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August 15, 2017

IFRS Foundation perceived as not reactive enough to a changing world

By Stephanie Wix

Research conducted by independent research agency Ebiquity has revealed that the main reputational weakness for the IFRS Foundation is the perception that it is not timely and does not respond quickly enough to a changing world.

The research was conducted between February and May 2017 and interviewed 50 senior stakeholders from around the world. Additionally, there were online surveys of members of the IFRS Foundation’s advisory bodies, including the IFRS Advisory Council and the Accounting Standards Advisory Forum.

Almost half of interviewees did not believe that the Foundation has the balance right between quantity of due process and speed. According to detractors there is a tendency to be too technical or conceptual, though many cite the difficulty in balancing transparency with a fast pace. The balance can be addressed by improving processes and focusing efforts on simple and practical standards.

The report of the findings said that even though nearly three in five external stakeholders say they would definitely speak highly of the Foundation, opinion is divided on whether the Foundation manages an appropriate stakeholder balance. The report stated that while a majority are confident that it does manage an appropriate balance, almost a third do not think the balance is right, particularly in Asia Oceania and Africa. Emerging markets and users were identified as the main groups that are underrepresented.

However, most interviewees in the report said that the Foundation is effective in its relationship management as they listen and take viewpoints into account as well as being available to stakeholders. Preparers who are disengaged from the Foundation would like to see more active engagement, for example such as informal dialogue, training and events.

The Trustees of the IFRS® Foundation, responsible for the governance and oversight of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), published the findings of the research to better understand stakeholder attitudes towards the work of the IFRS Foundation and the Board. Regarding the Foundations public interest mission, the majority agree that it is being met.

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