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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Employee benefits accounting policies

Employee benefits accounting policies

This is a separated part of the example accounting policies, it is separated because of the size of this note and the specific nature of employee benefits.

Example accounting policies – Introduction

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. Here is a section providing guidance on what the requirements are, below a comprehensive example is provided, easy to tailor to the specific needs of your company.

Employee benefits Guidance

Presentation and measurement of annual leave obligations

RePort Plc has presented its obligation for accrued annual leave within current employee benefit obligations. However, it may be equally appropriate to present these amounts either as provisions (if the timing and/or amount of the future payments is uncertain, such that they satisfy the definition of ‘provision’ in IAS 37) or as other payables.

For measurement purposes, we have assumed that RePort Plc has both annual leave obligations that are classified as Employee benefits accounting policiesshort-term benefits and those that are classified as other long-term benefits under the principles in IAS 19. The appropriate treatment will depend on the individual facts and circumstances and the employment regulations in the respective countries.(IAS19(8),(BC16)-(BC21))

To be classified and measured as short-term benefits, the obligations must be expected to be settled wholly within 12 months after the end of the annual reporting period in which the employee has rendered the related services. The IASB has clarified that this must be assessed for the annual leave obligation as a whole and not on an employee-by-employee basis.

Share-based payments – expense recognition and grant date

Share-based payment expenses should be recognised over the period during which the employees provide the relevant services. This period may commence prior to the grant date. In this situation, the entity estimates the grant date fair value of the equity instruments for the purposes of recognising the services received during the period between service commencement date and grant date.(IFRS2(IG4))

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Disclosure equity

Disclosure equity

Get the requirements for properly disclosing equity as the owners’ balance of assets less liabilities 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.

Disclosure equity guidance

Share premium

IAS 1 requires disclosure of the par RePort of shares (if any), but does not prescribe a particular form of presentation for the share premium. RePorting Co. is disclosing the share premium in the notes. However, local company laws may have specific rules. For example, they may require separate presentation in the balance sheet. [IAS 1.79(a)]

Treasury shares

IAS 32 states that treasury shares must be deducted from equity and that no gain or loss shall be recognised on the Disclosure equitypurchase, sale, issue or cancellation of such shares. However, the standard does not specify where in equity the treasury shares should be presented. RePorting Co. has elected to present the shares in ‘other equity’, but they may also be disclosed as a separate line item in the balance sheet, deducted from retained earnings or presented in a specific reserve. Depending on local company law, the company may have the right to resell the treasury shares. [IAS 32.33]

Other reserves

An entity shall present, either in the statement of changes in equity or in the notes, for each accumulated balance of each class of other comprehensive income a reconciliation between the carrying amount at the beginning and the end of the period, separately disclosing each item of other comprehensive income and transactions with owners. See also commentary paragraphs 2 and 3 to the statement of changes in equity. [IAS 1.106(d)]

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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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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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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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Written put options and forwards for EPS calculations

Written put options and forwards

Written puts and forwards, as discussed in this narrative, are those that may require an entity to purchase its ordinary shares. Typically, these instruments are in the scope of IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation.

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).

Under IAS 32, a written put or forward that contains an obligation for an entity to purchase its own ordinary shares in cash or other financial assets generally gives rise to a financial liability for the present value of the redemption amount. Subsequent to initial recognition, the liability is measured in accordance with IFRS 9 Financial instruments. [IAS 32.23]

This narrative covers written put options over an entity’s own shares. For additional considerations about written put options over NCI in the consolidated financial statements of the parent entity, see Written puts over NCI.

EPS implications

Generally, in general shares that are subject to written puts or forwards are not regarded as outstanding in basic EPS but do impact diluted EPS. Understanding the accounting for these instruments is also relevant, because it determines whether their assumed conversion would have a consequential effect on profit or loss.

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IAS 33 EPS Impact of share-based payments

EPS Impact of share-based payments

Because share-based payments are common and they impact EPS, it is important to understand how IFRS 2 interacts with IAS 33. Accordingly, this narrative starts with an alternative IFRS 2 perspective and discusses the EPS implications of each type of arrangement under IFRS 2.

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).

For details on the specific EPS implications of particular types of instrument, this chapter may need to be read in conjunction with the chapter on those specific instruments. For example, for a number of the instruments described in other chapters, the treasury share method is used in calculating diluted EPS. The general principles underlying the treasury share method are explained in detail in here, and the additional implications of applying the treasury share method to share-based payment instruments are further explained in 1.3 below.

Simply put, share-based payments are generally transactions in which an entity acquires goods or services (including employee services) in exchange for its (or another group entity’s) equity instruments or a liability that is based on the price or value of its (or another group entity’s) equity instruments. There are three main factors to be considered in assessing how a share-based payment will affect EPS.

IFRS 2 Conditions

Analysis

Settlement alternatives that drive the classification as equity- or cash-settled share-based payments under IFRS 2

They determine whether and how EPS is affected – e.g. if a share-based payment is a POS.

See 1 below

Vesting conditions

They impact how a share-based payment is dealt with in EPS – e.g. as an option or as a contingently issuable share.

See 2 below

Form of the instrument

It determines which other considerations might be necessary to understand the EPS implications – e.g. dividend entitlements for non-vested shares or exercise prices for options.

See 2 below

1. IFRS 2 Settlement alternatives

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Contingently issuable POSs

Contingently issuable POSs

Contingently issuable POSs are not specifically defined in IAS 33, but they are closely related to contingently issuable ordinary shares (see Other contingencies in EPS and Contingently issued ordinary shares). These are POSs that are issuable for little or no cash or other consideration on the satisfaction of specified conditions. An example is a contingently issuable convertible instrument. [IAS 33.57]

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).

EPS implications

Generally, by their nature contingently issuable POSs do not impact basic EPS. However, these instruments generally do impact diluted EPS and, similar to contingently issuable ordinary shares, their impact depends on the extent to which the specified conditions are met at the reporting date.

Potential impact on basic EPS

Potential impact on diluted EPS

The numerator is not affected, the denominator might or might not be affected.

The numerator might or might not be affected, the denominator is affected.

By their nature, contingently issuable POSs are generally ignored in basic EPS. This is because, on satisfying the specified conditions, POSs – as opposed to ordinary shares – will be issued, and these would not generally result in outstanding ordinary shares until they are exercised or otherwise converted. However, if any options that are contingently issuable can be exercised immediately for little or no further consideration, then the resulting options are included in the denominator from the vesting date (see EPS Implications).

IAS 33 prescribes a two-step approach for determining whether a contingently issuable POS is included in diluted EPS. [IAS 33.57]

Step i. Should the contingently issuable POS be assumed to be issuable?

This is the same assessment as that for contingently issuable ordinary shares (see EPS Implications and How to apply the test for different conditions in a contingent share agreement) – i.e. if the reporting date were the end of the contingency period, then would the POS be issuable? If the instrument passes the test in Step (i), then Step (ii) is applied.

Step ii. What is the impact on diluted EPS?

This is different from the requirements for contingently issuable ordinary shares. As opposed to including in the denominator the number of ordinary shares that would be issuable, the impact is determined based on the relevant guidance in IAS 33 for the type of POS in question – that is:

Dilutive or anti-dilutive?

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