The dti and the Financial Reporting Standards Council (FRSC) hosted the FRSC’s inaugural conference on 11 October 2017.
The conference brought together delegates from across the accounting profession. The delegates included representatives from the Professional Accounting Organisations; SAICA; SAIPA; SAIBA; academia; commerce and industry; and several local regulators, including the SARB, the CIPC and the IRBA.
The FRSC was also honoured to host Darrel Scott of the IASB and Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu of the IFRS Foundation at the conference.
The conference was held at the IDC Conference Centre in Sandton. The Chairman of the FRSC, Dr Suresh Kana, welcomed delegates to the conference with a background to the formation of the FRSC, the rich history of accounting in South Africa and insight into future developments in the corporate reporting landscape locally and globally. He also spoke about the role that accountants will need to play in this rapidly changing environment to remain relevant and rebuild trust with the public.
Desmond Ramabulana, Director, Company Law and Policy, at the dti’s CCRD, gave the welcome and opening address.
The agenda for the one-day conference covered a host of topics with the objective of providing expert insight into various technical matters. Darrel Scott presented an IASB Update covering the latest developments at the IASB. Topics he discussed included a brief discussion of IFRS 17, current IASB standard-setting activities, such as the Materiality Practice Statement recently issued, and the ongoing projects of the Board relating to better communication in financial reporting.
Professor Nkuhlu shared insight into the role of IFRS standards in enhancing trust in financial markets, a topic that is particularly relevant in our current environment.
The remainder of the day was filled with panel discussions. Our panellists engaged on the following topics:
– Better communication in corporate reporting and the impact of technology on financial reporting;
– Revenue recognition;
– IFRS for SMEs; and
– The Reduced Disclosure Framework.
Better communication in corporate reporting and the impact of technology on financial reporting
The panel was chaired by Christine Ramon, deputy chairman of the FRSC. Panellists were Linda de Beer, corporate reporting and governance expert; Stephen Brickett, group financial accountant and a member of the group’s finance executive committee of Standard Bank; Dawn Earp, a member of the FRSC and CFO at Rand Refinery; Zubair Wadee, Technical Director at PwC; and Fikile Zwane, Technical Director at SNG.
The panellists shared their views on the strength of corporate reporting and integrated reporting in South Africa; the benefits of integrated reporting and integrated thinking to preparers; and the transformative impact that technology is expected to have on reporting.
Revenue Recognition and Leases
The conference agenda included panel discussions on two standards recently introduced into the IASBs suite of standards, IFRS 15, Revenue from contracts with customers, and IFRS 16, Leases.
The panels were chaired by Garth Coppin, member of the FRSC, and Nelly Shiluvana, Technical Director at EY, respectively. Panellists discussed the practical implementation processes they are currently undergoing to adopt these standards.
IFRS 15 is effective for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018 and IFRS 16 is effective for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019. A key message that emerged from both panel discussions was a call to begin the implementation process as soon as possible as the standards require significant investment in technology, review of contracts and potentially even a review of performance contracts.
The panel discussing IFRS 15 comprised Ben Samwell, General Manager Financial Accounting at MTN; Divan van der Merwe, Head of Statutory Reporting at Naspers; Cynthia Mbili, Head of Technical Services at SNG; and Zubair Wadee, Technical Director at PwC.
The IFRS 16 panellists were Meroonisha Kerber, Financial Controller at AngloGold Ashanti; Bongeka Nodada, Project Director of Financial Reporting Standards at SAICA; and Nicole Wainer, Head of Statutory Reporting at Sasol.
IFRS for SMEs
Bruce Mackenzie, a member of the FRSC, chaired a lively session on IFRS for SMEs. Panel members who contributed to this discussion were Azim Omar, Technical Director at EY; Justine Combrink, Technical Director at Mazars; Darryl Fordham,
Technical Director at Nolands SA; and Raymond Chamboko, Director at W Consulting and a member of the IASB SME Implementation Group (SMEIG).
The panellists discussed the perceived benefits of applying IFRS for SMEs in South Africa; the recent amendments to IFRS for SMEs that are effective in 2017; and whether an additional framework that may be applied by South African micro-entities should be explored.
Reduced Disclosure Framework
The FRSC has recently published a Discussion Paper proposing a Reduced Disclosure Framework. The Discussion Paper may be accessed on the FRSC webpage at: https://www.thedti.gov.za/business_regulation/frsc_discussion_paper.jsp.
Professor Danie Coetsee, Chairman of the FRTC, provided an overview of the framework and the discussion questions on which feedback is being sought. Kim Bromfield, a member of the FRSC, then chaired a panel discussion on this topic. The panellists were Professor Coetsee; Theunis Schoeman, Head of Technical at Grant Thornton; Graeme Berry, Technical Director at Deloitte; and Bruce Thomas, Head IFRS Advisory and Special Projects at Nedbank.
The panellists unpacked the Discussion Paper, focusing on the proposed scope of the framework and proposed exemptions included in the paper.
Taxonomy and XBRL
The final session was presented by Hennie Viljoen of the CIPC, who discussed the CIPC’s project on XBRL and the requirements for issuers to submit their accounts in this format from July 2018.
The FRSC extends sincere gratitude to all delegates who attended the conference and contributed to its success. We also thank all the panellists for their time and contributions, as well as the dti for its support in organising the event.
The FRSC will be hosting its next conference in October 2018 when the IFRS Trustees Foundation will be meeting in South Africa.
Persons and organisations that are interested in the activities of the FRSC should monitor the dti website (http://www.dti.gov.za/business-regulations/docs to be advised of the release of any new Exposure Drafts for public comment.
The FRSC welcomes participation in the standard setting process in South Africa, and therefore encourages stakeholders to be part of this process.