Inter national Financial Repor ting Standards
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are standards and interpretations
adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).
Many of the standards forming part of IFRS are known by the older name of International
Accounting Standards (IAS).
IAS were issued between 1973 and 2001 by the board of the International Accounting
Standards Committee (IASC). In April 2001 the IASB adopted all IAS and continued their
development, calling the new standards IFRS.
Structure of IFRS
IFRSs are considered a "principles based" set of standards in that they establish broad rules
as well as dictating specific treatments.
International Financial Reporting Standards comprise:
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) - standards issued after 2001
International Accounting Standards (IAS) - standards issued before 2001
Interpretations originated from the International Financial Reporting Interpretations
Committee (IFRIC)- issued after 2001
Standing Interpretations Committee (SIC) - issued before 2001
There is also a Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial
Statements which describes some of the principles underlying IFRS.
The Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements states basic
principles for IFRS.
Objective of financial statements
The framework states that the objective of financial statements is to provide information
about the financial position, performance and changes in the financial position of an entity
that is useful to a wide range of users in making economic decisions,and to provide the
current financial status of the entity to its shareholders and public in general.
The underlying assumptions used in IFRS are:
Accrual basis - the effect of transactions and other events are recognised when they
occur, not as cash is received or paid
Going concern - the financial statements are prepared on the basis that an entity
will continue in operation for the foreseeable future
Qualitative characteristics of financial statements
The Framework describes the qualitative characteristics of financial statements as being
Elements of financial statements
The Framework sets out the statement of financial position (balance sheet) as comprising:-
Assets - resources controlled by the entity as a result of past events and from which
future economic benefits are expected to flow to the entity
Liabilities - a present obligation of the entity arising from past events, the
settlement of which is expected to result in an outflow from the entity of resources
embodying economic benefits
Equity - the residual interest in the assets of the entity after deducting all its
and the statement of comprehensive income (income statement) as comprising:
Income is increases in economic benefits during the accounting period in the form
of inflows or enhancements of assets or reductions in liabilities.
Expenses are decreases in such economic benefits.
Recognition of elements of financial statements
An item is recognised in the financial statements when:
it is probable that a future economic benefit will flow to or from an entity and
when the item has a cost or value that can be measured with reliability.
Measurement of the Elements of Financial Statements
Measurement is how the responsible accountant determines the monetary values at which
items are to be valued in the income statement and balance sheet. The basis of measurement
has to be selected by the responsible accountant.
Accountants employ different measurement bases to different degrees and in varying
combinations. They include, but are not limited to:
Realisable (settlement) value
Historical cost is the measurement basis chosen by most accountants.
Concepts of Capital and Capital Maintenance
Concepts of Capital
A financial concept of capital, e.g. invested money or invested purchasing power, means
capital is the net assets or equity of the entity.
A physical concept of capital means capital is the productive capacity of the entity.
Concepts of Capital Maintenance and the Determination of Profit
Financial capital maintenance could be measured in either nominal monetary units or
constant purchasing power units.
Physical capital is maintained when productive capacity at the end is greater than at the start
of the period.
The main difference between the two concepts is the way asset and liability price change
effects are treated.
Profit is the excess after the capital at the start of the period has been maintained.
With nominal monetary units, the profit would be the increase in nominal capital.
With units of constant purchasing power, the profit for the period would be the increase in
invested purchasing power. Only increases greater than the inflation rate would be taken as
profit. Increases up to the level of inflation maintain capital and would be taken to equity. 
Features of IFRS
References to IFRS standards are given in the standard convention, for example (IAS1.14)
refers to paragraph 14 of IAS1, Presentation of Financial Statements.
Content of financial statements
IFRS financial statements consist of (IAS1.8)
a balance sheet
either a statement of changes in equity(SOCE) or a statement of recognised income
or expense ("SORIE")
a cash flow statement
notes, including a summary of the significant accounting policies
Comparative information is provided for the previous reporting period (IAS 1.36). An entity
preparing IFRS accounts for the first time must apply IFRS in full for the current and
comparative period although there are transitional exemptions (IFRS1.7).
On 6 September 2007, the IASB issued a revised IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements.
The main changes from the previous version are to require that an entity must:
present all non-owner changes in equity (that is, 'comprehensive income' ) either in
one statement of comprehensive income or in two statements (a separate income
statement and a statement of comprehensive income). Components of comprehensive
income may not be presented in the statement of changes in equity.
present a statement of financial position (balance sheet) as at the beginning of the
earliest comparative period in a complete set of financial statements when the entity
applies an accounting policy retrospectively or makes a retrospective restatement.
disclose income tax relating to each component of other comprehensive income.
disclose reclassification adjustments relating to components of other comprehensive
IAS 1 changes the titles of financial statements as they will be used in IFRSs:
'balance sheet' will become 'statement of financial position'
'income statement' will become 'statement of comprehensive income'
'cash flow statement' will become 'statement of cash flows'.
The revised IAS 1 is effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2009. Early
adoption is permitted.
Consolidated financial statements
The ultimate parent company of a group must produce consolidated financial statements
including all of its subsidiaries (IAS27.9). A subsidiary is an entity which is controlled by
another entity; control is the power to govern the financial and operating policies (IAS27.4).
In preparing consolidated financial statements all balances, transactions, income and
expenses with other group members are eliminated.
Acquisition accounting and goodwill
All business combinations are accounted for by applying the purchase method, requiring that
one entity is identified as acquirer (IFRS3.17).
The acquiring entity assesses the fair value of the separate assets, liabilities and contingent
liabilities in the business it has acquired. This can include identification of intangible assets,
for example customer relationships, which are not commonly recognised except on
The difference between the cost of the business combination and the fair value of the assets
and liabilities acquired represents goodwill (IFRS3.51). Goodwill is not subject to
amortisation, but is assessed for impairment at least annually (IFRS3.54 and IAS36.10).
Impairment is charged to the income statement(IAS36.60). Impairment provisions on
goodwill are not subsequently reversed (IAS36.124).
Property, plant and equipment
Property, plant and equipment (PPE) is measured initially at cost (IAS16.15). Cost can
include borrowing costs directly attributable to the acquisition, construction or production if
the entity opts to adopt such a policy consistently (IAS23.11).
Property, plant and equipment may be revalued to fair value if the entire class of assets to
which it belongs is so treated (for example, the revaluation of all freehold properties)
(IAS16.31 and 36). Surpluses on revaluation are recognised directly to equity, not in the
income statement; deficits on revaluation are recognised as expenses in the income
statement (IAS16.39 and 40).
Depreciation is charged to write off the cost or valuation of the asset over its estimated
useful life down to the recoverable amount (IAS16.50). The cost of depreciation is
recognised as an expense in the income statement unless it is included in the carrying
amount of another asset(IAS16.48). Depreciation of PPE used for development activities
may be included in the cost of an intangible asset recognised in accordance with IAS38
Intangible Assets (IAS16.49). The depreciation method and recoverable amount is reviewed
at least annually (IAS16.61). In most cases the method is "straight line", with the same
depreciation charge from the date when an asset is brought into use until it is expected to be
sold or no further economic benefits obtained from it, but other patterns of depreciation
such as "reducing balance" are used if assets are used proportionately more in some periods
than others (IAS16.56).
Joint ventures, associates and other investments
Joint ventures are investments other than subsidiaries where the investor has a contractual
arrangement with one or more other parties to undertake an economic activity that is subject
to joint control (IAS31.3).
Joint ventures may be accounted for using either:
proportionate consolidation, accounting for the investor's share of the assets,
liabilities, income and expenses of the joint venture (IAS31.30).
equity method. The investment is stated initially at cost and adjusted thereafter for
the investor's share of post-acquisition changes in net assets. The income statement
includes the investor's share of profit or loss of the investment (IAS31.38).
Associates are investments, other than joint ventures and subsidiaries, in which the investor
has a significant influence (the power to participate in financial and operating policy
decisions) (IAS28.2). It is presumed that this will be the case if the investment is greater than
20% of the investee unless it can be clearly demonstrated not to be the case (IAS28. 6).
Associates are accounted for using the equity method.
Investments other than subsidiaries, joint ventures and associates are accounted for at their
fair values unless (IAS39.9 and 46):
they have fixed or determinable maturity periods and are expected to be held to
maturity, in which case they are stated at amortised cost (providing a constant rate of
return until maturity;
there is no reliable market value, in which case they are measured at cost.
Inventory is stated at the lower of cost and net realisable value (IAS2.9), which is similar in
principal to lower of cost or market (LOCOM) in US GAAP.
Cost comprises all costs of purchase, costs of conversion and other costs incurred in
bringing items to their present location and condition (IAS2.10). Where individual items are
not identifiable, the "first in first out" (FIFO) method is used, such that cost represents the
most recent items acquired. "Last in first out" (LIFO) is not acceptable (IAS2.25).
Net realisable value is the estimated selling price less the costs to complete and costs to sell
Receivables (debtors) and payables (creditors)
Receivables and payables are recorded initially at fair value (IAS39.43). Subsequent
measurement is stated at amortised cost (IAS39.46 and 47). In most cases, trade receivables
and trade payables can be stated at the amount expected to be received or paid; however, it
is necessary to discount a receivable or payable with a substantial credit period (see for
example IAS18.11 for accounting for revenue).
If a receivable has been impaired its carrying amount is written down to its recoverable
amount, being the higher of value in use and its fair value less costs to sell). Value in use is
the present value of cash flows expected to be derived from the receivable (IAS36.9 and 59).
Borrowing is stated at amortised cost using the effective interest rate method. This requires
that the costs of arranging the borrowing are deducted from the principal value of debt and
are amortised over the period of the debt (IAS39.46).
Provisions are liabilities of uncertain timing or amount (IAS37.10). Provisions are recognised
when an entity has, at the balance sheet date, a present obligation as a result of a past event,
when it is probable that there will be an outflow of resources (for example a future cash
payment) and when a reliable estimate can be made of the obligation (IAS37.14).
Restructuring provisions are recognised when an entity has a detailed plan for the
restructuring and has raised an expectation amongst those affected that it will carry out the
Revenue is measured at the fair value of consideration received or receivable (IAS18.9).
Revenue for the sale of goods cannot be recognised until the entity has transferred to the
buyer the significant risks and rewards of ownership of the goods (IAS18.14).
Revenue for rendering of services is accounted for to the extent that the stage of completion
of the transaction can be measured reliably (IAS18.20).
Employee costs are recognised when an employee has rendered service during an accounting
period (IAS19.10). This requires accruals for short-term compensated absences such as
vacation (holiday) pay (IAS19.11). Profit sharing and bonus plans require accrual when an
entity has an obligation to make such payments at the reporting date (IAS19.17).
Where an entity receives goods or services in return for the issue of its own shares or equity
instruments it accounts for the fair value of those goods or services as an expense or as an
asset (IFRS2.7). Where it offers options and other share based incentives to its employees it
is required to assess the market value of the instruments when they are first granted and then
to charge the cost over the period in which the benefit vests (IFRS2.10).
Taxes payable in respect of current and prior periods are recognised as a liability to the
extent they are unpaid at the balance sheet date (IAS 12.12).
Deferred tax liabilities are recognised for taxable temporary differences at the balance sheet
date which will result in tax payable in future periods (for example, where tax deductions
'capital allowances' have been claimed for capital items before the equivalent depreciation
expense has been charged to the income statement) (IAS 12.15). Deferred tax assets are
recognised for deductible temporary differences at the balance sheet date (for example, tax
losses which can be used in future periods) if it is probable that there will be future taxable
profits against which they can be offset (IAS 12.24, IAS 12.34).
There are exceptions to the recognition of deferred taxes in relation to goodwill (for deferred
tax liabilities), the initial recognition of assets and liabilities in some cases and in relation to
investments and interests in subsidiaries, branches, jointly controlled entities and associates
providing certain criteria are met (IAS 12.15, IAS 12.24, IAS 12.39, IAS 12.44).
Cash flow statements
IFRS cash flow statements show movements in cash and cash equivalents. This includes
cash on hand and demand deposits, short term liquid investments readily convertible to cash
and overdrawn bank balances where these readily fluctuate from positive to negative (IAS7.6
to 9). IFRS cashflow statements do not need to show movements in borrowings or net debt.
Cash flow statements may be presented using either a direct method, in which major classes
of cash receipts and cash payments are disclosed, or using the indirect method, whereby the
profit or loss is adjusted for the effect of non-cash adjustments (IAS7.18).
Items on the cash flow statement are classified as operating activities, investing activities and
Leasing (accounting by lessees)
Leases are classified:-
finance leases, being a lease which transfers substantially all the risks and rewards
incidental to ownerships to the lessee. Finance leases are recognised on the balance sheet
as an asset (the asset being leased) and as a liability (liability to the lessor) (IAS17.4, 20
operating leases, being a lease other than a finance lease. An expense is recognised in
the income statement over the time period that the asset is used (IAS17.4 and 33).
IASB is developing a discussion paper for November 2008 regarding convergence of
the accounting standards for lessees. No longer would there be categories of 'finance'
and 'operating' leases (IAS 17), instead the current finance lease model would be applied
to all leases. The new accounting standard would be finalized in 2011.
Fair value is the amount for which an asset could be exchanged, or a liability settled, between
knowledgeable, willing parties in an arm's length transaction (IFRS1 App A).
Amortised cost uses the effective interest method to provide a constant rate of return on an
asset or liability until maturity (IAS39.9).
IASB current projects
The IASB publishes a work plan setting out projects in progress. Much of its work is
directed at convergence with US GAAP.
Adoption of IFRS
IFRS are used in many parts of the world, including the European Union, Hong
Kong, Australia,Malaysia, Pakistan, India, GCC countries, Russia, South
Africa, Singapore and Turkey. As of August 27, 2008, more than 100 countries around
the world, including all of Europe, currently require or permit IFRS reporting.
Approximately 85 of those countries require IFRS reporting for all domestic, listed
For a current overview see IAS PLUS's list of all countries that have adopted IFRS.
The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) has issued 'Australian equivalents to
IFRS' (A-IFRS), numbering IFRS standards as AASB 1-8 and IAS standards as AASB 101 -
141. Australian equivalents to SIC and IFRIC Interpretations have also been issued, along
with a number of 'domestic' standards and interpretations. These pronouncements replaced
previous Australian generally accepted accounting principles with effect from annual
reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005 (i.e. 30 June 2006 was the first report
prepared under IFRS-equivalent standards for June year ends). To this end, Australia, along
with Europe and a few other countries, was one of the initial adopters of IFRS for domestic
The AASB has made certain amendments to the IASB pronouncements in making A-IFRS,
however these generally have the effect of eliminating an option under IFRS, introducing
additional disclosures or implementing requirements for not-for-profit entities, rather than
departing from IFRS for Australian entities. Accordingly, for-profit entities that prepare
financial statements in accordance with A-IFRS are able to make an unreserved statement of
compliance with IFRS.
The AASB continues to mirror changes made by the IASB as local pronouncements. In
addition, over recent years, the AASB has issued so-called 'Amending Standards' to reverse
some of the initial changes made to the IFRS text for local terminology differences, to
reinstate options and eliminate some Australian-specific disclosure. There are some calls for
Australia to simply adopt IFRS without 'Australianising' them and this has resulted in the
AASB itself looking at alternative ways of adopting IFRS in Australia.
The use of IFRS will be required in 2011 for Canadian publicly accountable profit-
oriented enterprises. This includes public companies and other “profit-orientated
enterprises that are responsible to large or diverse groups of shareholders.”
All listed EU companies have been required to use IFRS since 2005.
In order to be approved for use in the EU, standards must be endorsed by the Accounting
Regulatory Committee (ARC), which includes representatives of member state governments
and is advised by a group of accounting experts known as the European Financial Reporting
Advisory Group. As a result IFRS as applied in the EU may differ from that used elsewhere.
Parts of the standard IAS 39: Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement were not
originally approved by the ARC. IAS 39 was subsequently amended, removing the option to
record financial liabilities at fair value, and the ARC approved the amended version.
The IASB is working with the EU to find an acceptable way to remove a remaining anomaly
in respect of hedge accounting.
The government of Russia has been implementing a program to harmonize its national
accounting standards with IFRS since 1998. Since then twenty new accounting standards
were issued by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation aiming to align accounting
practices with IFRS. Despite these efforts essential differences between national accounting
standards and IFRS remain. Since 2004 all commercial banks have been obliged to prepare
financial statements in accordance with both national accounting standards and IFRS. Full
transition to IFRS is delayed and is expected to take place from 2011.
Turkish Accounting Standards Board translated IFRS into Turkish in 2006. Since 2006
Turkish companies listed in Istanbul Stock Exchange are required to prepare IFRS reports.
In Singapore the Accounting Standards Committee (ASC) is in charge of standard setting.
Singapore closely models its Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) according to the IFRS,
with appropriate changes made to suit the Singapore context. Before a standard is enacted,
consultations with the IASB are made to ensure consistency of core principles .
United States and convergence with US GAAP
In 2002 at a meeting in Norwalk, Connecticut, the IASB and the US Financial Accounting
Standards Board agreed to harmonize their agenda and work towards reducing differences
between IFRS and US GAAP (the Norwalk Agreement). In February 2006 FASB and IASB
issued a Memorandum of Understanding including a program of topics on which the two
bodies will seek to achieve convergence by 2008.
US companies registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission must
file financial statements prepared in accordance with US GAAP. Until 2007, foreign private
issuers were required to file financial statements prepared either (a) under US GAAP or (b)
in accordance with local accounting principles or IFRS with a footnote reconciling from
local principles or IFRS to US GAAP. This reconciliation imposed extra expense on
companies which are listed on exchanges both in the US and another country. From 2008,
foreign private issuers are additionally permitted to file financial statements in accordance
with IFRS as issued by the IASB without reconciliation to US GAAP. There is broad
expectation among U.S. companies that the SEC will move to allow or require them to use
IFRS in the near future and a growing acceptance of that scenario, according to Controllers'
Leadership Roundtable survey data.
In August 2008, the SEC announced a timetable that would allow some companies to report
under IFRS as soon as 2010 and require it of all companies by 2014.
List of IFRS statements
The following IFRS statements are currently issued:
IFRS 1 First time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards
IFRS 2 Share-based Payment
IFRS 3 Business Combinations
IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts
IFRS 5 Non-current Assets Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations
IFRS 6 Exploration for and Evaluation of Mineral Resources
IFRS 7 Financial Instruments: Disclosures
IFRS 8 Operating Segments
IAS 1: Presentation of Financial Statements.
IAS 2: Inventories
IAS 7: Cash Flow Statements
IAS 8: Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors
IAS 10: Events After the Balance Sheet Date
IAS 11: Construction Contracts
IAS 12: Income Taxes
IAS 14: Segment Reporting (superseded by IFRS 8 on January 1, 2008)
IAS 16: Property, Plant and Equipment
IAS 17: Leases
IAS 18: Revenue
IAS 19: Employee Benefits
IAS 20: Accounting for Government Grants and Disclosure of Government
IAS 21: The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates
IAS 23: Borrowing Costs
IAS 24: Related Party Disclosures
IAS 26: Accounting and Reporting by Retirement Benefit Plans
IAS 27: Consolidated Financial Statements
IAS 28: Investments in Associates
IAS 29: Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies
IAS 31: Interests in Joint Ventures
IAS 32: Financial Instruments: Presentation (Financial instruments disclosures are in
IFRS 7 Financial Instruments: Disclosures, and no longer in IAS 32)
IAS 33: Earnings Per Share
IAS 34: Interim Financial Reporting
IAS 36: Impairment of Assets
IAS 37: Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets
IAS 38: Intangible Assets
IAS 39: Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement
IAS 40: Investment Property
IAS 41: Agriculture
List of Interpretations
Preface to International Financial Reporting Interpretations (Updated to January
IFRIC 1 Changes in Existing Decommissioning, Restoration and Similar Liabilities
(Updated to January 2006)
IFRIC 7 Approach under IAS 29 Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary
Economies (Issued February 2006)
IFRIC 8 Scope of IFRS 2 (Issued February 2006)
IFRIC 9 Reassessment of Embedded Derivatives (Issued April 2006)
IFRIC 10 Interim Financial Reporting and Impairment (Issued November 2006)
IFRIC 11 IFRS 2-Group and Treasury Share Transactions (Issued November 2006)
IFRIC 12 Service Concession Arrangements (Issued November 2006)
SIC 7 Introduction of the Euro (Updated to January 2006)
SIC 10 Government Assistance-No Specific Relation to Operating Activities
(Updated to January 2006)
SIC 12 Consolidation-Special Purpose Entities (Updated to January 2006)
SIC 13 Jointly Controlled Entities-Non-Monetary Contributions by Venturers
(Updated to January 2006)
SIC 15 Operating Leases-Incentives (Updated to January 2006)
SIC 21 Income Taxes-Recovery of Revalued Non-Depreciable Assets (Updated to
SIC 25 Income Taxes-Changes in the Tax Status of an Entity or its Shareholders
(Updated to January 2006)
SIC 27 Evaluating the Substance of Transactions Involving the Legal Form of a
Lease (Updated to January 2006)
SIC 29 Disclosure-Service Concession Arrangements (Updated to January 2006)
SIC 31 Revenue-Barter Transactions Involving Advertising Services (Updated to
SIC 32 Intangible Assets-Web Site Costs (Updated to January 2006)