Information flows are the lifeblood of the relationships between providers, consumers and regulators.
We can help, not only because we are experts in measurement and reporting, but also because we are committed to opening up discussion.
The needs and concerns of those who use information should be listened to and those who provide information have to explain the complexities involved. Our better information theme will explore these issues.
Measurement in financial services is the first issues paper from our better information theme.
It suggests that more work is required on matching measurement practices in the financial services industry to the needs of different users of financial information, despite the fact that the financial services industry has the greatest concentration of measurement and modelling skills of any industry.
It challenges some of the apparent assumptions among evangelists of fair value (or any other single "pure" basis). We propose that the financial services do more to take a lead in explaining diverse financial information needs to reach a shared understanding of what information might be most appropriate under different circumstances.
Measurement is a core expertise of the ICAEW and its members. This is evidenced by the report Measurement in financial reporting, published in October 2006 as part of the Information for better markets series, which was posted on the websites of the International Accounting Standards Board and the US Financial Accounting Standards Board ahead of their joint roundtables on measurement in early 2007. This issues paper builds on ideas and ideas set out in that report and in other recent publications from the ICAEW.
As well as producing Measurement in financial reporting, the ICAEW commissioned papers from internationally renowned accounting researchers for a conference on measurement in December 2006. The papers, together with responses from leading practitioners, were included in a special issue of the academic journal Accounting and Business Research published in 2007.
The ICAEW also publishes other leading work in the field, including in October 2007 An Experiment in 'Fair Value Accounting a review of the state of the art in research and thought leadership on accounting for life assurance in the UK and continental Europe.'
In October 2007 the ICAEW published a report for the European Commission entitled EU implementation of IFRS and the Fair Value Directive (PDF 158kb/24 pages). This is the most authoritative study to be published on the impact of introducing IFRS. It contains detailed consideration of the accounting practices followed by a sample of banks and insurance companies and of accounting for financial instruments by companies generally.