IFRS® Standards are set by the International Accounting Standards Board (Board) and are used primarily by publicly accountable companies—those listed on a stock exchange and by financial institutions, such as banks. Authoritative interpretations of the Standards, which provide further guidance on how to apply them, are developed by the IFRS Interpretations Committee and called IFRIC® Interpretations.
Standards set by the Board's predecessor body, the International Accounting Standards Committee, are called IAS® Standards. These Standards have the same status as the IFRS Standards. Authoritative interpretations of those Standards, developed by the Standing Interpretations Committee, are called SIC® Interpretations. For more information about what we provide for free and why, please go to our unaccompanied Standards FAQ page.
The Board has also developed the IFRS for SMEs® Standard, which is used by small and medium-sized companies without public accountability.
We follow a thorough, transparent and participatory due process when we issue an IFRS Standard or an IFRIC Interpretation that helps companies better implement our Standards. Our standard-setting entails:
All IFRS due-process documents are posted online. The full process is described in detail in our Due Process Handbook.
Every five years, the Board conducts a comprehensive review and consultation to define international standard-setting priorities and develop its project work plan.
The Board can also add topics to its work plan if necessary between agenda consultations. This can include topics following Post-implementation Reviews of Standards; the IFRS Interpretations Committee may also request the Board review an issue.
We begin most projects with research—explore the issues, identify possible solutions and decide whether standard-setting is required. Often, we set out our ideas in a discussion paper and seek public comment.
If we find sufficient evidence that an accounting problem exists, the problem is sufficiently important to warrant changing a Standard or issuing a new one and a practical solution can be found, we begin standard-setting.
After a new Standard has been in use for a few years, the Board carries out research through a Post-implementation Review to assess whether the Standard is achieving its objective and, if not, whether any amendments should be considered. As a result of the Post-implementation Review, the Board may start a new research project. Find out more about PIRs here.
If the Board decides to amend a Standard or issue a new one, we generally review the research, including comments on the discussion paper, and propose amendments or Standards to resolve issues identified through research and consultation.
Proposals for a new Standard or an amendment to a Standard are published in an exposure draft for public consultation. To gather additional evidence, members of the Board and IFRS Foundation technical staff consult with a range of stakeholders from all over the world.
The Board analyses feedback and refines proposals before the new Standard, or an amendment to a Standard, is issued.
Our work doesn’t stop once a Standard is issued. We also support consistent application of the Standards and we make sure we maintain them.
This process includes consulting on the implementation of a new or amended Standard to identify any implementation or application problems that may need to be addressed. If issues arise, the IFRS Interpretations Committee may decide to create an IFRIC Interpretation of the Standard or recommend a narrow-scope amendment. Such amendments follow the Board's normal due process.