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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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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Definition of provision – IAS 37 Complete easy read

Definition of provision

The definition of provision is key to IAS 37. A provision is a liability of uncertain timing or amount, meaning that there is some question over either how much will be paid or when this will be paid. In the past, these uncertainties may have been exploited by companies trying to ‘smooth profits’ in order to achieve the results they believe that their various stakeholder may want.

As part of the attempt of IASB to further restrict this type of earnings management within IFRSs, IASB adopted an update of IAS 37 in April 2001 originating from September 1998. IAS 37 was further updated for Onerous contracts – Costs of fulfilling a contract in May 2020.

IAS 37: ‘Onerous Contracts – Cost of Fulfilling a Contract’

lAS 37 defines an onerous contract as one in which the unavoidable costs of meeting the entity’s obligations exceed the economic benefits to be received under that contract. Unavoidable costs are the lower of the net cost of exiting the contract and the costs to fulfil the contract. The amendment clarifies the meaning of ‘costs to fulfil a contract’.

The amendment explains that the direct cost of fulfilling a contract comprises:

  • the incremental costs of fulfilling that contract (for example, direct labour and materials); and
  • an allocation of other costs that relate directly to fulfilling contracts (for example, an allocation ofthe depreciation charge for an item of PP&E used to fulfil the contract).

The amendment also clarifies that, before a separate provision for an onerous contract is established, an entity recognises any impairment loss that has occurred on assets used in fulfilling the contract, rather than on assets dedicated to that contract.

The amendment could result in the recognition of more onerous contract provisions, because previously some entities only included incremental costs in the costs to fulfil a contract.

The key definition of provision

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Accounting policies for financial instruments

Accounting policies for financial instruments – a quite complete overview of all kinds of accounting issues for financial instruments such as measurement categories, initial recognition, amortised costs and effective interest rate, financial assets, impairment, derecognition, financial liabilities, derecognition, and derivatives. Enjoy it!

Summary of significant financial instruments accounting policies

1 Financial assets and liabilities

1.1 Summary of measurement categories

The insurer classifies its financial assets into the following categories:

Business model and cash flow characteristics

Type of financial instruments


Hold to collect business model and solely payments of principal and interest

Cash and cash equivalents

Amortised cost (AC)

Hold to collect and sell business model and solely payments of principal and interest

Government bonds

Fair value through other

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Measurement of remaining coverage

Measurement of remaining coverage – An entity measures the liability for remaining coverage on initial recognition of a group of insurance contracts eligible for the premium allocation approach (PAA) that are not onerous, as follows (IFRS 17 55]:

  • The premium, if any, received at initial recognition
    Minus Measurement of remaining coverage
  • Any insurance acquisition cash flows at that date, unless the entity is eligible and chooses to recognise the payments as an expense (coverage period of a year or less)
    Plus or minus Measurement of remaining coverage
  • Any amount arising from the derecognition at that date, the asset or liability recognised for insurance acquisition cash flows that the entity pays or receives before the group of insurance contracts
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Restructuring – What are the IFRS requirements?

A restructuring can comprise numerous activities, including termination or relocation of a business, a change in management structure and lay-offs. At a high level, the associated costs are recognized when (1) the program is of such scale that it meets the IFRS definition of a restructuring, and (2) management has an obligation to proceed with the restructuring. In addition, the nature of the costs matters – certain costs cannot be recognized before being incurred, and employment termination costs may need to be recognized earlier than other restructuring costs.

Psychological risk

Restructuring costs are in the scope of IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets with the exception of employee termination benefits, which are accounted for under IAS 19 Employee benefits.

Restructuring vs. exit activities

IAS 37 defines a restructuring as a program that materially changes the scope of a business or the manner in which it is conducted. US GAAP uses the term ‘exit activities’, which may be broader than a ‘restructuring’ under IFRS. Understanding the scale of the restructuring is therefore important because not all programs may qualify for cost recognition under IFRS.

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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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Contract Modifications under IFRS 15

Contract Modifications under IFRS 15

INTRO – Contract Modifications under IFRS 15 – A ‘contract modification’ occurs when the parties to a contract approve a change in its scope, price, or both. The accounting for a contract modification depends on whether distinct goods or services are added to the arrangement, and on the related pricing in the modified arrangement. This page discusses both identifying and accounting for a contract modification, including comprehensive examples.

1 Identifying a contract modification

A contract modification is a change in the scope or price of a contract, or both. This may be described as a change order, a variation, or an amendment. When a contract modification is approved, it creates or changes the enforceable rights and obligations of the parties to the contract. Consistent with the determination of whether a contract exists in Step 1 of the model, this approval may be written, oral, or implied by customary business practices, and should be legally enforceable. [IFRS 15.18]

If the parties have not approved a contract modification, then an entity continues to apply the requirements of IFRS 15 to the existing contract until approval is obtained.

If the parties have approved a change in scope, but have not yet determined the corresponding change in price – i.e. an unpriced change order – then the entity estimates the change to the transaction price by applying the guidance on estimating variable consideration and constraining the transaction price (see variable consideration and the constraint) in Step 3 of IFRS 15. [IFRS 15.19]

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Disclosure financial assets and liabilities

Disclosure financial assets and liabilities

– 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 entityDisclosure financial assets and liabilitiesand 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:

  1. prepayments made (right to receive future good or service, not cash or a financial asset)
  2. tax receivables and payables and similar items (statutory rights or obligations, not contractual), or
  3. 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.

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