The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) is to start detailed work developing sustainability reporting standards for public sector bodies. ‘The public sector needs its own specific sustainability reporting framework, and the IPSASB should lead its development,’ said IPSASB chair Ian Carruthers. The board will now create a sustainability taskforce to lead research and scoping. Priority topics are:
- general requirements for sustainability-related financial information disclosures
- climate-related disclosures
- non-financial disclosures about natural resources.
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) is looking to amend its IAS 12 standard on income taxes to take account of the OECD’s Pillar Two model rules, whereby multinationals will pay a minimum rate of tax within the jurisdictions where they operate. The IASB plans to publish an exposure draft in January 2023, which will introduce a temporary exception from accounting for deferred taxes arising from the model rules and insist on targeted disclosures by affected companies. The changes would take effect in the second quarter of 2023.
The IASB has voted to retain an impairment-only approach for goodwill accounting, following a review that began in 2014. Feedback and subsequent research has convinced the board that there is no ‘compelling case to change’ its accounting for goodwill approach. Alternative systems include the amortisation of goodwill.
The European Commission is assessing a first set of proposed detailed European Union mandatory sustainability reporting standards, drafted by the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group’s (Efrag) Sustainability Reporting Board. Under the proposals, due diligence assessments and potential amendments will be undertaken by the EU executive, before its formal adoption of the standards, planned for June 2023. Efrag slimmed down the requirements of earlier drafts. A requirement to obtain data from value chain partners will not be required for three years after a European sustainability reporting standard (ESRS) comes into force, but will be mandatory within the EU from 2025 depending on a company’s size.
IASB chair Andreas Barckow has stressed the need for Efrag and the IASB to collaborate closely, ‘even though at times Efrag may bring different perspectives to the table than does the IASB… with Efrag serving the European public good and the IASB having to consider a global environment’. He added that the IASB and its sister standard-setting body the International Sustainability Standards Board will collaborate closely, with senior staff reviewing each other’s board papers and exchanging information about key agenda items and decisions.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has welcomed the release of Efrag’s standards, saying they dovetail with its own sustainability reporting standard. It added that collaboration has ensured ‘optimal interoperability’ between the global GRI standards, which are focused on impact materiality, and the double materiality-focused ESRS, which cover supply and value chain environmental and social impacts.
The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) has released a report advising accountants on the ethical challenges of disruptive and transformative technologies. It highlights the ethics implications of artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing, and explores data governance, cybersecurity and the reliance on experts to understand tech.
The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has published guidance to help auditors understand the impact on the International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) of recent IASB changes to IAS 1 on financial statements. The changes include a requirement for companies to declare material accounting policy information rather than significant accounting policies. The IAASB stressed that auditors will need to evaluate the appropriateness of management’s disclosures, including how they have addressed the IAS 1 changes in their financial reporting.
The International Association for Accounting Education and Research and KPMG International are seeking research proposals under the Informing the IASB Standard Setting Process research programme. US$20,000 is available per project, and proposals on intangible assets and statement of cashflows and related matters are especially welcome.
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has released a report from its professional accountants in business advisory group on how accountants are expanding their roles as sustainability reporting grows in importance alongside developing innovative technologies. The report assesses:
- the digital transformation of finance and accounting
- driving sustainable value creation
- sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance)
- the growing B Corp movement of companies with verified sustainability policies
- sustainable financing.
IFAC has also released a report on linking accounting training to emerging trends, notably sustainability reporting, anti-corruption efforts, sound public financial management, and technological change.