Small medium sized entities and IFRS


On 9th July, the IASB released that "The IFRS for SMEs is a self-contained standard of less than 230 pages, designed to meet the needs and capabilities of small and medium-sized entities (SMEs), which are estimated to account for over 95 per cent of all companies around the world". [1] 

Small Medium sized entities (SMEs) are entities that publish general purpose of financial statements for external users and do not have public accountability. The standards setters' saw that companies with public accountability would use full IFRS and all other for- profit entities would use IFRS for SMEs. The IASB defined public accountability to mean public companies and those holding assets in a fiduciary capacity for outsiders such as banks, credit unions, insurance companies, broker dealers and mutual funds. IFRS for SMEs is viewed as an accounting framework for private entities, that are not of size nor have the resources to useful IFRS. In the United States, the term SME would cover many private entities.

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Under section 382 and 465 of the companies act 2006 SME is defined as one that has a turnover of no more than £6.5million, a balance sheet of no more than £3.26million and no more than 50 employees. A medium-sized company has a turnover of not more than £25.9 million, a balance sheet total of not more than £12.9 million and not more than 250 employees. [2] 

IASB motive for issuing the standard is because the types and needs of users of SME financial statements are often different from the types and needs of users of public company financial statements and other entities that would likely use full IFRS. It is planned to meet the requirements of equity investors in companies in public capital markets. This covers various issues with a lot of assistance and includes information that is relevant for public companies. Those who use financial statement for SMEs do not have the same requirements and they focus more on assessing short-term cash flows, liquidity and solvency. When planning IFRS for SMEs, IASB's twin goals are to meet the users' needs at the same time balance costs and benefits from a preparer viewpoint. IFRS for SMEs was designed to meet that need. Many SMEs around the world, including private companies in the United States, will have the option of using a much simplified, IFRS-based accounting framework to prepare their financial statements.

The release of this standard is designed to relieve the burden of IFRS reporting for SMEs. However, several SMEs say that the full IFRS is too long as it is 2000 pages where as the revised version for SMEs is only 230 pages. However, it is generally not relevant to SME and it is likely to trigger an increase in the number of countries where IFRS replaces existing national GAAP as the primary basis for local statutory financial reporting. For example in UK the IASB has already issued a consultation paper asking for a comment by February 2010 on proposals that would replace existing UK GAAP with IFRS or IFRS for SMEs by 2012. [3] 

IFRS for SMEs is a self-contained standard of less than 230 pages. It is organised by topic and each topic presented in a separate numbered section. The section number followed by the paragraph number identifies the cross- references to the paragraphs .Paragraph numbers are in the form xx.yy. xx is the section number and yy is the paragraph number within that section. IFRS for SMEs includes examples that include monetary amounts and the measuring unit is currency unit (CU).

Many of the principles in full IFRS for recognising and measuring assets, liabilities income and expenses have been simplified. The topics that were not important were omitted some accounting policies not allowed, simplifications to the measurements and principles and fewer disclosures [4] . As the standard is issued. Its objective is to develop a set of high quality reasonable and enforceable global standards. The IASB tends to review this version after it has been in use for two years. After every three years a set of corrections will be issued to tackle any issues that may happen.

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It will provide a framework that lets financial statements to be prepared and that can be used by lenders, traders and other creditors outside investors, credit rating agencies and other external parties. The goal is to improve the SMEs access to capital

SMEs with substantial export operations should carry out intensive analysis of the reporting standards before reaching a decision. "Companies should not simply assume that changing to IFRS is a sound business investment. Firstly, they must carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages," advises Winkeljohann". [5] 

The advantages of the IFRS for SMEs are that it is easy to read and apply and will help companies reduce reporting costs for multinational companies. It will help lenders and investors compare the financial statements on the international standards. Companies that prepare accounts based on this standard will benefit those that do not want to change their method of reporting. Better comparability with other companies with other countries and competitors as all the accounts are in the same format. It will help them ease their burden of financial statement preparation for private entities. Full IFRS, of existing financial reporting in the global markets, provides and guides with respect to accounting and revelation. If companies try to find public financing for their subsidiaries they are best to do so by using full IFRS to avoid the need to convert their accounting down the road.

Companies applying IFRS for SMEs can also have disadvantages. One main disadvantage is that the full IFRS has difficult measurements and needs many revelations that are needed to prepare annually. It is complex and a burden for example with regard to the wide range of disclosure requirements.

IFRS for SMEs allows insight into the company that should not be provided to the vast public. Users of SMEs financial statements generally have possibility to require any information from the company without depending on financial statements. It is not attractive for the participating SMEs from a cost- benefit.

In UK, there are many similar standards to IFRS for SMEs and FRSSE is one of them standards. FRSSE does not need cash flow in the company to produce cash flow accounts and it allows consolidate financial statements but does not consider it necessary. IFRS for SMEs focuses on true and fair value. However, FRSSE focuses on classification and cost measurement, which is a straight forward accounting way in the UK. A true and fair IFRS permit countries to communicate and share out information whereas the FRSSE does not. FRSSE needs deferred tax to be provided on most timing differences and IFRS for SMEs has a different measurement basis.