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

Fair value of liabilities and of equity

IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement contains requirements on how to estimate the fair value of liabilities (and of own equity instruments). Those requirements produce sensible and useful outcomes. The Standard presents those requirements as achieving an overall objective of estimating the price for a transaction. But that transaction is one that, typically, cannot occur. This… Continue reading Fair value of liabilities and of equity

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

‘Reserves’: things we don’t know how to account for?

The word ‘reserve’ has sometimes been used to describe two items on opposite sides of the balance sheet. The first item is oil or gas reserves, which are assets. The second item is insurance ‘reserves’, which are liabilities. Coincidentally, accounting standard setters have found both items hard to deal with. I think the label ‘reserve’… Continue reading ‘Reserves’: things we don’t know how to account for?

Liability or equity?

I have submitted a comment letter to the IASB on 2 aspects of its Exposure Draft Financial Instruments with Characteristics of Equity, available at IFRS – Exposure Draft and comment letters: Financial Instruments with Characteristics of Equity—Proposed amendments to IAS 32, IFRS 7 and IAS 1 The comment deadline is 26 March 2024. The text… Continue reading Liability or equity?

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

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?