Fitch Reviews Accounting Rule Changes for 2014 Reporting

A newly-published report from credit ratings agency (CRA) Fitch Ratings, entitled
‘Accounting and Financial Reporting: 2015 Global Outlook’
, examines the changes expected in 2014 accounts.

For banks reporting under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) the most significant new standards for 2014 accounts are IFRS 10, 11 and 12. Some banks adopted these standards in 2013, so they will not change their treatment this year. For the remaining European Union (EU) banks, the scope of consolidation may change.

IFRS 10 and 11 have already been implemented in 2014 interim accounts, but the additional disclosures IFRS 12 requires for unconsolidated structured entities will only be released with 2014 full-year accounts.

The balance sheet effect of the new standards varies. Gross assets are most likely to change. IFRS 10 typically increases gross assets as previously unconsolidated entities are brought on balance sheet. IFRS 11 conversely reduces gross assets as it prohibits proportionate consolidation for ‘joint ventures’. For some banks, equity is also affected, although typically outside of equity shareholders’ funds, muting the effect on regulatory capital.

For non-financial corporates reporting under IFRS, IFRS 11 is likely more significant as joint ventures are common in a number of sectors. By prohibiting proportionate consolidation, gross balance sheet and income statement values are reduced for affected companies. Profitability should not be affected unless the joint venture is loss making.

For entities that report under US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) the changes to accounting rules for 2014 reporting are relatively minor. Among the updates that apply, ASU 2013/11 requires certain tax benefits to be presented net rather than gross and ASU 2013/05 clarifies when a cumulative translation adjustment can be released upon disposal of an interest in a foreign affiliate.

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