
Users of the financial statements should be given sufficient information to understand the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from contracts with customers. To achieve this, entities must provide qualitative and quantitative information about their contracts with customers, significant judgements made in applying IFRS 15 and any assets recognised from the costs to obtain or fulfil a contract with customers. [IFRS 15.110]
Entities must disaggregate revenue from contracts with customers into categories that depict how the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows are affected by economic factors. It will depend on the specific circumstances of each entity as to how much detail is disclosed. The Reporting entity Plc has determined that a disaggregation of revenue using existing segments and the timing of the transfer of goods or services (at a point in time vs over time) is adequate for its circumstances. However, this is a judgement and will not necessarily be appropriate for other entities.
Other categories that could be used as basis for disaggregation include:
type of good or service (eg major product lines)
market or type of customer
type of contract (eg fixed price vs time-and-materials contracts)
contract duration (short-term vs long-term contracts), or
sales channels (directly to customers vs wholesale).
When selecting categories for the disaggregation of revenue entities should also consider how their revenue is presented for other purposes, eg in earnings releases, annual reports or investor presentations and what information is regularly reviewed by the chief operating decision makers. [IFRS 15.B88]
Leveraged buyout IFRS 3 best reporting – In corporate finance, a leveraged buyout (LBO) is a transaction where a company is acquired using debt as the main source of consideration. These transactions typically occur when a private equity (PE) firm borrows as much as they can from a variety of lenders (up to 70 or 80 percent of the purchase price) and funds the balance with their own equity. Leveraged buyout IFRS 3 best reporting
1 The process and business reason
The use of leverage (debt) enhances expected returns to the private equity firm. By putting in as little of their own money as possible, PE firms can achieve a large return on equity (ROE) and internal rate of return … Read more
– are often large and complex installations. They are expensive to construct, tend to be exposed to harsh operating conditions and require periodic replacement or repair. This environment leads to specific accounting issues.
1 Fixed assets and components
IFRS has a specific requirement for ‘component’ depreciation, as described in IAS 16 Property, Plant and Equipment. Each significant part of an item of property, plant and equipment is depreciated separately. Significant parts of an asset that have similar useful lives and patterns of consumption can be grouped together. This requirement can create complications for utility entities, because many assets include components with a shorter useful life than the asset as a whole.
Identifying components of an asset
Generation assets might comprise a significant number of components, many of which will have differing useful lives. The significant components of these types of assets must be separately identified. This can be a complex process, particularly on transition to IFRS, because the detailed record-keeping needed for componentisation might not have been required in order to comply with national generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This can particularly be an issue for older power plants. However, some regulators require detailed asset records, which can be useful for IFRS component identification purposes.
An entity might look to its operating data if the necessary information for components is not readily identified by the accounting records. Some components can be identified by considering the routine shutdown or overhaul schedules for power stations and the associated replacement and maintenance routines. Consideration should also be given to those components that are prone to technological obsolescence, corrosion or wear and tear that is more severe than that of the other portions of the larger asset.
The following discussion captures a number of the more significant GAAP differences under both the impairment standards. It is important to note that the discussion is not inclusive of all GAAP differences in this area.
The significant differences and similarities between U.S. GAAP and IFRS related to accounting for investment property are summarized in the following tables.
Unlike IFRS Standards, there is no specific definition of ‘investment property’; such property is accounted for as property, plant and equipment unless it meets the criteria to be classified as held-for-sale.
‘Investment property’ is property (land or building) held by the owner or lessee to earn rentals or for capital appreciation, or both.
Unlike IFRS Standards, there is no guidance on how to classify dual-use property. Instead, the entire property is accounted for as property, plant and equipment.
A portion of a dual-use property is classified as investment property only if the portion could be sold or leased out under a finance lease. Otherwise, the entire property is classified as investment property only if the portion of the property held for own use is insignificant.
Unlike IFRS Standards, ancillary services provided by a lessor do not affect the treatment of a property as property, plant and equipment.
If a lessor provides ancillary services, and such services are a relatively insignificant component of the arrangement as a whole, then the property is classified as investment property.
Like IFRS Standards, investment property is initially measured at cost as property, plant and equipment.
Investment property is initially measured at cost.
Unlike IFRS Standards, subsequent to initial recognition all investment property is measured using the cost model as property, plant and equipment.
Subsequent to initial recognition, all investment property is measured under either the fair value model (subject to limited exceptions) or the cost model.
If the fair value model is chosen, then changes in fair value are recognised in profit or loss.
Unlike IFRS Standards, there is no requirement to disclose the fair value of investment property.
Disclosure of the fair value of all investment property is required, regardless of the measurement model used.
Similar to IFRS Standards, subsequent expenditure is generally capitalised if it is probable that it will give rise to future economic benefits.
Subsequent expenditure is capitalised only if it is probable that it will give rise to future economic benefits.
Unlike IFRS Standards, investment property is accounted for as property, plant and equipment, and there are no transfers to or from an ‘investment property’ category.
Transfers to or from investment property can be made only when there has been a change in the use of the property.
IFRS vs US GAAP Investment property IFRS vs US GAAP Investment property IFRS vs US GAAP Investment property
If an entity enters into a non-monetary exchange with a customer as part of its ordinary activities, then generally it applies the guidance on non-cash consideration in the IFRS 15 Revenue standard. Non-monetary transactions IFRS 15
Non-monetary exchanges with non-customers do not give rise to revenue. If a non-monetary exchange of assets with a non-customer has commercial substance, then the transaction gives rise to a gain or loss. The cost of the asset acquired is generally the fair value of the asset surrendered, adjusted for any cash transferred. Non-monetary transactions IFRS 15
Simple bartering involves no cost as this involves exchanging goods and/or services of the same value.
A barter exchange operates as a broker and bank in which each participating member has an account that is debited when purchases are made, and credited when sales are made. Compared to one-to-one bartering, concerns over unequal exchanges are reduced in a barter exchange.
The exchange plays an important role because it provides the record-keeping, brokering expertise and monthly statements to each member. Commercial exchanges make money by charging a commission on each transaction on either the buy or sell side, or a combination of both. Non-monetary transactions IFRS 15
In general, one requirement remains in tact in non-monetary transactions, revenue cannot be recognised if the amount of revenue is not reliably measurable. Non-monetary transactions IFRS 15