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Ipsas conceptual framework to be ready in 2014

By Nick Mann | 18 April 2013

Work on the conceptual framework for International Public Sector Accounting Standards is on track to be completed by the middle of 2014.

The Exposure Draft of the framework’s final section, which covers presentation, was approved at last month’s meeting of the Ipsas Board in Abu Dhabi and has now been released for consultation.

CIPFA policy and technical director Ian Carruthers, who is a member of the Ipsas Board, told PF International that the board’s approval of the presentation Exposure Draft was a critical step in completing the eight-year project.

‘It means we are on track for having finished the whole conceptual framework project by the middle of 2014,’ he said.

The first four chapters of the framework were published in January, setting out the principles that will underpin the development of accrual-based public sector accounting standards.

Carruthers explained that the framework would be ‘influential’ in all standards-setting activity undertaken by the Ipsas Board in the future. ‘It will certainly influence the development of new standards and will also potentially drive the revision of existing standards,‘ he explained.

‘It’s also a clear statement of what the board sees as the public sector perspective in standard setting,’ he added.

Carruthers noted that the phase of the framework considered at last month’s meeting was particularly significant because it addressed how public sector bodies should present their general purpose financial reports.

‘Presentation is not an area that standard setters internationally – and this includes the International Accounting Standards Board – have covered in their conceptual frameworks, so it’s new ground,’ he explained.

The four-month consultation for the presentation section, which closes on August 15, will give ‘literally anybody who’s got an interest’ the chance to comment on the document, he said.

‘Once the consultation period is closed, in mid-August, we’ll analyse what’s been said, look at the arguments put forward to see whether that persuades us to change any of what’s in the exposure draft, before we move on with finalising it,’ Carruthers said.

A summary of the issues covered at last month’s meeting has just been released. In particular, it was agreed to hold up publication of the preface to the conceptual framework to ensure the whole projects ties together closely.

Carruthers explained: ‘We’ve finalised the list of issues and the way in which we want to discuss them, but we’ve held back issuing that particular piece of work until the latter stages of the conceptual framework project.’

He noted, however, that the preface would be made available informally on the International Federation of Accountants’ website in the interim.

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IPSAS is way behind IFRS in convergence. Even on some very fundamental issues like the capaitalisation of borrowing costs, the standards are not in agreement because IPSAS is behind. Very few countries / international institutions are using IPSAS but quite a few are using IFRS. In the UK, the adoption of IPSAS would be a costly and pointless retrograde step for the public sector. It is hard to see how it will happen. The business case to this is not viable in the same way that the whole of government accounts is not a viable business case.

Warren Park (19/04/2013 16:26:56)

i do like the proposal and i wish that it should be implemented as soon as possible.

chepngetich jacqueline (06/07/2013 09:32:13)