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2016年ACCA考试IFRS FOR SMES (Part 2)

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  IFRS FOR SMES (Part 1)

  A focus on the International Financial Reporting Standard for small to medium-sized entities

  The principal aim when developing accounting standards for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is to provide a framework that generates relevant, reliable and useful information which should provide a high quality and understandable set of accounting standards suitable for SMEs.

  In July 2009, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued the IFRS for Small and Medium-sized Entities (IFRS for SMEs). This standard provides an alternative framework that can be applied by eligible entities in place of the full set of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs).

  The IFRS for SMEs is a self-contained standard, incorporating accounting principles based on extant IFRSs which have been simplified to suit the entities that fall within its scope. There are a number of accounting standards and disclosures that may not be relevant for the users of SME financial statements. As a result the standard does not address the following topics:

  • earnings per share

  • interim financial reporting

  • segment reporting

  • insurance (because entities that issue insurance contracts are not eligible to use the standard) and

  • assets held for sale.

  In addition there are certain accounting treatments that are not allowable under the standard. Examples of these disallowable treatments are the revaluation model for property, plant and equipment and intangible assets, and proportionate consolidation for investments in jointly controlled entities. Generally, there are simpler methods of accounting available to SMEs than those accounting practices, which have been disallowed.

  Additionally the standard eliminates the 'available-for-sale' and 'held-to maturity' classifications of IAS 39, Financial instruments: recognition and measurement. All financial instruments are measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method except that investments in non-convertible and non-puttable ordinary and preference shares that are publicly traded or whose fair value can otherwise be measured reliably are measured at fair value through profit or loss. All amortised cost instruments must be tested for impairment. At the same time the standard simplifies the hedge accounting and derecognition requirements. However, SMEs can choose to apply IAS 39 in full if they so wish.

  The standard also contains a section on transition, which allows all of the exemptions in IFRS 1, First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards. It also contains 'impracticability' exemptions for comparative information and the restatement of the opening statement of financial position.

  As a result of the above, the IFRS requires SMEs to comply with less than 10% of the volume of accounting requirements applicable to listed companies complying with the full set of IFRSs.

  There is no universally agreed definition of an SME. No single definition can capture all the dimensions of a small or medium-sized business, or cannot be expected to reflect the differences between firms, sectors, or countries at different levels of development.

  Most definitions based on size use measures such as number of employees, net assets total, or annual turnover. However, none of these measures apply well across national borders. The IFRS for SMEs is intended for use by entities that have no public accountability (ie its debt or equity instruments are not publicly traded).

  Ultimately, the decision regarding which entities should use the IFRS for SMEs stays with national regulatory authorities and standard setters. These bodies will often specify more detailed eligibility criteria. If an entity opts to use the IFRS for SMEs, it must follow the standard in its entirety - it cannot cherry pick between the requirements of the IFRS for SMEs and those of full IFRSs.

  The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) makes it clear that the prime users of IFRSs are the capital markets. This means that IFRSs are primarily designed for quoted companies and not SMEs. The vast majority of the world's companies are small and privately owned, and it could be argued that IFRSs are not relevant to their needs or to their users. It is often thought that small business managers perceive the cost of compliance with accounting standards to be greater than their benefit.

  To this end, the IFRS for SMEs makes numerous simplifications to the recognition, measurement and disclosure requirements in full IFRSs. Examples of these simplifications are:

  • goodwill and other indefinite-life intangibles are amortised over their useful lives, but if useful life cannot be reliably estimated, then 10 years

  • a simplified calculation is allowed if measurement of defined benefit pension plan obligations (under the projected unit credit method) involves undue cost or effort

  • the cost model is permitted for investments in associates and joint ventures.

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