September 2020 IFRS for SMEs Update
The IFRS for SMEs Update is a staff summary of news, events and other information about the IFRS for SMEs Standard and related SME activities. The staff summary has not been reviewed by the International Accounting Standards Board (Board).
This edition of the IFRS for SMEs Update highlights recent activities and materials published to support the Request for Information on the second comprehensive review of the IFRS for SMEs Standard (Request for Information), which the Board published in January 2020.
The objective of the Request for Information is to seek views on whether and how to align the IFRS for SMEs Standard with full IFRS Standards to better serve users of financial statements prepared applying the IFRS for SMEs Standard, without causing undue cost and effort to SMEs.
The summary includes the following:
- information on the options for responding to the Request for Information;
- information on outreach events;
- an overview of materials supporting the Request for Information;
- SME Implementation Group (SMEIG) new member induction;
- a farewell note from Darrel Scott;
- an updated IFRS for SMEs Fact Sheet; and
- information about online resources.
Information on the options for responding to the Request for Information
The Board would like to hear from as broad a range of stakeholders as possible. However, it recognises there are challenges for outreach on the comprehensive review of the IFRS for SMEs Standard, including:
- the resources available to SMEs, preparers and auditors; and
- the ability of the Board to identify and engage with users (including lenders and creditors) of SMEs’ financial statements.
Responding to the Request for Information
To help address resource constraints for SMEs, preparers and auditors, the Board has provided three ways for respondents to share their views. Stakeholders can respond by:
- writing a comment letter using a free format;
- writing a comment letter using the optional response document (which should be completed and converted to PDF); or
- completing the online survey.
This flow chart may assist stakeholders in deciding which method to use.
To encourage engagement with users of SMEs’ financial statements, the Board has developed a user survey. The survey comprises 13 questions and is divided into two parts:
- Part A contains questions on the framework the Board developed for the comprehensive review of the IFRS for SMEs Standard; and
- Part B contains questions on users’ information needs based on the broad principles that guided the Board in setting the disclosure requirements in the IFRS for SMEs Standard.
The response time for the survey may vary depending on the level of detail a respondent provides. It is available to users of SMEs’ financial statements until 27 October 2020 (when comments on the Request for Information are due) by following this link.
The user survey should only be completed by users of SMEs financial statements, such as financial institutions lending to SMEs, credit rating agencies, venture capital firms funding SMEs and investors in SMEs. A respondent who is not a user should complete the main online survey.
Information on outreach events
Feedback on the Request for Information will help the SME Implementation Group (SMEIG) develop recommendations for the Board on possible amendments to the IFRS for SMEs Standard. The Board’s outreach is intended to provide stakeholders with opportunities to engage and share their views.
In response to the covid-19 pandemic’s impact on outreach, the IFRS Foundation has explored technological options for bringing stakeholders together such as virtual conferences and meetings.
Board members and staff have participated in virtual outreach on the Request for Information held by:
- the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board;
- the Pan African Federation of Accountants;
- the IFRS Experts’ Forum in Nigeria;
- the International Federation of Accountants and the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants;
- the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants;
- the ICAEW’s Financial Reporting Committee;
- the UK Financial Reporting Council; and
- the Ministry of Finance, China.
The Request for Information was also discussed with the Emerging Economies Group at its meeting by video conference call in May 2020.
The IFRS Foundation Virtual Conference will take place on 28–29 September 2020 and will include a breakout session on the Request for Information. The breakout session will feature a presentation on Sri Lanka’s experience in applying the IFRS for SMEs Standard, an overview of the next steps in the review and a question and answer session.
Overview of materials supporting the Request for Information
The Board has published materials to help stakeholders respond to the Request for Information.
A series of web presentations on the Request for Information have been made available.
The first and second webcasts can be accessed on our IFRS for SMEs Standard YouTube playlist.
In July 2020 a third webcast in English was published providing a 25-minute presentation explaining how the Board has applied principles it developed for the second comprehensive review for assessing how and whether the IFRS for SMEs Standard could be aligned with IFRS Standards. The webcast can be accessed here.
Webcasts in Spanish and Portuguese
In August 2020 a webcast in Spanish was published on the Board’s approach to the second comprehensive review of the IFRS for SMEs Standard. The 30-minute webcast provides an overview of the Request for Information and can be accessed here.
A similar 28-minute webcast in Portuguese webcast was made available in September 2020.
On 17 August 2020, a live webinar was held on the Request for Information with Board Member Darrel Scott and the technical staff.
The recording of this 75-minute live webinar includes a question and answer segment and can be accessed here.
A Board member’s view—What does alignment mean?
A subject of energetic debate following the publication of the Request for Information is ‘alignment with full IFRS Standards’—that is, whether, how and when to reflect changes to IFRS Standards in the IFRS for SMEs Standard.
In August 2020, Board Member Darrel Scott provided additional context and shared his views on alignment in an article.
SME Implementation Group (SMEIG) new member induction
At their meeting in June 2020, the Trustees approved the appointment of 21 new SMEIG members and one observer with effect from 1 July 2020.
On 13 July 2020 two repeated induction sessions were held to welcome new SMEIG members. Existing SMEIG members were also invited.
More information about the SMEIG, including its terms of reference and operating procedures, is available here.
A farewell note from Darrel Scott
Darrel Scott joined the Board in October 2010, having previously been a member of the IFRS Interpretations Committee and a member of what is now called the IFRS Advisory Council. He was reappointed to the Board to serve a second term in 2015. Prior to joining the Board, Mr Scott was chief financial officer of FirstRand Banking Group, one of the largest financial institutions in South Africa. He was responsible for both financial reporting under IFRS Standards and regulatory reporting under the Basel II Accords.
He is chairman of the Board’s SME Implementation Group (SMEIG). His term as Board Member expires on 30 September 2020.
This will be my last contribution to this newsletter as a Board Member and as Chair of the SMEIG, so it is a useful opportunity to reflect on what has stood out for me over the years.
Let’s start with the SMEIG. This is a great group of dedicated, knowledgeable individuals who devote considerable time to be part of making the IFRS for SMEs Standard better. The role of SMEIG has evolved through various iterations, beginning with support for the first-time adopters of the Standard. The SMEIG worked really hard on the first comprehensive review which culminated in our first (and so far, only) in-person meeting in 2013. After the finalisation of that process, the SMEIG has been involved in providing further support including reviewing the educational modules that accompany each section of the Standard. More recently, we have switched into high gear again to focus on the second comprehensive review, with the SMEIG offering invaluable advice as we prepared for the review. To the SMEIG members, past and present, thank you. It has been a pleasure and very insightful engaging with you. To the new members who have just come aboard, good luck. A lot of very satisfying work lies ahead!
I would also like to highlight one of the other groups I have the opportunity to spend time with and who have provided us with a lot of input. The Emerging Economies Group is a Board advisory group that provides insight into our projects from the unique perspective of their economies. We have spent the last several years exploring their experiences applying the IFRS for SMEs Standard, or their local equivalent. This provided a lot of food for thought as we embarked on the second comprehensive review. I know a lot of members put in additional hours on capturing their views, for which I am grateful.
Last, but certainly not least, I have worked with several generations of staff on this Standard. It is always a pleasure, if slightly intimidating, to work with smart, motivated and hardworking individuals and I have enjoyed all the interactions we have had.
So finally, just to close out, I have reserved the right to provide a stakeholder’s view of developments in the Standard over the next several years through comment letters, and I hope you will all join me by doing the same.
Thanks and bye,
Updated IFRS for SMEs Fact Sheet
The IFRS for SMEs Fact Sheet was revised in August 2020. The Fact Sheet provides a brief overview and history of the IFRS for SMEs Standard, its use around the world and the work of the SMEIG. The Fact Sheet also lists resources on the Standard, including translations, available on our website.
The revised Fact Sheet can be accessed here.
The Board and the SMEIG provide educational materials to support the adoption and implementation of the IFRS for SMEs Standard.
These materials include:
- presentations; and
- articles and other publications.
The IFRS Foundation has also made available a package of 35 supporting modules to help those preparing and reading financial statements prepared applying the IFRS for SMEs Standard or learning about the Standard.