Government grants: is the answer really so easy?

When the IASB first took over from its predecessor (IASC), many Board members believed that the IASB should replace IAS 20 Government Grants and Disclosure of Government Assistance. They considered that developing a replacement would be easy. The general feeling seemed that: This post deals with the following: Overview of IAS 20 The following are… Continue reading Government grants: is the answer really so easy?

Does it matter that companies don’t consolidate pension funds?

Some people wonder why companies present pension liabilities net of the related plan assets. They suggest that instead companies should consolidate their pension plans. People making that suggestion think it would lead to companies presenting pension liabilities (gross) separately from the plan assets. This post explains why introducing a requirement to consolidate pension plans would… Continue reading Does it matter that companies don’t consolidate pension funds?

Accounting is not a language

It has become a cliché to say that accounting is the language of business. That metaphor is helpful because it emphasises that accounting conveys vital information about business. But the metaphor can be unhelpful because, although accounting is a system for conveying information, accounting lacks most features of real human languages, such as Arabic, Chinese,… Continue reading Accounting is not a language

Myths about Deferred tax

There are many myths about what deferred tax is. As a result, many companies do not understand what information about deferred tax can tell investors. Thus, companies typically present that information in a technical way that investors find difficult to understand. Consequently, most investors dismiss that information as an uninteresting technicality and they ignore it.… Continue reading Myths about Deferred tax

Language Barriers to commenting on IASB proposals

A recent paper looked at whether language barriers deter people from responding to IASB exposure drafts. It also discussed whether the IASB pays too little attention to comment letters from countries where the main language is very different from English. The paper “No Comment”: Language Barriers and the IASB’s Comment Letter Process, by Eduardo Flores,… Continue reading Language Barriers to commenting on IASB proposals

Is there such a thing as unrecognised income or expense?

The IASB’s Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting and IFRS Standards discuss both recognised assets and liabilities and unrecognised assets and liabilities. A question that sometimes comes up whether there exists a corresponding notion of unrecognised income and expenses. Unrecognised assets and unrecognised liabilities The Conceptual Framework acknowledges that not all assets and liabilities are not… Continue reading Is there such a thing as unrecognised income or expense?

Finding out what users need

To set good accounting standards, standard-setters need to understand deeply how users of financial statements use and process financial information. One very useful report on this topic area was an academic literature review The use of information by capital providers produced in 2013, by a team of 6 academics: Stefano Cascino, Mark Clatworthy, Beatriz García… Continue reading Finding out what users need


When the IASB developed the 2018 version of its Conceptual Framework for Financial Statements (2018), it created a set of principles that it believed would provide a more coherent base for its future decisions on recognition. The post summarises how those principles differ from the recognition criteria contained in the previous (2010) version of the… Continue reading Recognition

What does diluted EPS measure?

IAS 33 Earnings per Share requires listed companies to disclose not only basic earnings per share (EPS) but also diluted EPS. It seems that there is not widespread: This post explores the objective of the approach, the reason why the IASB’s predecessor (IASC: International Accounting Standards Committee) selected it and implications for any possible changes… Continue reading What does diluted EPS measure?

3 myths about financial accounting

In describing how finance and accounting differ from each other as disciplines, someone recently made the following 3 statements about accounting: I agree that accounting and financing are different (though related) activities. But I disagree with all 3 of these statements about accounting, particularly as they relate to financial accounting. I suspect these statements are… Continue reading 3 myths about financial accounting