Looks like this topic is quite popular and important. I believe that it always has a high chance to be examined.
You can immediately divide it to 3 sub-parts and study them in any order u want:
- Structure of IASB;
- IASB’s constitution;
- Standard –setting process.
Theory might become excessive and a bit boring, but I suggest that you note for yourself only certain key details (names of parts of structures, key terms, key functions, main steps, numerical data etc) and the most important – to get the logic, to UNDERSTAND what it’s all about. Make associations, draw tables of graphs , mind maps – anything that helps you to memorize more efficiently, and revise all this stuff regularly till u feel absolutely okay about it. I remarked that even a very small revision of the same thing EACH DAY makes real miracles. In brief, you can memorize absolutely anything in just a week.
After studying materials presented the site of IFRS Foundation I got inspired and decided to draw some simple diagrams, see below.
Somehow I think that it’s more logic to start studying IASB from this topic, as constitution will guide you from general issues about IASB to it’s structure.
CONSTITUTION is open for public and can be easily downloaded here. That is the constitution of IFRS Foundation and IASB’s part is simply placed inside it.
It includes: preface, objectives of IFRS Foundation and an excessive description of Foundation’s governance and structure. It finishes by the annex describing criteria for IASB members.
And here all the attention should be placed on IASB, IASB and again IASB. In other words, I suggest to memorize everything related to IASB and simply to read all the rest. Somehow it looks like for exam purposes IFRS Foundation and IASB are considered almost like the same thing. But it’s nothing but my personal opinion.
- Preface describes how and when the Constitution of IFRS Foundation (former Internation Accounting Standards Committee – IASC) was set initially, then how it was revised due to change in the organisation (we don’t need to know more then the fact that the name was changed). It states that Constitution should be revised each five years by Trustees and describes how and when it was revised.
- Now an important part – objectives! Those are an absolute must to memorize. See page 2 of constitution. They are the same for IFRS Foundation and IASB and there are 4 of them. You can see an altertive shorter version here.
- Governance by Trustees and structure (see below).
- Administration – held by administrative office located in location determined by Trustees.
After analyzing the structural diagram presented on the site of IFRS Foundation and by adding some bits from Constitution, I composed my own diagram to avoid lengthy descriptions.
For every part of structure it’s important to memorize the name, yea, it will be the hardest : )) and it’s main responsibilities and functions. They all can be found in details in Constitution. Actually that’s what the Constitution is mainly about.
MONITORING BOARD is important because it approves and appoints Trustees and it serves as a link between those Trustees and public authorities.
Who are Trustees? Well those are smart and experienced guys who govern IFRS Foundation.
There goes IFRS Foundation itself which consists of : IASB, IFR Interpretations Committee and IFRS advisory Council. Foundation Trustees select, approve and appoint members of those sub-structures and monitor their work on regular basis. They should be no more 22 trustees from different parts of the world to maintain geographical balance. Current “head count” gave result of 20, though in fact they are 21. Former Chairman passed away last year, now they are in the process of selecting a new one.
Trustees are appointed for a renewable term of three years.
It should not be forgotten that Foundation is responsible for financing part: that is approval of budgets, and secure of funding. They determine rates of pay and in simple words, determine how much money should go to this or that activity.
Main objective of IFRS Foundation is to prepare a set of high quality standards and it performs via International Accounting standards Board (IASB).
Well that is our main sub-structure. That is the body that prepares and issues standards after the long and tough standard setting process. It consists of 16 members. Current chairman – Sir David Tweedy will leave this July and he will be replaced by Mr. Hans Hoogervorst. They are appointed by Trustees for an initial term of 3-5 years. Chairman automatically becomes a Chief executive of IFRS Foundation, responsible for establishment of senior staff management team of Foundation.
Main responsibilities are shown on the diagram and described in Constitution.
IFRS Interpretations Committee is appointed by Trustees and serves to interpret existing standards and to give guidance. They develop IFRICs and SECs which are later approved and issued by IASB.
IFRS Advisory Council is again appointed by Trustees and serves as a body that gives advice to both IFRS Foundation and IASB. Once there is a standard setting process or another major project, that’s when everyone needs to consult this body first , and hardly anything can be issued without it’s advice. Why? Well first of all because it’s part of Consitution to use it’s advice. Secondly, because it administers a forum where it collects views of interested parties. And those views are extremely important for issuing this or that standards for example.
Meanwhile IASB forms working groups that serve as minor advisory councils providing their advice and views on agenda projects.
And at the bottom of this tower lies all possible support operations that IFRS Foundation sets and keeps daily.
I think it’s also good to know at least little bit about the criteria for IASB members (last two pages of Constitution).
So how do u think, who can become an IASB member … maybe you or me? Yea , sure … : )
Of course a high level of education, experience, expertise and personal qualities is required from those. And in brief those guys should be ..bloody experienced : ) You can read about each of current members on the site to get the idea. Well, 8 main qualities are listed:
- Technical competence and knowledge of financial accounting and reporting (the second part makes me smile:) );
- Ability to analyze;
- Communication skills (yea, they need to be able to talk, as during their work they will mostly be talking, talking, talking, talking, talking..);
- Judicious decision making;
- Awareness of the financial reporting environment;
- Ability to work in a collegial atmosphere;
- Integrity, objectivity and discipline;
- Commitment to the IFRS Foundation’s mission and public interest.
3. Standard setting process
Standard setting process is described on the site of IFRS Foundation. But to my opinion this description is a bit confusing. However, you still can get the main idea.
I summarized main ideas in the diagram below.
6 main stages, which should be learnt by heart:
1) Setting the agenda.
Well before that various research are held, which reveal the necessity of setting a common rule in this or that area. And so , issues revealed and the whole work starts.
Firstly they meet meet meet and meet, discuss a lot, consult IFRS Advisory Council and after that issue the agenda .
2) Project planning
Well they got agenda, so they have the idea in mind of what they are going to do. But now they need to decide: how, who will be responsible for this and that, set a budget etc.
And first of all they decide whether they will conduct project alone or with another standard –settler. And further steps will be similar but will still differ depending on this choice.
Then working group is formed, which consists of members of IFRS Foundation, but it might also include members of staff from other accounting standard – settlers if appropriate.
3) Development and publication of Discussion paper
Well this DP is something like an embryo of the future standard, though, it’s OPTIONAL to issue it. If the project is held by IASB alone then DP comes from agenda, if another standard settler is involved then it may result form research project of the latter. So if standard setter is involved, that is him, who publishes the draft of DP.
DP includes mostly ISSUES, related to IFRS, which by use of DP are reviewed and are published for PUBLIC COMMENTS.
Working groups and standard settlers are involved and surely suggestions of Advisory Council are taken into account.
All discussions are held in public sessions. Publication of DP requires a simple majority vote by the IASB. Constitutional requirement that no less then 60% or Board members are present at that meeting.
4) Development and publication of an Exposure Draft
So the baby IFRS starts to be recognizable. ED is a MANDATORY step in this whole due process, it’s publication is required by Constitution. And now it’s not a collection of issues, it is a first version of the future standard, it also includes additional provisions.
Before publishing issues on the basis of staff researches and recommendations are considered, comments received on DP are collected together with suggestions from our beloved Advisory Council , working groups and standard – settlers.
Once all the issues are collected and resolved, ED’s draft is published. Later on IASB ballots on it. Final publication of ED requires approval of 10 of the 16 IASB members. Once being published, this document is open for PUBLIC COMMENTS.
The period of this comment should be no less then 60 days, usually it lasts 90 – 120 days.
5) Development and publication of IFRS
Yay, standard is going to be born before you finish reading this sentence
Sigh …well, not really. Once comments on ED are received, how do u think what those guys do. 3 attempts. Indeed, they will meet and discuss , discuss , discuss.
Things don’t always go well, plus first ED might be not so ideal, so re-exposure of ED might be considered. This decision to publish second ED should be taken by IASB. And once IASB ensures that all ED issues are solved, they start to prepare a draft of IFRS.
They issue it, then vote. IFRIC reviews it. After that almost a final version is published on the site.
And at the end of the whole due process IFRS IS FINALLY ISSUED!
6) After IFRS is issued
You might think that what we discussed above is so complicated, lengthy and effort consuming. But well, honestly, I believe that a much harder work starts once IFRS is published and put to practice.
Now IASB has to hold regular meetings with interested parties to figure out which issues are not covered by IFRS, which issues require reconsideration and improvement, which are too hard to put to practice etc. It also has to monitor changes in financial environment and regulatory requirements. IFRIC starts it’s work on interpretations and guidance, Advisory council monitors comments on forum etc. All this work may result in amendment of existing IFRS, or publication of another IFRS, that will either replace existing one or will be added to other standards.
So that should be enough about standard setting.
And I believe after Foundation’s objective, this is the second most important topic!
It gives the examiner so much freedom of which issue to examine: any stage of the process, brief description of the whole process, anything about DP and/or ED, discussion of differences between those two and draft of standard, how pre-ballot draft is issued and how the standard is finally issued, all the procedures after it is issued, how IASB cares about consistency in interpretation and / or application of IFRSs etc.
All possible questions should be analyzed and adequate answers should be prepared.Back to top