The interests of the academic and standard setting communities are sometimes regarded as being misaligned (for instance, see Fülbier, Hitz and Sellhorn, 2009; Singleton Green, 2010; Rutherford, 2010; and Singleton-Green, 2015). Academic research is often accused of lacking in relevance to standard setters, too technical to be understandable and/or poorly communicated. At the same time, standard setters are sometimes charged with not making full use of the reliable and independent evidence provided by academic studies when changing or introducing new standards. The International Accounting Standards Board Research Forum therefore represents a very welcome initiative by aiming to enhance discussion, debate and awareness of the activities, experience and ideas of both communities.
In late November, the fourth such forum was held in Brussels, in conjunction with Accounting in Europe and European Accounting Review. On the first day, academic papers were presented on a range of important accounting topics: how pensions affect investment, gaps and profit or loss in the IFRS Conceptual Framework, the relevance of deferred taxes and the introduction of disclosure principles. The presentations were excellent and were accompanied by insightful discussions by academics and IASB members. The second day was designed to provide academic input into the standard setting process through discussions of two important issues: financial instruments with the characteristics of equity and ‘What is the ‘interest’ in EBIT’? The discussions were based on case studies in breakout groups, which revealed some of the challenges in developing and applying different criteria to varied circumstances.
More details of the forum, including the slides from the academics’ presentations and the materials from the IASB case studies, are available here. The 2018 IASB Research Forum will be held in conjunction with Abacus and will take place on the 11th and 12th of November 2018 in Sydney.