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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IFRS vs US GAAP Employee benefits

IFRS vs US GAAP Employee benefits

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.

Standards Reference



715 Compensation – Retirement benefits

710-10 Compensation- General – Overall

712-10 Compensation – Nonretirement Postemployment Benefits – Overall

IAS 19 Employee Benefits

IFRIC 14 The limit on a defined benefit asset minimum funding requirements and their interaction


The guidance under US GAAP and IFRS as it relates to employee benefits contains some significant differences with potentially far-reaching implications.

This narrative deals with employee benefits provided under formal plans and agreements between an entity and its employees, under legislation or through industry arrangements, including those provided under informal practices that give rise to constructive obligations.

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Defined Benefit Pension Plans

In traditional defined benefit pension plans, workers accrue a promise of a regular monthly payment from the date of their retirement until their death, or, in some cases, until the death Defined Benefit Pension Plansof their spouse. The promised life annuity (deferred) is commonly based on a formula linked to an employee’s wages or salary and years of tenure at the sponsoring firm. Defined Benefit Pension Plans

In a typical DB plan the member earns a unit of pension, usually expressed as a percentage of nominal earnings, for each year of credited service/participation. The DB pension may be indexed to inflation but in a number of countries such as the U.S. and Canada, this is uncommon in private sector pensions. Defined Benefit Pension Read more

Take 1 stop for best read – Measurement uncertainty

Measurement uncertainty - Uncertainty that arises when the result of applying a measurement basis is imprecise and can be determined only with a range.

Notes to the financial statements

Notes to the financial statements that contain information in addition to the statement of financial position, of financial performance, of changes in equity

Post-employment benefits

Post-employment benefits are employee benefits (other than termination benefits and short-term employee benefits) that are payable after the completion of employment.

Key assumptions in a Pension plan

Key assumptions in a Pension plan – There are two types of pension assumptions that a sponsor makes with input from their actuaries:

  • Economic assumptions describe how market forces affect the amount of expected future benefits to be paid to plan recipients.
  • Demographic assumptions describe the impact of plan-participant behaviours on the timing and probabilities of benefits being paid to them.

In (consolidated) financial statements the following actuarial assumptions that the company/ sponsor used to estimate its portion of benefit obligation and pension expense under the pension plan.

The economic assumptions relate to:

  • discount rate;
  • expected rate of return on plan assets; Key assumptions in a Pension plan
  • salary escalation rate; and Key assumptions in a Pension plan
  • inflation
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Components of a company’s pension liability

Components of a company’s pension liability – A company’s defined-benefit pension plans have three basic components:

    • accrued-benefit obligations, or the future liabilities created by employees’ service;
    • plan assets, used to pay pension benefits; and
    • unamortized actuarial gains and losses.

Setting aside unamortized actuarial gains and losses, when plan assets are less than the accrued benefit obligation, a net pension liability is recorded on the statement of financial position. A net pension liability is the estimate of the amount needed to pay for pension benefits that have been earned by current and past employees, less the pool of assets set aside in a separate legal entity to eventually pay for the benefits.

A net pension asset arises when plan assets … Read more