IASB Releases Guidance on Application of IFRS 9 During Time of Uncertainty Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has released the document, IFRS 9 and COVID-19—Accounting for Expected Credit Losses Applying IFRS 9 Financial Instruments in the Light of Current Uncertainty Resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Application of IFRS 9, Financial Instruments

The document responds to questions regarding the application of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 9, Financial Instruments, during this period of enhanced economic uncertainty arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The document was prepared for educational purposes, highlighting requirements within IFRS 9 that are relevant for companies considering how the pandemic affects their accounting for expected credit losses (ECL). It does not change, remove nor add to, the requirements in IFRS 9. The IASB intends it to support the consistent and robust application of IFRS 9.

The IASB developed IFRS 9 in response to requests by the G20 and others to provide more forward-looking information about loan losses than the predecessor Standard and to give transparent and timely information about changes in credit risk.

The document acknowledges that estimating ECL on financial instruments is challenging in the current circumstances and highlights the importance of companies using all reasonable and supportable information available, historic, current and forward-looking to the extent possible, when determining whether lifetime losses should be recognized on loans and in measuring ECL.

Judgment in Accounting for ECLs under IFRS 9

The document reinforces that IFRS 9 requires judgment in application and does not provide bright lines nor a mechanistic approach in accounting for ECLs. Accordingly, companies may need to adjust their approaches to forecasting and determining when lifetime losses should be recognized to reflect the current environment. The IFRS Foundation and the IASB continue to work in close cooperation with regulators and others regarding the application of IFRS 9, and the document encourages companies to consider guidance provided by prudential and securities regulators.

The IFRS Foundation and the IASB continue to work in close cooperation with regulators and others regarding the application of IFRS 9, and the document encourages companies to consider guidance provided by prudential and securities regulators.

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