The "Beyond the GAAP" newsletter is published by Mazars. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep readers informed of accounting developments.
Beyond the GAAP no.145 - June 2020
In contrast to the three previous issues, Beyond the GAAP is back to its traditional format this month, with no COVID-19 supplement. Things are getting back to normal as regards accountancy news, although it is expected that further statements will be published locally for instance on the consequences of the crisis on accounting for State-guaranteed loans in France.
As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to disrupt business, with significant impacts expected on 2020 financial statements, various stakeholders (most especially standard-setters) are working hard to respond to this unprecedented crisis (cf. issue no. 2 of our COVID-19 supplement).
20/04/2020 Our last editorial touched, without wanting to believe it, on the wide repercussions we could expect from the coronavirus outbreak.
A few days later, with half the world’s population now under lock-down (whether enforced or encouraged), this month’s news has necessarily taken on a distinct flavour all its own. This is why we have produced a ‘COVID-19 supplement’ to examine the impacts of the crisis on 2019 reporting (for those entities still concerned!), and on the annual reporting that does not coincide with the calendar year and on the 2020 interim accounts.
Following the announcement of the first results for 2019 in February, companies that have not yet closed their accounts need to consider the potential implications of the current coronavirus epidemic for the disclosures required in the notes on events after the reporting period in accordance with IAS 10, as some market regulators have just recalled.
There is no doubt that the preparation of the 2020 interim accounts will be particularly difficult this year. Properly reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the financial statements is certain to be the main subject of concern. Once again, this month’s COVID-19 supplement summarises the current issues to be taken into account, in particular the ESMA press release for listed entities.
The year 2019 drew to a close with the publication of an exposure draft proposing significant changes to the presentation of IFRS financial statements, particularly the statement of comprehensive income. Consultations will continue in the new year, with many projects listed in the IASB’s work plan.
For example, in March, the IASB is expected to publish a Discussion Paper on goodwill and impairment. While the IASB is unlikely to propose the reintroduction of amortisation of goodwill, it is expected to make proposals aimed at improving disclosures in the notes and reducing the cost of impairment testing.
As the 2019 financial statements are finalised, the first-time application of IFRS 16 will have kept stakeholders on their toes right up to the last minute. This is because the IFRS Interpretations Committee did not officially clarify until 16 December how the term of certain leases should be determined.
As 2019 draws to a close, we present our usual overview of applicable standards and interpretations, with IFRS 16 – Leases obviously being the key new standard for this year. With the year-end closure approaching, the IFRS Interpretations Committee has finally confirmed its decision on determining the lease term under IFRS 16 – a topic that has been the subject of much debate – and has rejected the idea of amending the new standard just before its application date. This so-called “clarification” could have substantive impacts for groups that had previously used a legal approach to determining the lease term. They will be forced to change their estimates. However, in light of the publication date of the Committee’s decision, and the time needed to implement such changes where necessary, they are presumably not required in the financial statements for 2019. If an entity is unable to make the required changes, it should provide detailed disclosures in the notes, as recommended by the French market regulator (AMF). We will provide a more detailed account of the Committee’s final agenda decision in our next issue.
As the end of the year approaches, we’ve reached the time when European enforcers publish their recommendations for year-end financial reporting. Unsurprisingly, the key recommendations from ESMA and the AMF (the French market regulator) focus on IFRS 16 – Leases, IFRS 15 – Revenue from Contracts with Customers, and IFRS 9 – Financial Instruments. In this issue, we review the topics highlighted by the enforcers in their published recommendations.
September saw the publication of two long-awaited decisions by the IFRS Interpretations Committee (IFRS IC). One related to determination of the lessee’s incremental borrowing rate when applying IFRS 16, and the other to the classification and presentation of liabilities or assets related to uncertain tax positions. This therefore seemed the ideal time to present our study of information on the impacts of initial application of IFRIC 23 presented by a sample of French and European issuers (CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50) in their IFRS interim financial statements to 30 June 2019.
Following the summer break, IAS 12 – Income Taxes and IFRS 17 – Insurance Contracts are in the spotlight, with consultations on both from the IASB as well as a detailed Public Statement from ESMA, the European enforcer, on the former.
The half-yearly financial statements stand between you and your well-earned summer break, so it may be worth taking a look at the IFRS IC’s agenda decisions on IFRS 15, IFRS 16 and cryptocurrencies. After that, you could take our crossword away with you - a light-hearted edition that brings the series to a close.
In March, the IASB completed its marathon discussions on the proposed amendments to IFRS 17 – Insurance Contracts (see our ‘A Closer Look’ feature). The Exposure Draft is now scheduled for publication at the end of June, and the Board has tentatively decided that the comment period will be three months (thus including August).
News from the IASB continues to be dominated by work to amend IFRS 17, to which we return in this edition’s special study. This project even seems to overshadow progress on other issues, such as the presentation of financial statements, or the finalisation (with no changes to the standards) of work on segment reporting and interest rates. The fact remains that the latest news from the March IASB meeting suggests that there is no appetite, on the IASB’s part, for change on the thorniest aspect of IFRS 17, the level of contract aggregation.
With annual report season in full swing, this issue of Beyond the GAAP is a slightly quicker read than last month’s issue. However, it does contain some particularly significant news, notably a number of interesting agenda decisions published by the IFRS Interpretations Committee.