IASB does not engage!

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Accountancy Age has reported that:

A global accountability report published today by the One World Trust, credits the International Accounting Standards Board for having the best developed external stakeholder engagement capabilities amongst 30 of the world's most powerful global organisations.

As they say:

The news may come as something of a surprise to critics of the body, the Publish What You Pay coalition in particular, who have argued that the body never listened to their concerns over the segmental reporting standard IFRS 8.

Report author Rob Lloyd apparently said:

the IASB has developed procedures that bring transparency, predictability and consistency to the way its key constituencies are involved in its activities and should be congratulated on its achievements.

The report trailer is here, the report is not available until tomorrow, but I'll say right now that this is a farce. This is what the European Parliament had to say on the IASB's consultation processes when (for the first time ever) they met some opposition as they did on IFRS 8:

Stresses that Parliament will actively use its right of scrutiny; underlines therefore that the IASB/IASCF and the Commission in particular must engage more closely with Parliament and European stakeholders than they have done so far, because failure to do so has caused serious problems as, for example, with IFRS 8; considers that it should be involved in the earliest stages of the standard setting process in order to avoid significant delays in the endorsement process;

Stresses that the Commission in all cases should follow its own principles of better regulation, and that, in particular regarding international accounting standards, it must ensure that impact assessments are carried out at the earliest stages in the development of international accounting standards or interpretation, and provide the necessary support; underlines that such impact assessments must incorporate quantitative information and reflect an equilibrium between stakeholders;

These comments are irreconcilable with the award. They make it abundantly clear that in reality the IASB entered into a sham consultation on IFRS 8 and never once had intention of changing its proposal. Far from being congratulated on their procedure the IASB should be condemned for their profound cynicism and contempt for consultation. It was only massive external pressure in the press and Parliament that brought them to account and even now there is no evidence at all that they have any intention of really complying with the European Parliament's requests.

And there are other reasons for suggesting the IASB should not have got this award.

First to call it a not for profit organisation is a straightforward farce. It is funded by the Big 4 and has been enormously successful at generating profit for them.

Second it is based in a tax haven to reduce regulatory obligation.

Third it is not clear to whom it is accountable for what, so how can its engagement be meaningful?

Fourth, the moment it finishes consultation it charges for all its publications even though they have the force of law, and as such are deemed to be known by those who have to comply with them. This is a straightforward affront to the concept of stakeholder engagement and an abuse of privilege.

There are jokes, bad taste jokes and sick jokes. This award comes into the latter category.

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