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Convergence To Ifrs From Indian Gaap Impact Accounting Essay

The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) are increasingly being recognized as Global Reporting Standards. More than 100 countries such as countries of European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia currently require or permit the use of IFRSs in their countries. Countries such as China and Canada have announced their intention to adopt IFRSs from 2008 and 2011 respectively. United States of America has also taken-up convergence projects with the IASB with a view to permit filing of IFRS-Compliant Financial Statements in the US Stock Exchanges without requiring the presentation of reconciliation statement. In view of the benefits of convergence with IFRSs to the Indian economy, its investors, industry and the accounting professionals, the Concept Paper has been developed with the objective of exploring:

The approach for achieving convergence with IFRS.

Laying down a roadmap for achieving convergence with the IFRSs with a view to make India IFRS-compliant.

And also to study impact and challenges India will face to converge with IFRS.

Keeping in view the complex nature of IFRSs and the extent of differences between the existing ASs and the corresponding IFRSs and the reasons therefore, the ICAI is of the view that IFRSs should be adopted for the public interest entities such as listed entities, banks and insurance entities and large-sized entities from the accounting periods beginning on or after 1st April, 2011.

In order to get more clarity on these issues, we have taken example of NACIL (National Aviation Company India Ltd.).Project studied the present accounting procedure in NACIL and steps taken by them for converging with IFRS.

ACCOUNTING STANDARDS----OVERVIEW

A financial reporting system supported by strong governance, high quality standards, and firm regulatory framework is the key to economic development. Indeed, sound financial reporting standards underline the trust that investors place in financial reporting information and thus play an important role in contributing to the economic development of a country. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) as the accounting standards-formulating body in the country has always made efforts to formulate high quality Accounting Standards and has been successful in doing so. Indian Accounting Standards have withstood the test of time. As the world continues to globalize, discussion on convergence of national accounting standards with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs)1 has increased significantly.

The forces of globalization prompt more and more countries to open their doors to foreign investment and as businesses expand across borders the need arises to recognize the benefits of having commonly accepted and understood financial reporting standards. In this scenario of globalization, India cannot insulate itself from the developments taking place worldwide. In India, so far as the ICAI and the Governmental authorities such as the National Advisory Committee on Accounting Standards established under the Companies Act, 1956, and various regulators such as Securities and Exchange Board of India and Reserve Bank of India are concerned, the aim has always been to comply with the IFRSs to the extent possible with the objective to formulate sound financial reporting standards. The ICAI, being a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), considers the IFRSs and tries to integrate them, to the extent possible, in the light of the laws, customs, practices and

business environment prevailing in India. The Preface to the Statements of Accounting Standards, issued by the ICAI, categorically recognizes the same. Although, the focus has always been on developing high quality standards, resulting in transparent and comparable financial statements, deviations from IFRSs were made where it was considered that these were not consistent with the laws and business environment prevailing within the country. Now, as the world globalizes, it has become imperative for India also to make a formal strategy for convergence with IFRSs with the objective to harmonize with globally accepted accounting standards.

Need for Convergence with IFRSs

In the present era of globalization and liberalization, the World has become an economic village. The globalization of the business world and the attendant structures and the regulations, which support it, as well as the development of e-commerce make it imperative to have a single globally accepted financial reporting system. A number of multi-national companies are establishing their businesses in various countries with emerging economies and vice versa. The entities in emerging economies are increasingly accessing the global markets to fulfill their capital needs by getting their securities listed on the stock exchanges outside their country. Capital markets are, thus, becoming integrated consistent with this World-wide trend. More and more Indian companies are also being listed on overseas stock exchanges. Sound financial reporting structure is imperative for economic well-being and effective functioning of capital markets.

The use of different accounting frameworks in different countries, which require inconsistent treatment and presentation of the same underlying economic transactions, creates confusion for users of financial statements. This confusion leads to inefficiency in capital markets across the world. Therefore, increasing complexity of business transactions and globalisation of capital markets call for a single set of high quality accounting standards. High standards of financial reporting underpin the trust investors place in financial and non-financial information. Thus, the case for a single set of globally accepted accounting standards has prompted many countries to pursue convergence of national accounting standards with IFRSs. Amongst others, countries of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Russia have already adopted IFRSs for listed enterprises. China has decided to adopt IFRS from 2008 and Canada from 2011. Insofar as US is concerned, Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) of USA and IASB are also working towards convergence of the US GAAPs and the IFRSs. The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has mooted a proposal to permit filing of IFRS-compliant financial statements without requiring presentation of a reconciliation statement between US GAAPs and IFRS in near future. Appendix II contains list of countries which require or permit the use of IFRSs for various types of the entities such as listed entities, banks etc.

Benefits of achieving convergence with IFRSs

There are many beneficiaries of convergence with IFRSs such as the economy, investors, industry and accounting professionals.

The Economy

As the markets expand globally the need for convergence increases. The convergence benefits the economy by increasing growth of its international business. It facilitates maintenance of orderly and efficient capital markets and also helps to increase the capital formation and thereby economic growth. It encourages international investing and thereby leads to more foreign capital flows to the country.

Investors

A strong case for convergence can be made from the viewpoint of the investors who wish to invest outside their own country. Investors want the information that is more relevant, reliable, timely and comparable across the jurisdictions. Financial statements prepared using a common set of accounting standards help investors better understand investment opportunities as opposed to financial statements prepared using a different set of national accounting standards. For better understanding of financial statements, global investors have to incur more cost in terms of the time and efforts to convert the financial statements so that they can confidently compare opportunities. Investors’ confidence would be strong if accounting standards used are globally accepted. Convergence with IFRSs contributes to investors’ understanding and confidence in high quality financial statements.

The industry

A major force in the movement towards convergence has been the interest of the industry. The industry is able to raise capital from foreign markets at lower cost if it can create confidence in the minds of foreign investors that their financial statements comply with globally accepted accounting standards. With the diversity in accounting standards from country to country, enterprises which operate in different countries face a multitude of accounting requirements prevailing in the countries. The burden of financial reporting is lessened with convergence of accounting standards because it simplifies the process of preparing the individual and group financial statements and thereby reduces the costs of preparing the financial statements using different sets of accounting standards.

The accounting professionals

Convergence with IFRSs also benefits the accounting professionals in a way that they are able to sell their services as experts in different parts of the world. The thrust of the movement towards convergence has come mainly from accountants in public practice. It offers them more opportunities in any part of the world if same accounting practices prevail throughout the world. They are able to quote IFRSs to clients to give them backing for recommending certain ways of reporting. Also, for accounting professionals in industry as well as in practice, their mobility to work in different parts of the world increases.

Benefits of IFRS

By adopting IFRS, you would be adopting a "global financial reporting" basis that will enable your company to be understood in a global marketplace. This helps in accessing world capital markets and promoting new business. It allows your company to be perceived as an international player.

A consistent financial reporting basis would allow a multinational company to apply common accounting standards with its subsidiaries worldwide, which would improve internal communications, quality of reporting and group decision-making.

In increasingly competitive markets, IFRS allows a company to benchmark itself against its peers throughout the world, and allows investors and others to compare the company's performance with competitors globally.

In addition, companies would get access to number of capital markets across the globe.

Disadvantages of IFRS

Despite a general consensus of the inevitability of the global acceptance of IFRS, many people also believe something will be lost with full acceptance of IFRS. 

Further certain issuers without significant customers or may resist IFRS because they may not have a market incentive to prepare IFRS financial statements.

Some other issuers may have to stick with existing GAAP because it is required for filings with other regulators and authorities, thus resulting in extra costs than currently incurred by following only existing GAAP.

Another concern is that many countries that claim to be converting to international standards may never get to 100 percent compliance.  Most reserve the right to carve out selectively or modify standards they do not consider in their national interest, an action that could lead to incomparability – one of the very issues that IFRS seeks to address.

GAP ANALYSIS

There are several impediments and practical challenges to adoption of and full compliance with IFRS in India. These are:

The need for a change in several laws and regulations governing financial accounting and reporting in India. In addition to accounting standards, there are legal and regulatory requirements that determine the manner in which financial information is reported or presented in financial statements. For example, the Companies Act, 1956 determines the classification and accounting treatment for redeemable preference shares as equity instruments of a company, whereas these may be considered to be a financial liability under IFRS. The Companies Act (Schedule VI) also prescribes the format for presentation of financial statements for Indian companies, whereas the presentation requirements are significantly different under IFRS. Similarly, the Reserve Bank of India regulates the financial reporting for banks and other financial institutions, including the presentation format and accounting treatment for certain types of transactions.

The recent announcement by the MCA is encouraging as it indicates government support for the timetable for convergence with IFRS in India. However, the announcement stops short of endorsing the roadmap for convergence and the full adoption of IFRS that is discussed in ICAI's concept paper. In the absence of adequate clarity and assurance that Indian laws and regulations will be amended to conform to IFRS, the conversion process may not gain momentum.

There is a lack of adequate professionals with practical IFRS conversion experience and therefore many companies will have to rely on external advisers and their auditors. This is magnified by a lack of preparedness amongst Indian corporate as this project may be viewed simply as a project management or an accounting issue which can be left to the finance function and auditors. However, it should be noted that IFRS conversion would involve a fundamental change to an entity's financial reporting systems and processes. It will require a detailed knowledge of the standards and the ability to consider their impact on business transactions and performance measures. Further, the conversion process will need to disseminate and embed IFRS knowledge throughout the organization to ensure its application on an ongoing basis.

Another potential pitfall is viewing IFRS accounting rules as "similar" to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in India (Indian GAAP), since Indian accounting standards have been formulated on the basis of principles in IFRS. However, this view disregards significant differences between Indian GAAP and IFRS as well as differences in practical implementation and interpretation of similar standards. Further, certain Indian standards offer accounting policy choices, which are not available under IFRS, for example, use of pooling of interest method in accounting for business combinations.

There is an urgent need to address these challenges and work towards full adoption of IFRS in India. The most significant need is to build adequate IFRS skills and an expansive knowledge base amongst Indian accounting professionals to manage the conversion projects for Indian corporates. Leveraging the knowledge and experience gained from IFRS conversion in other countries and incorporating IFRS into the curriculum for professional accounting courses can do this.

Ultimately, it is imperative for Indian corporates to improve their preparedness for IFRS adoption and get the conversion process right. Given the current market conditions, any restatement of results due to errors in the conversion process would be detrimental to the company involved and would severely damage investor confidence in the financial system.

THRUST AREAS WHERE GAPS ARE IDENTIFIED

Presentation of Financial Statements

Inventories

Cash Flow Statements

Events after the Reporting Period

Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Error

Property, Plant and Equipment

Revenue Recognition

Fixed Assets

Foreign Exchange

Accounting for Investments

Employee Benefits

Borrowing Costs

Segment Reporting

Related Party Disclosures

Leases

Earnings per share

Consolidated Financial Statements

Deferred Tax Asset

Investments in Associates

Discontinuing Operations

Interim Financial Reporting

Intangible Assets

Impairment of Assets

Provisions, Contingent Assets and Contingent Liabilities

Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement

Financial Instruments Presentation

METHODOLOGY

The methodology of research is having a primary research by collecting data from bank and IT firms which jhelps in IFRS convergence through the way of questionare.It also comprises of direct interviews of Chartered Accountants who works in the IFRS conversion.

From the results of thw questionare Hypothesis is going to developed for the gap analysis.

Ho: The adoption of IFRS is necessary

H1: The present GAAP is sufficient no need of convergence

The above given factors are considered for identifying the hypothesis statements

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