IASB: Agenda consultation gives priorities for the board

19 Aug 2013

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has concluded its far-reaching public consultation on its future agenda by releasing a feedback statement that maps out its future priorities and how it will address the key themes that emerged.

The feedback statement was issued in December 2012 and marks the first of three-yearly public consultations on the IASB’s future technical agenda. There is clear public interest in this – more than 240 comment letters were received from a broad range of respondents. The IASB also consulted widely with investors and business communities and held public discussions around the world.

Messages for the board

Five broad themes emerged from the responses to the public consultation:

  • A decade of almost continuous changes in financial reporting should be followed by a period of relative calm, allowing time to adjust to the new standards issued or to be issued.
  • Almost unanimous support for the IASB to prioritise work on the conceptual framework, which would provide a consistent and practical basis for standard setting. (see opinion article on page 15)
  • Additional guidance is needed to help first-time adopters with the application of IFRS.
  • Shift the focus away from large projects to the implementation and maintenance of current guidance from the IASB.
  • Enhance the standard-setting process, with a greater emphasis on cost-benefit analysis and earlier recognition of problem areas.

A new chapter

The IASB has responded to the messages by starting the process of improvements. This includes using the Accounting Standards Advisory Forum to promote a more collaborative way of working with the world’s accounting standard setters (see page 38).

The IASB’s technical work programme will in future focus on three areas:

  • Implementation and maintenance: The Interpretations Committee (IC) has been given a wider remit and there will be more transparency around its decisions.
  • Conceptual framework: The project was restarted in May 2012 with an ambitious goal to publish a discussion paper by June 2013.
  • IFRS projects: Nine research projects will be explored over the next three years, with a focus on defining the problem (ie, research papers or discussion papers) before moving towards a solution.