Ind AS - the hinderances to come

A financial reporting system supported by strong governance, high quality standards and a sound regulatory framework is the key to economic development. Indeed, high quality standards of financial reporting, auditing and ethics form the foundations of the trust that investors place on financial information and therefore play an integral role in contributing to a country’s economic growth and financial stability. As the forces of globalisation prompt more and more countries to open their doors to foreign investment and as businesses expand across borders, both the public and private sectors are increasingly recognising the benefits of having a commonly understood financial reporting framework, supported by strong globally accepted standards. The benefits of a global financial reporting framework are numerous and include:
  • Greater comparability of financial information for investors;
  • Greater willingness on the part of investors to invest across borders;
  • Lower cost of capital;
  • More efficient allocation of resources; and
  • Higher economic growth.

Convergence is possible in two ways, i.e. either by adopting or adapting a standard. INDAS in India are being adapted while keeping in view the legal and other conditions prevailing in India. A phased implementation of INDAS has been notified as under:

  • 1st phase - In the first phase, companies (listed and unlisted) having net worth of Rs 500 crore or more and their holding, subsidiary, joint venture or associate companies will apply IndAS effective from the financial year commencing on or after April 1, 2016 for the preparation and presentation of financial statements. They will provide IndAS-based comparative figures for the previous year.
  • 2nd phase -  In the second phase, all listed companies and unlisted companies having net worth of Rs 250 crore or more and holding, subsidiary, joint venture or associate companies of those companies will apply IndAS effective from the financial year commencing on or after April 1, 2017. Those companies will provide IndAS-based comparative figures for the previous year.
  • Voluntarily - Any company, which is not mandated to apply IndAS, may choose to apply the same voluntarily effective from the financial year commencing on or after April 1, 2015 with comparative figures for the previous year. The choice is irrevocable.
INDAS Implementation has wide ranging impact for an organisation. Impact is felt on business, technology and stake holders. Considerable preparation is required internally in terms of gap analysis, guidelines, controls, training etc. Depending on the size, maturity and complexity of IT ecology, changes to transaction and analytical system could be significant. Finally, INDAS will have an impact (negatively or positively) on the way financial performance is reported.

Impact of Transition Date
INDAS requires the figures for the comparative year to be INDAS compliant. For transition to INDAS an entity has to follow the following steps,

  1. Adopt INDAS compliant accounting policies,
  2. Recognise, derecognise, revalue, and reclassify assets and liabilities to achieve INDAS compliance of the existing accounting system.
All the convergence journal entries are to be applied on the earliest date of the earliest presented year i.e. the transition date.

Structure of Financial Reports
The INDAS requires a new statement called Statement of Changes in Equity to be prepared. All items of Balance Sheet will be classified between current and non current. It also requires the present Profit and Loss account to be modified to include two section – one the profit and loss accounts and the other the Other Comprehensive Income. While the Profit and Loss account will continue to be comprising of all the items included in the current form of Profit and Loss account, the Other Comprehensive Income section will comprise of the following items:

  1. Revaluation surplus
  2. Actuarial gains and losses in defined benefit plans
  3. Gains and losses from investments in equity instruments designated as FVTOCI
  4. Gains and losses from financial assets designated as FVTOCI
  5. Gains and losses due to changes in liabilities credit risk  of financial liabilities designated as FVTOCI
  6. Gains and losses arising from translating financial statements of foreign operation
  7. Gains and losses on cash flow hedge instruments
  8. Changes in the value of the time value of options designated as the hedging instrument.
  9. Changes in the value of the forward elements of forward contracts
Changes in Valuation Process
INDAS requires assets and liabilities to be presented at Fair Value. A fair value shall be determined by management after considering the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. This valuation shall be carried out at least once every three year for all assets and liabilities except for goodwill and intangibles with an active market where it shall be carried out annually.

Identification of Valuation Unit
One of the important changes that have been bought in by INDAS is breaking down plant, property, and equipments to component level for the purpose of accounting. Thus if an equipment is comprised of units that are independently identifiable with a useful life different from other components of the equipment, these will be identified and reported separately. Differential depreciation rate will also apply on them.

Recognition of Unrealised Gains
Unlike the current practice of not recognising unrealised gains, except for asset revaluation, INDAS allows recognition of unrealised gains in numerous instances for e.g.
  • Upward movement of mark to market investments in equity.
  • Upward move of financial assets fair valued through the profit and loss account.
  • Recognition of certain revenues under the INDAS for revenue from contracts with customers.

Focus on Risk Management
Recognising importance of risk management for better corporate management, INDAS have laid out detailed methodology for accounting and disclosure on existence and usage of financial instruments. These instruments have been identified as excellent tools for financial risk management which may often double up to be a major source of financial risk. Entities will now have to measure and report potential impact of various sources of risk on their financial health. Sources of risk include, among others, credit, liquidity, and market risk. This will enable the users of the financial report to assess the exposure of the reporting entity to these risks.

Readiness Requirement
One of the major exercises that Entities need to undertake to be INDAS compliant is to review the chart of accounts with the various accounting and disclosure requirements. A review of the chart of account will reveal the gaps that the entity will face in acquiring information that are to be disclosed. The existing accounting system may be required to be altered along with the software to bridge these gaps.

Current Incompatibility
Current legal framework and requirement of INDAS poses areas of current incompatibilities those are to be addressed by the accounting and legal authorities. Such areas include, among others, treatment of preference share capital as debt instead of share capital, exclusion of proposed dividend from accounts, etc.
Another skill set that the converging entities will need to focus on is usage of XBRL – the new language for communication of financial data. XBRL stands for Extensible Business Reporting Language and is derived out of XML which is evolving as the standard style for communication of business data, particularly over the internet. It is being developed by a global consortium of large number of companies, organisations, and Government institutions and is being developed as an open standard usable by anyone without any licence fees.
The response to the implementation of INDAS in India depends on the extent of readiness of the implementing companies. Development of skills, planning for transition, and devising a strategy for managing the transition will mark the extent of readiness. Induction of INDAS will not only be a challenge to the accounting and auditing community but will also provide great opportunities for professional development.