Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another IFRS veteran

Lessons from the trenches

I have previously spoken on this blog about the experiences in other jurisdictions such as the EU and Australia when they did the conversions. There were two related issues here.

  • Start early
  • Avoid work-arounds - you should embed the IFRS policies and procedures in your systems and policies do not have quick and ugly fixes using Excel for example at the corporate level. I know you all love Excel. It is useful. Please avoid stop gap "solutions". If you work that way you will have to do "conversion the sequel" to fix the problems you would have created just to get the job done.

There are a lot of reasons to start early. It is not just a make work program for accounting firms and consultants. You really need the time to do a thorough diagnostic and set up a rigorous plan. You need to identify those non accounting devils like stuff in your contracts that refers to financial measures. You also need to get your systems plans in place. For some smaller companies this may not be an issue. Do not forget that you will have to do parallel reporting in 2010 to get comparatives for 2011. In addition do you really want to be doing work-arounds for componentization of depreciation at the end of 2010. Time is running short - just over a year for calendar year reporters.

I listened to an E&Y US webinar yesterday. The subject was IFRS issues in the Oil and Gas industry. On the call was Michael Starkie, Chief Accounting Officer at BP, who was involved in the 2005 conversion to IFRS in the UK, and who in the words of the moderator made some "incredibly insightful" comments. I would agree. It was interesting to note that BP started 3 years before the implementation date on it's conversion project!

The webinar contains a lot of information about accounting and taxation for oil and gas (it is from a US perspective, but my guess is that if you are in the industry you are familiar with US GAAP both FASB and SEC).

The webinar can be accessed on the E&Y Thought Center site (you will have to register) and it will be available in archived version in about a week.

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