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Fair value spoiler in IFRS adoption
June, 12th 2008

listed Satyam Computer Services rushed to embrace the new global accounting standard, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), much ahead of April 2011 deadline. In fact, the countrys fourth-largest software exporter posted its audited financial results for FY08 as per IFRS, saying it saw considerable value in its adoption. Drug maker and NYSE-listed Dr Reddys Laboratories has similar plans to adopt IFRS at the earliest. Infosys says its prepared to adopt IFRS, too.

Most Indian companies listed in the US or the UK are expected to follow suit, but the momentum may not be quite the same in the case of companies listed in India. Besides, the road to adoption is not easy. Typically, companies who are listed abroad or seek to attract funds from private equity or tap global bond markets would be quick to adopt IFRS, says ICAI former president TN Manoharan.

Globally, there is a convergence of view that an account of an entity should be understood by all countries. Thus, adoption of IFRS will reduce accounting compliance costs for companies listed overseas. But not all listed companies may be upbeat on early adoption of IFRS. Even adhering to the deadline may be tough. One of the stumbling blocks is the recognition of financial asset at fair value the amount for which an asset can be exchanged or liability settled between willing, knowledgeable parties in an arms length transaction.

The fair value concept, on the face of it, is easy to apply. But when you get into the nitty-gritties, it is tough to implement. The market should be mature and have depth for easy adoption, says ICAI president Ved Jain.
Agrees Insurance Regulatory Development Authority member actuary R Kannan. The fair value treatment of some of the assets of insurers may pose a challenge in the absence of reliable indices.

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