International Accounting Standards (IAS), now renamed International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), are gaining acceptance worldwide. This section discusses the extent to which IFRS are recognized around the world and includes a brief overview of the history and key elements of the international standard-setting process.
In the last few years, the international accounting standard-setting process has been able to claim a number of successes in achieving greater recognition and use of IFRS.
A major breakthrough came in 2002 when the European Union (EU) adopted legislation that requires listed companies in Europe to apply IFRS in their consolidated financial statements. The legislation came into effect in 2005 and applies to more than 8,000 companies in 30 countries, including countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The adoption of IFRS in Europe means that IFRS has replaced national accounting standards and requirements as the basis for preparing and presenting group financial statements for listed companies in Europe.
International Financial Reporting Standards or IFRS are standards as issued by the IASB
The IASB (International Accounting Standards Board) is the independent standard-setting body of the IFRS Foundation.
The mission of IASB is to develop International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) that bring transparency, accountability and efficiency to financial markets around the world.
The principal classes of users of financial statements are present and potential investors, employees, lenders, suppliers and other trade creditors, customers, governments and their agencies and the general public. All of these categories of users rely on financial statements to help them in decision making.
It also concludes that because investors are providers of risk capital to the enterprise, financial statements that meet their needs will also meet most of the general financial information needs of other users. Common to all of these user groups is their interest in the ability of an enterprise to generate cash and cash equivalents and of the timing and certainty of those future cash flows.
It also notes that financial statements cannot provide all the information that users may need to make economic decisions. For one thing, financial statements show the financial effects of past events and transactions, whereas the decisions that most users of financial statements have to make relate to the future. Further, financial statements provide only a limited amount of the non-financial information needed by users of financial statements.
IFRS brings transparency by enhancing the international comparability and quality of financial information, enabling investors and other market participants to make informed economic decisions.
IFRS strengthens accountability by reducing the information gap between the providers of capital and the people to whom they have entrusted their money. Our standards provide information that is needed to hold management to account. As a source of globally comparable information, IFRS is also of vital importance to regulators around the world.
IFRS contributes to economic efficiency by helping investors to identify opportunities and risks across the world, thus improving capital allocation. For businesses, the use of a single, trusted accounting language lowers the cost of capital and reduces international reporting costs.