FRS 102 – potential transition pitfalls of new Irish GAAP – Part 2

FRS 102 – potential transition pitfalls of new Irish GAAP – Part 2

In this second article on transition, we consider some practical tips for applying the requirements of Section 35 (the transition section) of FRS 102.

The Financial Reporting Council issued a report called the Annual Review of Corporate Reporting 2015/2016 on 21 October 2016 encouraging smaller entities to ‘start their planning as soon as possible in order to ensure they are prepared for a smooth transition’.

The FRC stated that ‘small entities will also be applying FRS102 for the first time from 1 January 2016, which may pose some challenges for preparers, but should improve reporting in certain areas, as well as offering opportunities to reconsider the necessary disclosures.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that some of the larger private companies applying FRS 102 from 1 January 2015 could have started their planning for transition earlier; any entities yet to transition to new standards should start their planning as soon as possible to ensure they are prepared for a smooth transition.’

Here are some of the issues that may need close attention during the transition phase:

Dormant companies – make any changes before transition date

If any changes are planned that will affect the balances in dormant companies’ financial statements, it may be beneficial to make the changes before the date of transition. This should ensure that the company can take advantage of the exemption from restating its accounting policies.

Establish fair values at the appropriate time

Although it will often be possible to obtain fair values later, it will involve more effort and research than if the valuations are done as close as possible to the date to be reflected in the valuation.

Early identification of financial instruments

Make sure that contracts and agreements are reviewed to identify all financial instruments within your business at the earliest possible stage, including contracts such as derivatives that may not have previously been recognised on the balance sheet.

Some accounting options will be available only when the necessary steps have been taken by the transition date. Fair values are used extensively in the measurement of certain financial instruments (e.g. investment properties) and this information is gathered more easily at the time of transition than afterwards.

Keep contract terms basic wherever possible

Make sure all staff with responsibilities for negotiating contracts on behalf of the organisation, from sales and trade purchases to financing arrangements, are aware of the potential pitfalls associated with any unusual contract terms. It may be helpful to draw up a list of issues that need consideration or ensure prior approval before contracts are completed.

Modification of loan arrangements

When bank loans have been renegotiated under substantially different terms prior to the transition date, but there has not been a process of derecognizing the old liability and recognising a new one, the entity may apply the exemption in Section 35 to retain this treatment on transition.

However, this exemption does not apply if these renegotiations take place after the transition date, that is after 1 January 2015 for a calendar-year company. In such instances the comparative balance sheet will need restated.

Amortisation of intangible assets

When intangibles have previously been tested for impairment and not amortised, a remaining useful life will need to be established at the transition date. When the total estimated useful life of the intangible is estimated to be more than five years, reliable back-up evidence will be required to support the estimated total useful life and the remaining useful life at transition. This would often be available in the form of cash flow projections.

Translation of goodwill and fair value adjustments at closing rate

FRS 102 requires goodwill and fair value adjustments to be translated at the closing rate. This may differ from the current treatment as current Irish GAAP does not specify the rate to be used and therefore many entities have translated goodwill and fair value adjustments at the rate ruling at acquisition.


Section 1A of FRS 102 Not Applicable – Suggested Solution

Section 1A of FRS 102 Not Applicable – Suggested Solution

Section 1A of FRS 102 Not Applicable – Suggested Solution

The unwary reader of the latest version of FRS 102 could be forgiven for not realising that Section 1A Small Entities inserted into FRS 102 in September 2015 to accommodate some exemptions for certain qualifying ‘small’ entities, does not yet apply in the Republic of Ireland (RoI). This is because the necessary amendment to Irish company law has not yet been published nor enacted. We understand the necessary law is in draft but may now be delayed by the forthcoming election.

Three other developments are also delayed because they depend on the same legislation in the RoI:

1. Paragraph 19.23 of FRS 102 regarding the useful life of goodwill was updated in September 2015. This allowed that ‘if in exceptional circumstances, an entity is unable to make a reliable estimate of the useful life of goodwill, the life shall not exceed 10 years.’ This change was made in the UK following their implementation of the EU Accounting Directive. However, the equivalent change has not taken place in the RoI for the same reasons mentioned above. Therefore, the previous version of paragraph 19.23 still applies for the time being in RoI. That stated that the maximum life of goodwill, in the absence of a reliable estimate, shall not exceed 5 years.

2. FRS 105 the Micro-entities Regime, does not yet apply in the Republic of Ireland. It is expected that this legislation, when enacted, will exempt certain private companies (within certain criteria) from the requirement to disclose directors’ remuneration. They may also show all below market interest rate inter-company and directors’ loans at cost instead of amortised cost under FRS 102. The relevant criteria are that turnover must be less than €700,000, Balance Sheet Gross Assets less than €350,000 and less than 10 employees, provided two out of three of the criteria are satisfied for two consecutive years.

3. Appendix VI of FRS 102 which, in previous editions of the standard, listed the relevant RoI company law references, was not included in the September 2015 FRS 102 as the FRC state they will update the legislative references once the EU Accounting Directive is implemented.

To comply with EU Directives, the company legislation is required to be effective for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2016. It is not yet clear whether the legislation or its commencement provisions will allow for application to earlier accounting periods such as those beginning on/after 1 January 2015. 

Interim solution

In the meantime, for client companies that qualify (i.e. not regulated insurance intermediaries) the 2015 version of the FRSSE (Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities) is available for periods commencing on/after 1 January 2015 for one year only.

This standard is useful as it:

  • Allows for an exemption from the cash flow statement, which FRS 102 does not currently do, unless the company qualifies under FRS 101;
  • Allows for below market interest rate inter-company and directors’ loans to be stated at cost; 
  • Largely retains the old Irish GAAP accounting rules for one last year;
  • Avoids the need to transition to FRS 102 for the time being.