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

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?

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

Saying how likely something is: research methodology

In a separate post today, I summarised research by the Korea Accounting Standards Board (KASB) and Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB). That research looked into how preparers of financial statements and auditors interpret various terms used in IFRS Standards to denote how likely an event is. https://accountingmiscellany.com/saying-how-likely-something-is In this post, I comment on 2 aspects… Continue reading Saying how likely something is: research methodology

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

Emission trading schemes: a fresh look

The most difficult question in accounting for emission trading schemes is deciding what to do with emission trading certificates received free of charge. Does the recipient have a liability on day 1? If not, should it recognise an immediate gain? Previous answers to this question have been unconvincing because they did not reflect the nature… Continue reading Emission trading schemes: a fresh look

The close link between rights and obligations

The Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting defines an asset in a way that refers to a right.1 It defines a liability in a way that refers to an obligation. The two definitions are interlinked more deeply than a superficial reading may suggest. Because one definition relies on the concept of a right, it is no… Continue reading The close link between rights and obligations