Key differences between IFRS and GAAP & impact to financial/ business reporting
There are a number of differences between U.S.GAAP and IFRS.Below is a chart that highlights a few of these differences.
In addition to these transaction examples listed below,IASB and FASB are also working jointly on several MoU projects targeted for completion in 2010 and 2011.Major convergence projects include:
·Fair Value Measurement
·Financial Statement Presentation
·Financial Instruments with Characteristics of Equity
As these major MoU projects are completed and new standards are released by the FASB,these changes will impact how the transactions are recorded,processed and/ or reported within a financial system(most likely prior to converting to IFRS depending on the time of completion).
It is important to monitor both the FASB and IASB website for project updates on when the standards are under exposure draft(review)and ready for release(final).
Certain IFRS/GAAP differences may likely be adjusted through General Ledger journal entries or chart of account structuring and do not require system changes at the sub-ledger level.The approach will vary depending on the organization's structure and environment described above in Potential System Impacts of an IFRS Conversion.However,opportunities for automation using Excel macros and formulas or other alternative tools may be possible for separate journal posting calculations.Additionally,this list of examples will continue to change as the FASB and IASB continue their efforts to converge standards.
Impact to Financial or Business Reporting
Besides specific transactional differences,converting from U.S.GAAP to IFRS will also impact a company's external and internal reporting requirements.Although some transactional differences require only journal entry adjustments within the General Ledger(or minimal financial system changes),other changes may impact an organization’s current reporting infrastructure(such as data warehousing environment or associated reporting program).Furthermore,journal entry adjustments for multiple countries and parallel reporting in IFRS and GAAP may become cumbersome without additional tools to assist in the reporting process(such as a consolidation tool).Below is a chart that highlights some of these external and internal reporting examples.
Similar to the transaction differences,it is important to monitor both the FASB and IASB websites for MoUrelated project updates since several of these projects also relate to the financial reporting requirements listed above.In addition,the challenge to implementing these transactional or reporting changes is that organizations will still have to consider dual reporting once the entity decides to convert to IFRS.Companies will have to either(1)maintain both processes for statutory reporting until the three-year requirement is complete or(2)maintain one process and make topside adjustments to the other statutory reporting requirement.While both alternatives are achievable,option 2 can become cumbersome,difficult to track and not ideal/feasible.Explanation of the dual-reporting timeline is further discussed under Implementation Considerations.
External and Internal Reporting Differences
The AICPA's IFRS Primer for Audit Committees addressed two relevant IT-related questions that management should consider during the implementation process:
·How will this affect the company's way of doing business(e.g.changes to IT and other internal systems;risk monitoring and controls;inventory accounting;budgeting and forecasting;key performance indicators;joint ventures and alliances;subsidiaries;etc.)?
·How is management making system changes or implementing new systems today,in recognition of possible changes in the future?
As the above examples point out,transactional and reporting differences between IFRS and U.S.GAAP do affect a company's way of doing business.This leads to implementation issues to consider as a company decides to convert to IFRS.