International Accounting Standards Board Essay

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The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is an independent, privately funded accounting standards agency with headquarters in London. The board members  represent  nine countries  and come from a variety of backgrounds as well as bring diverse credentials and experiences to the board. There are 14 board members, and each has one vote. The board members are appointed  by trustees.  The board  is responsible for developing international financial reporting  standards, and it follows an open form of due process in order to get this task accomplished. The IASB’s goal is to develop a set of high-quality global accounting guidelines for financial statements  that will be understandable and enforceable. The IASB also collaborates with national accounting standards agencies to make sure that everyone is in agreement around the world.

A handbook describes how the International Accounting  Standards  Board operates  and proceeds with due process. The framework of the due process system is provided in the Constitution of the International  Accounting  Standards  Committee   (IASC) and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The handbook reflects the public consultation conducted  by the IASB in 2004 and 2005. The Trustees’ Procedures  Committee  (part  of the  IASC) has been charged with regularly reviewing and amending the due process procedure. This committee is responsible for  amending  the  procedures  of due  process based on feedback from the IASB and its membership. In addition,  the  committee  has been  charged with reviewing proposed procedures on new projects and the composition  of working groups. This handbook was approved on March 23, 2006.

The procedures  in the handbook  address the following requirements:

  • Transparency and  accessibility:  The  IASB is responsible for adding topics to its agenda after it has surveyed the membership  and conducted research  on the  topic. Proposed  agenda  items are discussed at IASB meetings, which are open to the public. IASB meetings are also broadcast and archived on the IASB’s Web site.
  • Extensive consultation and responsiveness: The IASB solicits feedback from various constituencies in order to collect information  from a wide range of groups. In addition, the IASB arranges public hearings and field visits as well as sets up focus groups  to promote  discussion. After the IASB has listened to all of these groups, it adopts suggestions.
  • Accountability: The IASB explains its reasons if it decides to omit any nonmandatory steps of the consultative process as described in the constitution. The trustees are responsible for reviewing and  ensuring  compliance  with  the  IASB’s procedures and mandate, considering the ISAB’s agenda, and conducting  annual  reviews of the IASB’s performance.

According to the Due Process Handbook, there are six stages to the process, and the trustees are responsible for ensuring that there is compliance at different points through the process. The stages are as follows:

  1. Setting the Agenda—The IASB has to consider the following items when deciding whether or not a proposed agenda item addresses the users’ needs. When considering  future  agenda items, the  IASB staff  is  responsible  for  identifying, reviewing, and evaluating topics that may warrant the IASB’s attention.  In addition, there may be new proposals that have arisen as a result of a change in the IASB’s conceptual  framework. Agenda items are also generated  via comments from other  interested  parties.  There are times when the IASB receives requests from constituents to interpret, review, or amend existing publications. The staff is charged with compiling a list of these  requests,  summarizing  major  and common  issues raised, and presenting  them  to the IASB.
  2. Project Planning—When adding an item to its agenda, the IASB has to determine if it is feasible  to  conduct   the  project  alone  or  jointly with another standard-setter. If it is a joint project, similar due process is followed under both approaches. After considering the nature  of the issues and the level of interest  among constituents, the IASB may establish a working group at this stage.
  3. Development and Publication  of a Discussion Paper—The IASB normally publishes a discussion paper as its first publication  on any major new topic as a vehicle to explain the issue and solicit comments  from constituents. If the IASB decides to omit  this step, it states  its reasons. In  most  cases, a discussion  paper  includes  a comprehensive  overview of the  issue, possible approaches  in addressing the issue, the preliminary views of its authors  or the IASB, and an invitation to comment. This approach may differ if another  accounting  standard-setter develops the .
  4. Development and Publication  of an  Exposure Draft—Publication of an exposure draft is a mandatory step in due process. An exposure draft is the IASB’s main vehicle for soliciting feedback from the public. Unlike a discussion  paper, an exposure draft sets out a specific proposal in the form of a proposed standard  (or amendment to an  existing standard).  The development  of an exposure draft begins with the IASB considering issues on the basis of staff research and recommendations,  as well as comments  received on any discussion paper, and suggestions made by the Standards Advisory Council (SAC), working groups, accounting standard-setters, and arising from public education  sessions. After resolving issues at its meetings,  the IASB instructs  staff to draft the exposure draft. When the draft has been completed,  and the IASB has voted on it, the IASB publishes it for public comment.
  5. Development and Publication of an International Financial Reporting Standards   (IFRS)—After resolving issues arising from the exposure draft, the IASB considers whether it should expose its revised proposals for public comment.
  6. Procedures after an  IFRS Is Issued—After  an IFRS is issued, the staff and the IASB members hold regular meetings with interested parties, including other standard-setting bodies, to help understand unanticipated issues related  to the practical  implementation and potential  impact of its proposals.

Bibliography:  

  1. Shawn S. Donnelly, “The International Accounting Standards Board,” New Political Economy (v.12/1, 2007);
  2. Sylwia Gornik-Tomaszewski and Miguel A. Millan, “Accounting for Research and Development Costs: A Comparison  of US and International Standards,” Review of Business (v.26/2, 2005);
  3. “International Accounting Standards Board,” Accountant  (n.6048, 2005);
  4. International Accounting Standards Board, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) 2008: Including International Accounting Standards (IASs) and Interpretations As Approved   at  1  January  2008  (International  Accounting  Standards  Board,  2008);
  5. Robert Randall, “Global Accounting  Panel  Named,”  Strategic  Finance (March  1, 2001);
  6. Cameron Weber,  “Harmonization  of International Accounting Standards,” National Public Accountant (July 28, 2005).

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