IASB proposes new IFRS standard

The International Accounting Standards Board has published proposals for a new accounting standard that would require companies subject to rate regulation to give investors better information about their financial performance.

Rate regulation, which is common in some industries, including the utilities and public transport industries, determines the amount a company can charge its customers for goods or services supplied to them and the period when the company can charge that amount.

In some cases, the period when a company supplies goods or services differs from the period when the company can charge customers for those goods or services—and thus differs from the period when the company reports revenue in its income statement.

When those differences in timing occur, the revenue a company reports for a period in its income statement and the assets and liabilities it reports in its balance sheet do not give a complete picture of the amount that the rate regulation entitles the company to charge for goods or services supplied in that period.

Currently, IFRS Standards do not require companies to give investors information about those differences in timing.

The proposed Standard would introduce a requirement for companies to give investors such information by reporting regulatory assets and regulatory liabilities in their balance sheet, and related regulatory income and regulatory expense in their income statement.

This information would complement the information companies already provide applying current IFRS Standards and give investors a more complete picture. The additional information would help investors understand which fluctuations in the relationship between a company’s revenue and expenses are caused by differences in timing and enable investors to make better assessments of the company’s prospects for future cash flows.

Hans Hoogervorst, Chair of the Board, said: “Rate regulation can have a big impact on a company’s revenue and profit, but currently investors don’t get the full picture of this impact. Our proposed new IFRS Standard will require additional information to give investors a more complete picture.”

The proposed Standard would replace IFRS 14 Regulatory Deferral Accounts.

Deadline for comments is 30 June 2021.