Financial Reporting & Assurance Standards Canada: AcSB Strategic Initiative

As a CPA member or stakeholder, you are invited to review and comment on the AcSB Strategic Plan by the chair of the Accounting Standards Board, Linda Mezon.

Linda F. Mezon, Chair, Accounting Standards Board

IT’S NOT JUST WHAT WE DO, IT’S HOW WE DO IT

Transparency, consultation, accountability, and responsiveness are key aspects of AcSB activities. We call this “due process” and it’s critical to the integrity of the Canadian accounting standard-setting procedure and the quality of everything we do. While each aspect is vital, as the AcSB Chair, I have made consultation my personal mission – more input is better, and getting fresh stakeholders’ perspectives is best. One aspect of the AcSB’s operations for which consultation figures largely is our strategic planning process.

THINKING STRATEGICALLY

Our strategic plan is vitally important to our standard-setting process because it establishes the AcSB’s overarching policy objectives for setting and maintaining Canadian GAAP. In 2014 we began to develop our next strategic plan. To inform that process, the AcSB looked back at five years of stakeholder comments, committee minutes, Board decisions, roundtable discussions and academic studies. We wanted to know if the new directions forged two planning cycles ago – that “one size does not fit all” – still made sense going forward. We concluded they did – that is applying International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) for publicly accountable enterprises and maintaining separate standards for private enterprises, not-for-profit organizations and pension plans. But we asked ourselves if we could better implement those core strategies. To find out, we met with over 345 stakeholders at over 40 roundtable discussions to get your views.

WE LISTENED, WE HEARD YOU

Our strategic initiative consultations told us that we’ve been doing a lot of things right. At the same time, you highlighted some areas of concern.

Communications:

We’ll work to increase your awareness about and how to participate in the AcSB’s standard-setting activities. Your input will help us better participate in the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) standard-setting process by getting Canadians’ voices at international standards discussion forums so we can influence the development of IFRS. After all, the AcSB spends more than 40 per cent of its time on IFRS.

So when the AcSB calls out, get involved. Submit your implementation issues, your comments on exposure drafts, attend roundtables, read a meeting report of the Private Enterprise Advisory Committee or attend an IFRS Discussion Group meeting.

Keep up to date on issues important to you by subscribing to The Standard enewsletter and indicating your preference for the topics of your choice (IFRS, Accounting Standards for Private Enterprises (ASPE) or Not-for-profit Organizations (NFPOs) – or all three).

Guidance:

Many of you want more guidance on how to apply ASPE and IFRSs. While the AcSB will be considering how to do more, such as clarify ASPE, we encourage the use of professional judgment as it can be more cost effective and aligned with a principle-based approach. Doing more could include developing AcSB Staff Commentaries, such as the insightful guide on how to exercise professional judgment in Making Judgment Professional.

Reflecting on the user needs of NFPOs statements:

We heard from the consultations on the Statement on Principles that we should focus on the needs of financial statement users and balance those needs with applying accounting concepts and principles. The AcSB is taking time to get the information it needs.

Canada as the first adopter of new IFRS:

Through discussions, the AcSB is seeking ways to support and address Canadian implementation costs, challenges and issues through local and global activities. For example, the AcSB is encouraging the IASB, standards setters and regulators in other jurisdictions to adhere to a single date for global adoption.

We have considered these and other issues in the AcSB’s draft Strategic Plan, which will begin in 2016, and are discussing it this month with our oversight body, the Accounting Standards Oversight Council.

We want to hear from you

A draft of the strategic plan, along with the Board’s rationale, will be available for public comment in May. Give us your thoughts, because we do listen and your input does affect standard setting.


Linda F. Mezon, FCPA, FCA, CPA (MI) is chair of the Accounting Standards Board.

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About the Author

Linda Mezon, FCPA, FCA, CPA (MI)

Chair, Accounting Standards Board

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