The FSF, in conjunction with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), held a high-level roundtable to identify issues and challenges arising in the adoption and implementation of international financial reporting standards and international standards on auditing. There were around 60 participants, including national authorities with responsibility for financial reporting, accounting and audit professional organisations, accounting and auditing standard setters, market participants (including representatives from capital market firms, corporations, and investors), international regulatory bodies and international development agencies. The meeting provided a useful exchange of view by participants on a range of issues. Among those that seemed to receive particular attention were:

  •     The importance of well-developed accounting and auditing regulatory frameworks to ensure effective implementation of standards and the desirability of international guidance in this area.  Here the World Bank noted that its review of standards and codes had highlighted a striking lack of public oversight of audit function in many economies.
  •     The implications for the breadth of implementation of IFRS reporting arising from the complexity of the standards, the need for translations, and variations in the demand for financial information across different firm types (such as small and medium sized enterprises).
  •     The need to balance the volume and frequency of changes to the international standards against a desire for a stable platform to facilitate implementation.
  •     The lack in some jurisdictions of capacity for rapid and complete implementation of the new standards and the need to intensify education efforts.
  •     The challenges associated with achieving commonality in the application of standards in the absence of consistent interpretation from standard setters and enforcers. Relatedly, the appropriate posture for enforcers in the first years of application of the new standards.
  •     The importance of effective communication between reporters and end users of financial information to minimise volatility in the adoption period whilst harnessing the long-term benefits of improved capital allocation.