Accounting Standards

Sustainability reporting standards need more clarity, ACCA warns

In its official response to the consultation, ACCA said it welcomed and supported the foundation’s proposal for the new board to have an investor focus

Proposed changes to the IFRS Foundation’s Constitution to create an International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to set sustainability standards need more clarity, ACCA has warned.  

In its official response to the consultation, ACCA said it welcomed and supported the foundation’s proposal for the new board to have an investor focus, but it also “seeks greater clarity over the scope of the standards it will introduce”. 

ACCA now recommends that the IFRS Foundation defines the meaning of the terms “enterprise value” and “sustainability” in the context of the standard-setting proposals more clearly.

It added that the name ‘IFRS sustainability standards’ may “not accurately reflect the intended scope of the future standards”.

ACCA agreed with the proposal that members of the new board will have professional backgrounds that reflect a “diverse” range of expertise and roles, however, adding that the IFRS Foundation should also consider the need for expertise outside of traditional capital markets.

Yen-pei Chen, ACCA corporate reporting and tax manager, said: “In ACCA’s view, there’s a need for a global baseline of standards on a wide range of topics, extending beyond financial performance and position, but equally beyond environmental or social impact. 

“They include intangibles not recognised on the balance sheet, such as innovative processes, know-how and corporate culture as represented by the six interconnected capitals in the International Integrated Reporting (<IR>) Framework.” 

She added: “As a global professional body, we also want to see the composition of the Trustees and Advisory Council more actively reviewed. The geographical make-up of the Monitoring Board may also need change, to ensure that Africa and South Asia are appropriately represented.

“Although this may not need to be reflected in the Constitution, close collaboration between the IASB and the new board will be crucial. We encourage the IFRS Foundation to consider developing a conceptual framework for corporate reporting as a whole, thus strengthening the link between financial and non-financial reporting.”

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