Pension accounting under IAS 19

IASC completed a major revision of its standard on pension costs in 1998, when it issued IAS 19 Employee Benefits. But although that was a major update to the Standard, the revision did not involve a thorough overhaul of every important aspect of the Standard. Scope limitations adopted by the IASC at the start of… Continue reading Pension accounting under IAS 19

Unexpected prediction

IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers discusses 2 methods of estimating the amount of variable consideration. Those estimates are used in calculating the transaction price for contracts with customers. Unfortunately, the discussion is not totally clear because the wording is a compromise between proponents of the 2 methods. I discuss below: Estimating variable consideration… Continue reading Unexpected prediction

Does future tense help keep goodwill alive?

When a verb refers to the future, some languages require explicit marking of that fact. A recent paper presents evidence that companies in countries using those languages are slow in reporting goodwill as impaired. The paper suggests that this is because speakers of those languages perceive the future as more distant than speakers of other… Continue reading Does future tense help keep goodwill alive?

Own credit risk

The topic of own credit risk generates perhaps more strongly held views than any other accounting topic. For example, in around 2011, the IASB was developing a discussion paper on insurance contracts. Some of us visited one of the largest insurers in the world. They knew almost nothing about the project. But they had heard… Continue reading Own credit risk

Assumptions are not just a throw-away

The term ‘assumption’ figures prominently in some accounting standards, but can give the wrong impression. Where accounting standards refer to ‘assumptions’ The term appears in contexts where a preparer needs to make an accounting estimate. IAS defines accounting estimates as ‘monetary amounts in financial statements that are subject to measurement uncertainty’. Some IFRS standards use… Continue reading Assumptions are not just a throw-away

IASC’s project on discounting

The International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) added to its work plan a project on discounting (or present value) in 1998. IASC was the predecessor of the International Accounting Standards Board (the IASB). When the IASB came into being in 2001 and took over from IASC, the IASB decided not to continue with the project. In… Continue reading IASC’s project on discounting

Saying how likely something is

IFRS standards use too many different terms to describe how likely it is that an event will occur. That is a clear conclusion of KASB Research Report No. 39 / AASB Research Report No. 2 Accounting Judgements on Terms of Likelihood in IFRS: Korea and Australia, issued in 2016 by the Korea Accounting Standards Board… Continue reading Saying how likely something is

Putting the wrong kinds of numbers in P&L won’t help save the planet

Many companies will need to spend a lot of money reshaping their businesses to help save the planet. Some environmental campaigners say that companies should book all that spending as liabilities today. They argue that booking that spending today would make investors focus on that information and that investors would then put pressure on companies… Continue reading Putting the wrong kinds of numbers in P&L won’t help save the planet

Discount rates for very long maturities

A common question about discount rates is how to estimate a discount rate for assets and liabilities with very long maturities. Such a discount rate contains a term premium that cannot be based on evidence and can never be back-tested. As a result, that term premium is not really an estimate, it is just a… Continue reading Discount rates for very long maturities

Measurements based on future cash flows

Paragraph 6.93 of the Conceptual Framework contains a brief high-level discussion of three different central estimates of a set of estimated future cash flows: the expected value (statistical mean) the maximum amount that is more likely than not to occur (similar to statistical median) the most likely outcome (statistical mode) Papers considered by the International… Continue reading Measurements based on future cash flows