IASB warned of risk from SMEs

The needs of smaller private businesses need to be given higher priority by
standard-setters and regulators in order to reduce compliance burdens, according
to accounting’s global representative.

The International Federation of Accountants has warned the international
standard-setters of both accounting and auditing standards to keep it simple for
SMEs or risk losing nations from the global harmonisation process.

‘We believe the goals of standard-setters like the International Accounting
Standards Board and the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board
should be to develop succinct, relevant and understandable guidance that eases
the compliance burden on SMEs and ensures that benefits exceed costs,’ said IFAC
president Graham Ward.

‘This essentially means that the costs of preparing, auditing and
disseminating financial statements should be proportionate to the information
needs of the financial statement users.’

The concerns have been raised following the publication of the IASB’s
discussion paper on accounting standards for SMEs. The paper sparked fears that
small businesses may face overly burdensome requirements.

‘Concerns over the high costs of complying with full international financial
reporting standards have prompted many countries, particularly those with
developing economies, to look at alternatives to international standards or to
delegate standard-setting to organisations that may not be appropriate for such
a role,’ said IFAC chief executive Ian Ball.

‘Such actions are not in the public interest and, therefore, it is critical
that standard-setters be conscious of the effect of compliance costs on small
and medium entities.’

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