In our June 2016 Communications Review article we previewed the new IFRS 15 accounting standard on revenue recognition. As we highlighted then, most accounting changes never come to the attention of the CEOs or operational management. But this one is different, because it effectively puts an end to mobile operators’ practice of using service plan charges to subsidise handsets costs. Today, with IFRS 15 set to come fully into force from the end of 2017, and operators testing out its impacts, they’re about to encounter its first effects on their financial figures. And coming hard on its heels is IFRS 16, set to come into effect from the end to 2018, introducing major changes to how operators account for leases. Together, these two new accounting standards will drive major changes in operators’ reported financial figures, and investment analysts will be combing through the changes and expecting clear explanations. To satisfy these demands, operators will needboth to understand the rules – and also to ensure their investor relations teams are full briefed to explain their impacts.
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