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Academia’s contribution to international standard-setting
On 3 and 4 November the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)—together with the journal partner Accounting and Business Research (ABR)—held its 2020 Research Forum where 70 academics and practitioners, including standard-setters and regulators, came together to discuss current research into financial reporting matters.
Even though this was the first time the Research Forum was held virtually, it was a great success. The technology did not let us down and it was nice to see so many familiar faces on screen. The authors of the presented papers benefited from lively discussions from academics and standard-setters and received constructive comments from the audience.
The first day started with a very timely presentation on accounting for intangible assets by Richard Barker, Andrew Lennard, Stephen Penman and Alan Teixeira. The new approach to accounting for intangible resources proposed in the paper spurred an engaged response from the practitioners in the forum. The second paper for the day addressed a topic of high relevance to the IASB’s work—comparability of financial statement information before and after the adoption of IFRS 11 Joint Arrangements. The evidence in the paper by Raquel Sarquis, Ariovaldo dos Santos, Isabel Lourenco and Guillermo Braunbeck was timely not only for the ongoing Post-implementation Review (PiR) of IFRS 10, IFRS 11 and IFRS 12 but also for other current projects of the IASB such as Disclosure Initiative. The analysis was thought provoking and led to some insightful discussion about the distinction between uniformity and comparability.
The panel session on IFRS 9 Financial Instruments was another highlight from the first day of the forum. Edgar Loew began by presenting early evidence on the initial impact of IFRS 9 on European banks. Edgar was then joined by Sue Lloyd, Vice-Chair of the IASB, and IASB technical staff member Riana Wiesner in an informative panel discussion on the application challenges, stakeholder response and research opportunities for academics to contribute evidence to the upcoming PiR of IFRS 9.
A similar panel session on IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers was held on the second day of the forum. Christopher Napier and Christian Stadler shared their takeaways on the overall effects of applying IFRS 15 based on their work on the topic. In a follow-up panel discussion, the two authors together with IASB member Bruce Mackenzie and staff member Henry Rees provided insights for academics who are interested in work in this area. The panel session was engaging for academics because it not only provided an overview of the Standard but also discussed what evidence from the academic community would help standard-setters evaluate IFRS 15 in its future PiR. There was also a discussion about data requirements and research methods applicable in assessing the effects of standards.
The second day of the forum was just as exciting. The first paper by Anna Alon and Geir Haaland tackled the issues of standardisation and comparability in the context of the IFRS for SMEs Standard. Some interesting points were raised on the issue of harmonisation in the context of cultural and legal heterogeneity. The discussion was relevant for the IASB’s current project on the possible development of a new Standard requiring full IFRS recognition and measurement with disclosure based on the IFRS for SMEs Standard. The last paper presented at the Research Forum addressed the interplay between accounting standards and regulatory provisions in the context of the IFRS 9 expected credit loss model. The discussion provided a relevant contribution on a regulatory perspective of IFRS 9 implementation.
You can find the recordings and presentations from the two-day event here.
Join us next year!
We are now calling for papers for the 2021 IASB Research Forum, which will be held 1-2 November 2021. We plan to hold the forum in the Asia-Oceania region or virtually if travel is not possible. Together with our journal partner for the 2021 Research Forum, Accounting and Finance, we encourage submissions that provide evidence to help inform the standard-setting activities of the IASB. Papers must be submitted by 31 March 2021. More information on the call for papers and on how to submit papers can be found here.
We look forward to your submissions and to another exciting Research Forum!
Ann Tarca, IASB member