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 16 Lessor accounting

IFRS 16 Lessor accounting

Lessors continue to classify leases as finance or operating leases.

1. Lessor accounting model

The lessor follows a dual accounting approach for lease accounting. The accounting is based on whether significant risks and rewards incidental to ownership of an underlying asset are transferred to the lessee, in which case the lease is classified as a finance lease. This is similar to the previous lease accounting requirements that applied to lessors. The lessor accounting models are also essentially unchanged from IAS 17 Leases. [IFRS 16.B53, IFRS 16.BC289]

Are the lessee and lessor accounting models consistent?

No. A key consequence of the decision to retain the IAS 17 dual accounting model for lessors is a lack of consistency with the new lessee accounting model. This can be seen in the case Lease classification below:

  • the lessee applies the right-of-use model and recognises a right-of-use asset and a liability for its obligation to make lease payments; whereas
  • the lessor continues to recognise the underlying asset and does not recognise a financial asset for its right to receive lease payments.

There are also more detailed differences. For example, lessees and lessors use the same guidance for determining the lease term and assessing whether renewal and purchase options are reasonably certain to be exercised, and termination options not reasonably certain to be exercised. However, unlike lessees, lessors do not reassess their initial assessments of lease term and whether renewal and purchase options are reasonably certain to be exercised, and termination options not reasonably certain to be exercised (see changes in the lease term in the link).

Other differences are more subtle. For example, although the definition of lease payments is similar for lessors and lessees (see lease payments in the link), the difference is the amount of residual value guarantee included in the lease payments.

  • The lessor includes the full amount (regardless of the likelihood that payment will be due) of any residual value guarantees provided to the lessor by the lessee, a party related to the lessee or a third party unrelated to the lessor that is financially capable of discharging the obligations under the guarantee.
  • The lessee includes only any amounts expected to be payable to the lessor under a residual value guarantee.

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Consignment arrangements under IFRS 15

Consignment arrangements

An entity may deliver goods to another party but retain control of the goods – e.g. it may deliver a product to a dealer or distributor for sale to an end customer. These types of arrangements are called ‘consignment arrangements’, and do not allow the entity to recognize revenue on delivery of the products to the intermediary. [IFRS 15.B77]

IFRS 15 provides indicators that an arrangement is a consignment arrangement as follows. [IFRS 15.B78]

Consignment arrangements

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Repurchase agreements in IFRS 15

Repurchase agreements in IFRS 15

INTRO Repurchase agreements in IFRS 15 – An entity has executed a repurchase agreement if it sells an asset to a customer and promises, or has the option, to repurchase it. If the repurchase agreement meets the definition of a financial instrument, then it is outside the scope of IFRS 15. If not, then the repurchase agreement is in the scope of IFRS 15 and the accounting for it depends on its type – e.g. a forward, call option, or put option – and on the repurchase price.

A forward or a call option

If an entity has an obligation (a forward) or a right (a call option) to repurchase an asset, then a customer does not have control of the asset. This is because the customer is limited in its ability to direct the use of, and obtain the benefits from, the asset despite its physical possession. If the entity expects to repurchase the asset for less than its original sales price, then it accounts for the entire agreement as a lease. [IFRS 15.B66–B67]

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IAS 16 Generation assets for Power and Utilities

Generation assets for Power and Utilities

– 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.

First-time IFRS adopters can benefit from an exemption under IFRS 1 First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards. This exemption allows entities to use a value that is not depreciated cost in accordance with IAS 16, and IAS 23 Borrowing Costs as deemed cost on transition to IFRS. It is not necessary to apply the exemption to all assets or to a group of assets.

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IFRS 10 Special control approach

IFRS 10 Special control approach

– determines which entities are consolidated in a parent’s financial statements and therefore affects a group’s reported results, cash flows and financial position – and the activities that are ‘on’ and ‘off’ the group’s balance sheet. Under IFRS, this control assessment is accounted for in accordance with IFRS 10 ‘Consolidated financial statements’.

Some of the challenges of applying the IFRS 10 Special control approach include:

  • identifying the investee’s returns, which in turn involves identifying its assets and liabilities. This may appear straightforward but complications arise when the legal ownership of assets diverges from the accounting depiction (for example, in financial asset transfers that ‘fail’ de-recognition, and in finance leases). In general, the assessment of the investee’s assets and returns should be consistent with the accounting depiction in accordance with IFRS
  • it may not always be clear whether contracts and other arrangements between an investor and an investee
    • create rights or exposure to a variable return from the investee’s performance for the investor; or
    • transfer risk or variability from the investor to the investee IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • the relevant activities of an SPE may not be obvious, especially when its activities have been narrowly specified in its purpose and design IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • the rights to direct those activities might also be difficult to identify, because for example, they arise only in particular circumstances or from contracts that are outside the legal boundary of the SPE (but closely related to its activities).

IFRS 10 Special control approach sets out requirements for how to apply the control principle in less straight forward circumstances, which are detailed below:  IFRS 10 Special control approach

  • when voting rights or similar rights give an investor power, including situations where the investor holds less than a majority of voting rights and in circumstances involving potential voting rights
  • when an investee is designed so that voting rights are not the dominant factor in deciding who controls the investee, such as when any voting rights relate to administrative tasks only and the relevant activities are directed by means of contractual arrangements IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • involving agency relationships IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • when the investor has control only over specified assets of an investee
  • franchises. IFRS 10 Special control approach

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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

US GAAP1

IFRS2

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

Introduction

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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Best focus on IFRS 16 Leases

Focus on IFRS 16 Leases

 

Best focus on IFRS 16 LeasesBest focus on IFRS 16 Leases

Focus on IFRS 16 Leases 2

Focus on IFRS 16 Leases 3

(Source https://www.bdo.global/en-gb/services/audit-assurance/ifrs/ifrs-at-a-glance)

Focus on IFRS 16 Leases or in slightly more detail…..

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Best guide IFRS 16 Lessor modifications

Best guide IFRS 16 Lessor modifications

summarises the accounting for lessor modifications that depends on – and may change – the lease classification.

Unlike IAS 17 Leases, the new standard provides detailed guidance on the lessor accounting for lease modifications, with separate guidance for modifications to finance leases and operating leases.

However, additional complexities arise for modifications of a finance lease receivable not accounted for as a separate lease for which, under paragraph 80(b) of IFRS 16, the lessor applies the requirements of IFRS 9 Financial Instruments. A number of issues arise due to differences in the basic concepts between IFRS 16 and IFRS 9.

The following diagram summarises the accounting for lease modifications by a lessor.

Best guide IFRS 16 Lessor modifications

Separate lease Not a separate lease – Finance to operating Not a separate lease – Finance to finance Lessor modifications to operating expenses

* A lessee reassessment of whether it is reasonably certain to exercise an option to extend, or not to exercise a termination option, included in the original lease contract is not a lease modification

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1st and best IFRS Accounting for client money

IFRS Accounting for client money

If an entity holds money on behalf of clients (‘client money’):

  • should the client money be recognised as an asset in the entity’s financial statements?
  • where the client money is recognised as an asset, can it be offset against the corresponding liability to the client on the face of the statement of financial position?

DEFINITION: Client money

“Client money” is used to describe a variety of arrangements in which the reporting entity holds funds on behalf of clients. Client money arrangements are often regulated and more specific definitions of the term are contained in some regulatory pronouncements. The guidance in this alert is not specific to any particular regulatory regime.

Entities may hold money on behalf of clients under many different contractual arrangements, for example:

  • a bank may hold money on deposit in a customer’s bank account;
  • a fund manager or stockbroker may hold money on behalf of a customer as a trustee;
  • an insurance broker may hold premiums paid by policyholders before passing them onto an insurer;
  • a lawyer or accountant may hold money on behalf of a client, often in a separate client bank account where the interest earned is for the client’s benefit.

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