Business Times

New accounting standard – IFRS – clearer to the industry

The new accounting standard "International Financial Reporting Standards" (IFRS) scheduled to be introduced to the formal banking and finance sector by 31st December 2011, has become a focal point to both the industry, regulators and auditors, a private finance company said.

Commenting on its impact on the main concern area of asset valuation to current market trends, Sinhaputhra Finance PLC's Managing Director Ravana Wijeyeratne said that based on its application certain companies may have such large gaps thus directly affecting their net book values and hence possible impacts to share prices.

In such a scenario the possibility for companies having fixed assets such as buildings and properties carrying values below market will have positive impacts, whilst the reverse could also occur and hence it depends entirely on the individual financial institution, he said in a press release.

While overall, it is still early to comment accurately, he noted that with the efforts made by the Central Bank and leading audit companies in organizing seminars; the possible impacts of IFRS are becoming clearer to the industry.

He said that whilst local accounting standards were primarily rule based in the past, the new IFRS standards would embrace a principle based system.

According to Mr. Wijeyeratne, a member of the Finance Houses Association's executive committee, the Chairman of the council Kamal Yatawara has appointed a committee headed by Shermal Jayasooriya to invite experts as well as other CFO's of the sector to formulate such a paper drawing from the experience of other countries with mature practices, and taking into account local conditions and limitations.
IFRS highlights that historical cost is not reflective of the current day, and that nobody would consider selling their stakes at net book value for this reason.

In essence IFRS reduces the gap between the Balance sheet and real market values brining in better substance to financial statements adding to investor confidence. The balance sheets of Sri Lanka with this standard in full force will be recognizable, understandable and comparable by investors globally.

“All this augurs well for international investor confidence in a market which is geared to propel with 9% growth rates requiring a doubling of GDP to US$100 billion in a matter of five years,” he added.

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