Example accounting policies

Example accounting policies

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

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.

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Accounting for Business combinations cash flows

Accounting for Business combinations cash flows

1. Presentation and disclosure of cash paid/acquired in a business combination

When an entity acquires a business and part or all of the consideration is in cash or cash equivalents, part of the net assets acquired may include the acquiree’s existing cash balance. This results in different amounts being presented in the statement of cash flows and the notes to the financial statements.

IAS 7.39 and 42 require the net cash flows arising from gaining or losing control of a business, to be classified as arising from investing activities. Consequently, the statement of cash flows will not include the gross cash flows arisingBusiness combinations cash flows from the acquisition, and will instead show a single net amount. IAS 7.40 then requires the gross amounts to be disclosed in the notes.

The disclosures required by IFRS 3 Business Combinations include:

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The Statement of Cash Flows

Statement of Cash Flows

IAS 7.10 requires an entity to analyse its cash inflows and outflows into three categories:

  • Operating;
  • Investing; and
  • Financing.

IAS 7.6 defines these as follows:

Operating activities are the principal revenue producing activities of the entity and other activities that are not investing or financing activities.’

Investing activities are the acquisition and disposal of long-term assets and other investments not included in cash equivalents.’

Financing activities are activities that result in changes in the size and composition of the contributed equity and borrowings of the entity.’

1. Operating activities

It is often assumed that this category includes only those cash flows that arise from an entity’s principal revenue producing activities.

However, because cash flows arising from operating activities represents a residual category, which includes any cashStatement of cash flows flows that do not qualify to be recorded within either investing or financing activities, these can include cash flows that may initially not appear to be ‘operating’ in nature.

For example, the acquisition of land would typically be viewed as an investing activity, as land is a long-term asset. However, this classification is dependent on the nature of the entity’s operations and business practices. For example, an entity that acquires land regularly to develop residential housing to be sold would classify land acquisitions as an operating activity, as such cash flows relate to its principal revenue producing activities and therefore meet the definition of an operating cash flow.

2. Investing activities

An entity’s investing activities typically include the purchase and disposal of its intangible assets, property, plant and equipment, and interests in other entities that are not held for trading purposes. However, in an entity’s consolidated financial statements, cash flows from investing activities do not include those arising from changes in ownership interest of subsidiaries that do not result in a change in control, which are classified as arising from financing activities.

It should be noted that cash flows related to the sale of leased assets (when the entity is the lessor) may be classified as operating or investing activities depending on the specific facts and circumstances.

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Cash flows from discontinued operations IFRS 5 – 2 Detailed Examples

 Cash flows from discontinued operations – Detailed Examples

IAS 7 requires an entity to include all of its cash flows in the statement of cash flows, including those generated from both continuing and discontinued activities.

IFRS 5 Non-current Assets Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations requires an entity to disclose its net cash flows derived from operating, investing and financing activities in respect of discontinued operations. There are two ways in which this can be achieved:

===1) Presentation in the statement of cash flows

Net cash flows from each type of activity (operating, investing and financing) derived from discontinued operations are presented separately in the statement of cash flows.

===2) Presentation in a note

Cash flows from discontinued operations are included together with cash flows from continuing operations in each line Cash flows from discontinued operationsitem in the statement of cash flows. The net cash flows relating to each type of activity (operating, investing and financing) derived from discontinued operations are then disclosed separately in a note to the financial statements.

When a disposal group that meets the definition of a discontinued operation is classified as held for sale in the current period, and has not been realised/disposed of at the entity’s reporting date, the closing balance of cash and cash equivalents presented in the statement of cash flows will not reconcile to the cash and cash equivalents balances that are included in the statement of financial position at the reporting date.

This is because the cash and cash equivalents related to the disposal group are subsumed into the assets and liabilities of the disposal group and presented within the single line item in the statement of financial position.

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Fair value employee share options in IFRS 2

Fair value employee share options

Share options give the holder the right to buy the underlying shares at a set price, called the ‘exercise price’, over or at the end of an agreed period. If the share price exceeds the option’s exercise price when the option is exercised, then the holder of the option profits by the amount of the excess of the share price over the exercise price. Benefit is derived from the right under the option to buy a share for less than its value.

The holder’s cost is the exercise price, whereas the value is the share price. It is not necessary for the holder to sell the share for this profit to exist. Sale only results in realisation of the profit. Because an option holder’s profit increases as the underlying share price increases, share options are used to incentivise employees to contribute to an increase in the price of the underlying shares.

Employee options are typically call options, which give holders the right but not the obligation to buy shares. However, other types of options are also traded in markets. For example, put options give holders the right to sell the underlying shares at an agreed price for a set period.

Given that holders of put options profit when share prices fall below the exercise price, such options are not viewed as aligning the interests of employees and shareholders. All references in this section to ‘share options’ are to employee call options.

Share options granted by entities often cannot be valued with reference to market prices. Many entities, even those whose shares are quoted publicly, do not have options traded on their shares. Options that trade on recognised exchanges such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange are created by market participants and are not issued by entities directly.

Even when there are exchange-traded options on an entity’s shares for which prices are available, the terms and conditions of these options are generally different from the terms and conditions of options issued by entities in share-based payments and, as a result, the prices of such traded options cannot be used directly to value share options issued in a share-based payment.

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Option valuation models

Option valuation models

Option valuation models use mathematical techniques to identify a range of possible future share prices at the exercise date. From these possible future share prices, the pay-off of an option can be calculated. These intrinsic values at exercise are then probability-weighted and discounted to their present value to estimate the fair value of the option at the grant date.

This narrative is part of the IFRS 2 series, look here.

Model selection

There are three main models used to value options:

  • closed-form models: e.g. the BSM model;
  • lattice models; and
  • simulation models: e.g. Monte Carlo models.

These models generally result in very similar values if the same assumptions are used. However, certain models may be more restrictive than others – e.g. in terms of the different pay-offs that can be considered or assumptions that can be incorporated.

For example, a BSM model incorporates early exercise behaviour by using an expected term assumption that is shorter than the contractual life, whereas a lattice model or Monte Carlo model can incorporate more complex early exercise behaviour.

Simple model explanation

The approach followed in, for example, a lattice model illustrates the principles used in an option valuation model in a simplified manner.

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Employee share purchase plans

Employee share purchase plans

In an ESPP, the employees are usually entitled to buy shares at a discounted price. The terms and conditions can vary significantly and some ESPPs include option features. (IFRS 2.IG17)

In my view, the predominant feature of the share-based payment arrangement determines the accounting for the entire fair value of the grant. That is, depending on the predominant features, a share purchase plan is either a true ESPP or an option plan.

All of the terms and conditions of the arrangement should be considered when determining the type of equity instruments granted and judgement is required. The determination is important because the measurement and some aspects of the accounting for each are different (see below).

Options are characterised by the right, but not the obligation, to buy a share at a fixed price. An option has a value (i.e. the option premium), because the option holder has the benefit of any future gains and has none of the risks of loss beyond any option premium paid. The value of an option is determined in part by its duration and by the expected volatility of the share price during the term of the option.

In my view, the principal characteristic of an ESPP is the right to buy shares at a discount to current market prices. ESPPs that grant short-term fixed purchase prices do not have significant option characteristics because they do not allow the grant holder to benefit from volatility. I believe that ESPPs that provide a longer-term option to buy shares at a specified price are, in substance, option plans, and should be accounted for as such. (IFRS 2.B4-B41)

Examples of other option features that may be found in ESPPs are: (IFRS 2.IG17)

  • ESPPs with look-back features, whereby the employees are able to buy shares at a discount, and choose whether the discount is applied to the entity’s share price at the date of the grant or its share price at the date of purchase;
  • ESPPs in which the employees are allowed to decide after a significant period of time whether to participate in the plan; and
  • ESPPs in which employees are permitted to cancel their participation before or at the end of a specified period and obtain a refund of any amounts paid into the plan.

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Example Disclosure financial instruments

Example Disclosure financial instruments

The guidance for this example disclosure financial instruments is found here.

7 Financial assets and financial liabilities

This note provides information about the group’s financial instruments, including:

  • an overview of all financial instruments held by the group
  • specific information about each type of financial instrument
  • accounting policies
  • information about determining the fair value of the instruments, including judgements and estimation uncertainty involved.

The group holds the following financial instruments: [IFRS 7.8]

Amounts in CU’000




Financial assets

Financial assets at amortised cost

– Trade receivables




– Other financial assets at amortised cost




– Cash and cash equivalents




Financial assets at fair value through other comprehensive income (FVOCI)




Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss (FVPL)




Derivative financial instruments

– Used for hedging






Example Disclosure financial instruments

Financial liabilities

Liabilities at amortised cost

– Trade and other payables1




– Borrowings




– Lease liabilities




Derivative financial instruments

– Used for hedging




Held for trading at FVPL






The group’s exposure to various risks associated with the financial instruments is discussed in note 12. The maximum exposure to credit risk at the end of the reporting period is the carrying amount of each class of financial assets mentioned above. [IFRS 7.36(a), IFRS 7.31, IFRS 7.34(c)]

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Change in ownership in a subsidiary – IFRS 10 Best complete read

Change in ownership in a subsidiary

Accounting for a subsequent change in ownership in a subsidiary, i.e. a change in the parent’s ownership interest in a subsidiary may result from a purchase or sale of shares by the parent or from transactions between the subsidiary and non-controlling interests.

This narrative discusses the accounting for changes in ownership interests that:

Change in ownership in a subsidiary that do not result in loss of control

Non-controlling interests (NCI) in a subsidiary are presented as a separate component of equity in the consolidated statement of financial position. Consequently, changes in a parent’s ownership interest in a subsidiary that do not result in loss of control are accounted for as equity transactions.

Parent’s accounting treatment:

When the NCI in a subsidiary changes but the same parent retains control: (IFRS 10.23, IFRS 10.B96)

  • no gain or loss is recognised when the parent sells shares (so increasing NCI)
  • a parent’s purchase of additional shares in the subsidiary (so reducing NCI) does not result in additional goodwill or other adjustments to the initial accounting for the business combination
  • in both situations, the carrying amount of the parent’s equity and NCI’s share of equity is adjusted to reflect changes in their relative ownership interest in the subsidiary. Any difference between the amount of NCI adjustment and the fair value of the consideration received or paid is recognised in equity, attributed to the parent [IFRS 10.B96]
  • the parent should also take the following into consideration:
    • the allocated amounts of accumulated OCI (including cumulative exchange differences relating to foreign operations) are adjusted to reflect the changed ownership interests of the parent and the NCI. The re-attribution of accumulated OCI is similarly treated as an equity transaction (ie a transfer between the parent and the NCI)
    • for a partial disposal of a subsidiary with foreign operations, the parent must re-attribute the proportionate share of cumulative exchange differences recognised in OCI to NCI in that foreign operation [IAS 21.48C]
    • IFRS 10 has no specific guidance for costs directly related to changes in ownership interests. In our view, costs that are incremental should be deducted from equity (consistent with IAS 32’s rules on other types of transaction in the entity’s own equity).


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Convertible instruments in EPS calculations – 2 good to read

Convertible instruments in EPS calculations

Convertible instruments are instruments other than stand-alone options that by their terms may be converted in whole or in part into the ordinary shares of an entity, such as convertible bonds or convertible preference shares.

This narrative builds on the basic principles introduced in EPS or earnings per share, and sets out the specific basic and diluted EPS implications of the following types of instrument(s).

If these instruments fall in the scope of IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation, then they can contain a derivative recognised at fair value through profit or loss, a financial liability and/or equity components, depending on their terms. For example, a bond with an embedded option to convert it into ordinary shares of the issuer is a compound instrument, containing a financial liability and an equity component, if the conversion option is classified as equity. [IAS 32.26–32]

Although this is less common, a convertible instrument may fall in the scope of IFRS 2 Share-based Payment if it is issued in exchange for goods or services. In this case, the convertible instrument is generally regarded as a share-based payment with a choice of settlement. If the entity has the settlement choice, then the instrument is classified as either equity-settled or cash-settled, depending on whether the entity has a present obligation to settle in cash. If the holder has the settlement choice, then the instrument is classified as a compound instrument. [IFRS 2.34–43]

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