One size doesn’t fit all: the AcSB’s strategy holds true

The AcSB has completed a comprehensive review of the strategy it implemented in 2005, which involved adopting separate accounting frameworks for publicly accountable enterprises, private entities and not-for-profit organizations.

The Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) promised stakeholders that it would undertake a comprehensive review of the strategy we put in place and began back in 2005. That strategy involved adopting separate accounting frameworks for publicly accountable enterprises, private entities and not-for-profit organizations.

The reason for these separate frameworks? We believed that one size didn’t fit all: these organizations needed their own accounting standards to develop the best financial reports possible.

We believe this still holds true. Since 2005, the AcSB and its staff have undertaken significant monitoring activities to identify any indicators that our strategy wasn’t sound and to address any hiccups head-on — and we will continue to do so.

We have many discussions with AcSB committees and groups. We have several standing committees, such as the IFRS Discussion Group, the Private Enterprises Advisory Committee and the Joint Not-for-Profit Task Force, that we use to discuss issues and plans. We report these discussions to the Accounting Standards Oversight Council (AcSOC), which oversees our work and makes sure we’re sticking to the right process.

We have many discussions with stakeholders. These discussions are invaluable and happen frequently. How do we reach our many stakeholders? We reach them through other organizations, such as the Financial Executives Institute, the Canadian Securities Administrators, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, major preparers in Canada and CPA Canada committees. We also present at conferences, hold roundtable and individual discussions and put on webinars. In addition, stakeholders raise issues directly with the AcSB or AcSOC — especially when they have concerns.

We have the benefit of third-party research. Research focusing on the adoption of IFRS by publicly accountable enterprises has been published by media organizations, academics and professional organizations. This research helps us determine if there are issues that weren’t brought directly to our attention or to confirm the decisions we’ve made. Regulators’ reports on their reviews of filed financial statements are also helpful.

Since the adoption of the strategy, we have heard little in the way of fundamental concerns with our approach. When there are issues — such as current concerns about proposals on leases and insurance contracts — they are about specific aspects of, say, IFRS, that are then brought forward to the International Accounting Standards Board.

All of this means our comprehensive review of our separate framework strategy is essentially complete, but we remain open to further input. With stakeholders throughout the country — from various industries and with different needs — confirming that this strategy is still the right way to go, we will continue to move forward.

In 2015, you will be asked to provide feedback on a document that will outline the AcSB’s proposed strategic plan for the years 2016 to 2021. It will tell you that one size still doesn’t fit all and bring you through our suggested next steps.

Until that document is available, we encourage you to become more familiar with the AcSB’s processes, connect with us, provide feedback on other proposed standards and get ready to tell us what you think about our new strategic plan. We look forward to hearing from you.