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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Accounting for mergers – Best 2 Read

Accounting for mergers

Mergers and acquisitions (business combinations) can have a fundamental impact on the acquirer’s operations, resources and strategies. For most entities such transactions are infrequent, and each is unique. IFRS 3 ‘Business Combinations’ contains the requirements for accounting for mergers, which are challenging in practice.

This narrative provides a high-level overview of IFRS 3 and explains the key steps in accounting for business combinations in accordance with this Standard. It also highlights some practical application issues dealing with:

  • how to avoid unintended accounting consequences when bringing two businesses together, and
  • deal terms and what effect they can have on accounting for business combinations.

The acquisition method in accounting for mergers

IFRS 3 establishes the accounting and reporting requirements (known as ‘the acquisition method’) for the acquirer in a business combination. The key steps in applying the acquisition method are summarised below:

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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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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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Determination of grant date in IFRS 2

Determination of grant date

The determination of grant date is important because this is the date on which the fair value of equity instruments granted is measured. Usually, grant date is also the date on which recognition of the employee cost begins. However, this is not always the case (Service commencement date and grant date in Determination of the vesting period).

Grant date’ is the date at which the entity and the employee agree to a share-based payment arrangement, and requires that the entity and the employee have a shared understanding of the terms and conditions of the arrangement. (IFRS 2.A)

In order for the employer and the employee to ‘agree’ to a share-based payment transaction, there needs to be both an offer and an acceptance of that offer. (IFRS 2.IG2)

Approval and communication by the employer

If the agreement is subject to an approval process, then the grant date cannot be before the date on which that approval is obtained. If a grant is made subject to approval – e.g. by a board of directors – then the grant date is normally when that approval is obtained.

The arrangement also needs to be communicated to the employees to achieve grant date.

In a broad-based unilateral grant of a share-based payment, there is often a period of time between board approval and communication of the terms of the award to individual employees. In some entities, the terms and conditions of the awards are communicated to each employee by their direct supervisor. Because of the varying schedules of employees and employers, it is possible that different employees may be informed of their awards on different dates.

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Determination of the vesting period in IFRS 2

Determination of the vesting period

Service commencement date and grant date – The ‘vesting period’ is the period during which all of the specified vesting conditions are to be satisfied in order for the employees to be entitled unconditionally to the equity instrument. Normally, this is the period between grant date and the vesting date. (IFRS 2.A)

However, services are recognised when they are received and grant date may occur after the employees have begun rendering services. Grant date is a measurement date only. If grant date occurs after the service commencement date, then the entity estimates the grant-date fair value of the equity instruments for the purpose of recognising the services from the service commencement date until grant date.

A possible method of estimating the fair value of the equity instruments is by assuming that grant date is at the reporting date. Once grant date has been established, the entity revises the earlier estimates so that the amounts recognised for services received are based on the grant-date fair value of the equity instruments. In our view, this revision should be treated as a change in estimate. (IFRS 2.IG4, IGEx1A, IGEx2)

Case – Service commencement date before grant date

Determination of the vesting period

On 1 January Year 1, Company B sets up an arrangement in which the employees receive share options, subject to a four-year service condition. The total number of equity instruments granted will be determined objectively based on B’s profit in Year 1. The total number of options will be allocated to employees who started service on or before 1 January Year 1.

Significant subjective factors are involved in determining the number of instruments allocated to each individual employee and B concludes that grant date should be postponed until the outcome of the subjective evaluations is known in April Year 2 – i.e. subsequent to the approval of the financial statements for the reporting period ending 31 December Year 1.

Because the subjective factors are determined only in April Year 2, grant date cannot be before this date. However, in this case there is a clearly defined performance period, commencing on 1 January Year 1, which indicates that the employees have begun rendering their services before grant date. Accordingly, B recognises the cost of the services received from the date on which service commences – i.e. 1 January Year 1.

The estimate used in the Year 1 financial statements is based on an estimate of the fair value, assuming that grant date is 31 December Year 1. This estimate will be revised in April Year 2 when the fair value at grant date is determined.

Assume that B estimates on 31 December Year 1 that the grant-date fair value of an equity instrument granted will be 10 and the actual fair value on grant date of April Year 2 is 9. Based on preliminary profit figures, B further estimates at 31 December Year 1 that the total number of equity instruments granted will be 100, which is confirmed by the final profit figure. If all instruments are expected to and actually do vest, then the accounting is as follows.

Determination of the vesting period

Notes

1. 100 x 10.
2. 100 x 9.
3. 1,000 x 1/4.
4. 900 x 2/4.
5. 900 x 3/4.
6. 900 x 4/4.

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Employee cash-settled share-based payments in IFRS 2

Employee cash-settled share-based payments

In short – For employee cash-settled share-based payments, an entity recognises a cost and a corresponding liability. The liability is remeasured, until settlement date, for subsequent changes in fair value.

Overview

  • Employee services received in a cash-settled share-based payment are measured indirectly at the fair value of the liability at grant date.
  • Market and non-vesting conditions are taken into account in determining the fair value of the liability.
  • Service and non-market performance conditions are taken into account in estimating the number of awards that are expected to vest, with a true-up to the number ultimately satisfied.Example Disclosure financial instruments
  • The grant-date fair value of the liability is recognised over the vesting period.
  • The grant-date fair value of the liability is capitalised if the services received qualify for asset recognition.
  • The liability is remeasured at each reporting date and at settlement date so that the ultimate liability equals the cash payment on settlement date.
  • Remeasurements during the vesting period are recognised immediately to the extent that they relate to past services, and recognised over the remaining vesting period to the extent that they relate to future services. Remeasurements after the vesting period are recognised immediately.
  • Remeasurements of the liability are recognised in profit or loss.

Basic principles of accounting for cash-settled share-based payment transactions with employees

Initial measurement

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Equity – 2 understand it all at best

Equity

There are, at least, two ways to discuss equity:

  • Equity is the residual interest in the assets of the entity after deducting all its liabilities, or
  • An equity instrument is any contract that evidences a residual interest in the assets of an entity after deducting all of its liabilities.

But also:

1. Equity the residual interest in the assets of the entity after deducting all its liabilities

1. Statement of Financial Position

Assets

Equity and liabilities

1. Non-current assets

2. Current assets

Help

Help

A – TOTAL ASSETS [1 + 2] = B

3. Non-current liabilities (including Provisions)

4. Current liabilities (including Provisions)

5. Equity [1 + 2 -/- 3 -/- 4]

Help

B – TOTAL EQUITY AND LIABILITIES [3 + 4 + 5] = A

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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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EPS Calculation – IAS 33 Best complete read

EPS Calculation

Here is full example of an EPS Calculation. This narrative builds on the basic principles introduced in the narrative EPS, and sets out the specific basic and diluted EPS calculation rules as per IAS 33 Earnings per share.

Case

Company P earns a consolidated net profit of 4,600,000 during the year ended 31 December Year 1 and 5,600,000 during the year ended 31 December Year 2. The total number of ordinary shares outstanding on 1 January Year 1 is 3,000,000.

Various POSs are issued before 1 January Year 1 and during the years ended 31 December Year 1 and Year 2. During this period, the outstanding number of ordinary shares also changes.

The statement of changes in equity below summarises only the actual movements in the outstanding number of ordinary shares, followed by detailed information about such movements and POSs outstanding during the periods.

EPS Calculation

Details of the instruments and ordinary share transactions during Year 1 and Year 2

1. Convertible preference shares

At 1 January Year 1, P has 500,000 outstanding convertible preference shares. Dividends on these shares are discretionary and non-cumulative. Each preference share is convertible into two ordinary shares at the holder’s option.

The preference shares are classified as equity in P’s financial statements.

On 15 October Year 1, a dividend of 1.20 per preference share is declared. The dividend is paid in cash on 15 December Year 1. Preference dividends are not tax-deductible.

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