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ACC341 Accounting Theory

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Question:

Answering Q1

A well-designed answer that addresses the specific aspects of marking rubric will:

        Introduction

  1. Include a copy of the news article.
  2. Identify, describe and discuss the key issues reported in the news article.
  3. Link the major issues to ACC341 topics and theories:
  4. i) Identify a range of relevant accounting theories that are applicable to the issues reported in the news article.
  5. ii) Deconstruct and evaluate the issues reported in the news article through the use of theories.

iii) Present a logical conclusion regarding the significance of the issues reported in the news article.

  1. Critically evaluate the underlying assumptions of the accounting theories, in particular, with regard to their application to the issues identified in the news article.

Conclusion

There is a lot of subject content contained within the above design, and the question has a tight word-count, so your answers will need to be concise. The following are directed links that form the core of the resources and readings necessary to answer Q1.

Introduction                                                                                                                                       ≈65 words

Outline what your paper will be presenting  Include a copy of the news article 1 mark

Here is a link to the news article that we reviewed in class: 

Here is how to reference the news article:

Reference List

                IASB publishes revised Conceptual Framework (2018, 29 March). Deloitte IAS Plus. Retrieved from             

In-text

("IASB publishes Conceptual Framework", 2018)

  • Take a screen shot from the website and paste a copy of the article into your Word doc.
  • Format the image: crop, border.
  • Label the image: Figure 1: IASB publishes revised Conceptual Framework.
  • Reference the image: ("IASB publishes Conceptual Framework", 2018 )

Figure 1: IASB publishes revised Conceptual Framework ("IASB publishes Conceptual Framework", 2018)Here is the text for the news article that we reviewed in class:

IASB publishes revised Conceptual Framework

29 Mar 2018

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has published its revised 'Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting'. Included are revised definitions of an asset and a liability as well as new guidance on measurement and de-recognition, presentation and disclosure. The new Conceptual Framework does not constitute a substantial revision of the document as was originally intended when the project was first taken up in 2004. Instead the IASB focused on topics that were not yet covered or that showed obvious shortcomings that needed to be dealt with. 

Background

The Conceptual Framework had been left largely unchanged since its inception in 1989. In 2004, the IASB and the FASB decided to review and revise the conceptual framework, however, changed priorities and the slow progress in the project led to the project being abandoned in 2010 after only Phase A of the original joint project had been finalised and introduced into the existing framework as Chapters 1 and 3 in September 2010. Phase D saw the publication of a discussion paper and an exposure draft but was never finalised. The Boards discussed Phases B and C quite extensively without any consultation document ever being issued, and Phases E to H largely remained untouched. 

During the 2011 agenda consultation many participants called for the IASB to reactivate and finalise the conceptual framework project given the multitude of open conceptual issues it is facing in many of its current projects. As a result, the IASB officially added the project to its agenda again in September 2012, this time as an IASB-only project and no longer aimed at a substantial revision of the framework but focused on those topics that are not yet covered (e.g. presentation and disclosure) or that show obvious shortcomings that need to be dealt with. As a first step, a Discussion Paper covering all aspects of the framework project was published in July 2013, followed by a comprehensive Exposure Draft in May 2015.

Summary of main aspects of the Conceptual Framework

The 2018 Conceptual Framework is structured into an introductory explanation on the status and purpose of the Conceptual Framework, eight chapters, and a glossary:

Chapter

Topic

 

Status and purpose of the Conceptual Framework

1

The objective of general purpose financial reporting

2

Qualitative characteristics of useful financial information

3

Financial statements and the reporting entity

4

The elements of financial state­ments

5

Recognition and de-recognition

6

Measurement

7

Presentation and disclosure

8

Concepts of capital and capital maintenance

Appendix A

Glossary

The key content of each chapter is summarised below:

Status and purpose of the Conceptual Framework.

The first section notes that the Conceptual Framework's purpose is to assist the IASB in developing and revising IFRSs that are based on consistent concepts, to help preparers to develop consistent accounting policies for areas that are not covered by a standard or where there is choice of accounting policy, and to assist all parties to understand and interpret IFRS. It maintains that the framework does not override any specific IFRS. Should the IASB decide to issue a new or revised pronouncement that is in conflict with the framework, the IASB will highlight the fact and explain the reasons for the departure in the basis for conclusions?

Chapter 1 - The objective of general purpose financial reporting.

This is the first of the two chapters that were finalised as part of the joint project with the FASB in 2010, so there are only limited changes. The chapter notes that objective of general purpose financial reporting is to provide financial information about the reporting entity that is useful to existing and potential investors, lenders and other creditors in making decisions relating to providing resources to the entity. This is identified as information about the entity’s economic resources and the claims against the reporting entity as well as information about the effects of transactions and other events that change a reporting entity’s economic resources and claims. The chapter newly stresses that information can also help users to assess management’s stewardship of the entity’s economic resources. 

Chapter 2 - Qualitative characteristics of useful financial information.

This is the second of the two chapters that were finalised as part of the joint project with the FASB in 2010 (published as Chapter 3 in the 2010 Conceptual Framework). Again, changes are limited. The chapter explains the fundamental qualitative characteristics (relevance and faithful representation) and the enhancing qualitative characteristics (comparability, verifiability, timeliness, and understandability) of useful financial information and notes the cost constraint. Materiality is noted as an entity-specific aspect of relevance. The chapter reintroduces an explicit reference to the notion of prudence and states that the exercise of prudence supports neutrality. Prudence is defined as the exercise of caution when making judgements under conditions of uncertainty. New is also a clarification that faithful representation means representation of the substance of an economic phenomenon instead of representation of its legal form only. 

Chapter 3 - Financial Statements and the reporting entity.

The chapter states the objective of financial statements (to provide information about an entity's assets, liabilities, equity, income and expenses that is useful to financial statements users in assessing the prospects for future net cash inflows to the entity and in assessing management's stewardship of the entity's resources) and sets out the going concern assumption. It only mentions two statements explicitly: the statement of financial position and the statement(s) of financial performance (the latter being the former statement of comprehensive income); the rest are "other statements and notes".

The chapter notes that financial statements are prepared for a specified period of time and provide comparative information and under certain circumstances forward-looking information. New to the framework is the definition of a reporting entity and the boundary of it. The chapter also states the IASB's conviction that, generally, consolidated financial statements are more likely to provide useful information to users of financial statements than unconsolidated financial statements. 

Chapter 4 - The elements of financial statements.

The main focus of this chapter is on the definitions of assets, liabilities, and equity as well as income and expenses. The definitions are quoted below:

  • Asset: A present economic resource controlled by the entity as a result of past events. An economic resource is a right that has the potential to produce economic benefits.
  • Liability: A present obligation of the entity to transfer an economic resource as a result of past events.
  • Equity: The residual interest in the assets of the entity after deducting all its liabilities.
  • Increases in assets or decreases in liabilities that result in increases in equity, other than those relating to contributions from holders of equity claims.
  • Expenses: Decreases in assets or increases in liabilities that result in decreases in equity, other than those relating to distributions to holders of equity claims.

New is the introduction of a separate definition of an economic resource to move the references to future flows of economic benefits out of the definitions of an asset and a liability. The expression "economic resource" instead of simply "resource" stresses that the IASB no longer thinks of assets as physical objects but as sets of rights. The definitions of assets and liabilities also no longer refer to "expected" inflows or outflows. Instead, the definition of an economic resource refers to the potential of an asset/liability to produce/to require a transfer of economic benefits. Distinguishing between liabilities and equity is not part of the new framework but has been transferred to the IASB's research project on financial instruments with the characteristics of equity.

Chapter 5 - Recognition and de-recognition.

The Conceptual Framework states that only items that meet the definition of an asset, a liability or equity are recognised in the statement of financial position and only items that meet the definition of income or expenses are to be recognised in the statement(s) of financial performance. However, their recognition depends on two criteria: their recognition provides users of financial statements with (1) relevant information about the asset or the liability and about any income, expenses or changes in equity and (2) a faithful representation of the asset or the liability and of any income, expenses or changes in equity. The framework also notes a cost constraint. New to the framework is the discussion of de-recognition. The requirements as presented in the framework are driven by two aims: the assets and liabilities retained after the transaction or other event that led to de-recognition must be presented faithfully and the change in the entity's assets and liabilities as a result of that transaction or other event must also be presented faithfully. The framework also describes alternatives when it is not possible to achieve both aims. 

Chapter 6 - Measurement.

This chapter is dedicated to the description of different measurement bases (historical cost and current value (fair value, value in use/fulfilment value, and current cost)), the information that they provide and their advantages and disadvantages. Current cost is newly introduced into the Conceptual Framework as it is widely advocated in academic literature. A table offers an overview of the information provided by various measurement bases. The framework also sets out factors to consider when selecting a measurement basis (relevance, faithful representation, enhancing qualitative characteristics and the cost constraint, factors specific to initial measurement, as well as more than one measurement basis) and points out that consideration of the objective of financial reporting, the qualitative characteristics of useful financial information and the cost constraint are likely to result in the selection of different measurement bases for different assets, liabilities and items of income and expense.

The framework does not provide detailed guidance on when a particular measurement basis would be suitable because the suitability of particular measurement bases will vary depending on facts and circumstances. On equity, the framework offers some limited discussion, although total equity is not measured directly. Still, the framework maintains, it may be appropriate to measure directly individual classes of equity or components of equity to provide useful information. 

Chapter 7 - Presentation and disclosure.

In this chapter, the framework discusses concepts that determine what information is included in the financial statements and how that information should be presented and disclosed. The statement of statement of comprehensive income is newly described as "statement of financial performance", however, the framework does not specify whether this statement should consist of a single statement or two statements, it only requires that a total or subtotal for profit or loss must be provided. It also notes that the statement of profit or loss is the primary source of information about an entity’s financial performance for the reporting period and that only in "exceptional circumstances" the Board may decide that income or expenses are to be included in other comprehensive income. Notably, the framework does not define profit or loss, thus the question of what goes into profit or loss or into other comprehensive income is still unanswered. 

Chapter 8 - Concepts of capital and capital maintenance.

The content in this chapter was taken over from the existing Conceptual Framework and discusses concepts of capital (financial and physical), concepts of capital maintenance (again financial and physical) and the determination of profit as well as capital maintenance adjustments. The IASB decided that updating the discussion of capital and capital maintenance could have delayed the completion of the framework significantly. The Board might consider revising the description and discussion of capital maintenance in the future if it considers such a revision necessary. 

The Conceptual Framework does not have a stated effective date and the Board will start using it immediately.

The news article refers specifically to the IASB's publication of its revised Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting.The IFRS presents information about the publication that is the subject of the news article in the ‘News and events’ section of the IFRS website.

Here is the link to the IFRS website:

Here is how to reference the IFRS website: 

In-text

("IASB completes revisions", 2018)

Here is the text from the 'News and events' section of the IFRS website:

IASB completes revisions to its Conceptual Framework9 March 2018

The International Accounting Standards Board (Board) has today issued a revised version of its Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting that underpins IFRS® Standards.

The Conceptual Framework sets out the fundamental concepts of financial reporting that guide the Board in developing IFRS Standards. It helps to ensure that the Standards are conceptually consistent and that similar transactions are treated the same way, providing useful information for investors and others.

The Conceptual Framework also assists companies in developing accounting policies when no IFRS Standard applies to a particular transaction; and it helps stakeholders more broadly to understand the Standards better.

The revised Conceptual Framework includes: a new chapter on measurement; guidance on reporting financial performance; improved definitions and guidance—in particular the definition of a liability; and clarifications in important areas, such as the roles of stewardship, prudence and measurement uncertainty in financial reporting.

Hans Hoogervorst, Chair of the Board, said:

                The revised Conceptual Framework will greatly assist the Board when developing IFRS      Standards. It will also help other stakeholders to better understand the concepts that   underpin the Standards.

The Board will start using the revised Conceptual Framework immediately, whereas companies will use it from 2020.

The news article refers specifically to the IASB/IFRS's publication of its revised Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting.

Here is the link to the IFRS website:

Here is how to reference the revised Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting: 

The publication is included as a PDF: IFRS 2018a in the Assignment 2 folder in Student Resources 

  1. Identify, describe and discuss the key issues reported in the news article 2 marks

                                                                                                                                                                                ≈145 words

Tell the article’s story IN YOUR OWN WORDS clearly outlining the key issues:                      

  1. IASB has published its revised Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting
    • Background: the project dates from 2004, and has involved an extensive multi-stage review utilising the deductive standard-setting process
  1. Summary of the main aspects of the Conceptual Framework
    • Status and purpose
    • Chapter 1 - The objective of general purpose financial reporting.
    • Chapter 2 - Qualitative characteristics of useful financial information.
    • Chapter 3 - Financial Statements and the reporting entity.
    • Chapter 4 - The elements of financial statements.
    • Chapter 5 - Recognition and de-recognition.
    • Chapter 6 - Measurement.
    • Chapter 7 - Presentation and disclosure.
    • Chapter 8 - Concepts of capital and capital maintenance.

The following outlines an effective method for answering this section:

  • First print the article, then read it through in its entirety, making notes as you identify the key issues. Use a highlighter to outline important sections, and write your thoughts in the margin as you go.
  • Next you need to describe these issues by paraphrasing the article.
    • To paraphrase is to include the ideas or information from an original source in your paper by rephrasing those ideas or information in your own words. The key to successful paraphrasing is to use as few words as possible from the original text (definitely no cut-and-paste/right click synonym), but be mindful not to change the meaning that you are trying to convey as you rephrase. Write with confidence as you extend your post-graduate English language skills...
  • Finally, discuss any identified arguments for/ against, advantages/disadvantages or strengths/weaknesses that become apparent as you describe the identified issues.
  1. Linkage of the major issues reported in the news article to topics and theories covered in ACC341                                                                                                                                 3 marks                                                                                                                                                                       ≈570 words

The Guidance for Section c. Linkage of the major issues... consists of three subsections: i), ii) and iii). This design helps you to clearly identify the different required aspects: the relevant accounting theories, linking the theories to the issues in the article, and drawing a conclusion about the linkage between the theories and the issues.Rather than structuring your answer as three distinct subsections, a quality response will integrate all three subsections into a seamless essay, using paragraphs to distinguish transitions in your thinking. The following outlines an effective method for answering this section: 

Use a variation of the basic D D E A method of answering an academic question...

  • Definition: Give a brief yet concise outline of the relevant accounting theory
  • Discussion: Link the accounting theory to the issue reported in the article in order to better analyse the issue. Remember, the function of a theory is to explain how things and events are connected, so use the theories to better explain the issues
  • Example: This is directly tied to the issue in the article
  • Answer the question: Explain the significance of the analysis by applying the theory to the issue and drawing a conclusion about the linkage 

The Marking Rubric indicates that essays which link the issues in the article to accounting theories will be well rewarded. As post-grad students, you should be able employ the D D E A method without using Definition, Discussion, Example & Answer as headings. Rather, D D E A is a functional philosophy that provides a structured way of thinking about your response to an academic assessment... A more appropriate style at this level is to use paragraphs to differentiate each D D E A element of your response. 

In summary, for each issue from the article, use the relevant theory to better explain the issue, and then draw a conclusion about the linkage. Remember: structure, consistency, attention to detail, so don't 'cut corners' when writing your response. This section of the essay presents you with an opportunity to demonstrate your awareness of the various accounting theories, and how this can be used to provide a deeper understanding of the issues in the article.i) Identify a range of relevant accounting theories that are applicable to the issues reported in the news article 

There a number of ACC341 topics that are applicable to the news article:

  • The nature, construction and verification of theories
    • The Conceptual Framework is normative in nature, the standard-setting process is deductive
  • The history of accounting
    • The Conceptual Framework was developed in consideration of the views of a wide range of stakeholders, hence new standards are socially-constructed
  • Measurement in accounting
    • The Conceptual Framework presents a full chapter on measurement
  • Normative accounting theories
    • The Conceptual Framework is the principal normative accounting theory
    • Other significant normative theories include Historical Cost Accounting and Fair Value Accounting
  • Accounting regulation and politics
    • While the Conceptual Framework development process may be deductive, it is primarily based on subjective observation and commentary, therefore it is prone to politicisation, and hence the theories of regulation apply
  • The standard-setting process
    • IASB is responsible for the development and publication of IFRS Standards
  • International accounting
    • Standardisation of accounting
    • IASB's principles-based standards 
  1. ii) Deconstruct and evaluate the issues reported in the news article through the use of theories 

The following guidance refers to the issues reported in the news article as outlined IN YOUR OWN WORDS in Section b. and Section c. i) ACC341 topics that contain the relevant theories.    

  1. IASB has published its revised Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting
    • Background: the project dates from 2004, and has involved an extensive multi-stage review utilising the deductive standard-setting process 

Over the past decade, the IFRS Foundation, acting for the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), has conducted an extensive multi-stage review of its Conceptual Framework 

  • The nature, construction and verification of theories
    • Deegan, 2104, pp.11-12: Prescriptive (normative) accounting theories 
  • The history of accounting
    • Matthews & Perera, 1996, pp.31-31: Accounting as a social phenomenon 
  • The standard-setting process
    • IFRS website: How we set IFRS Standards 
  • International accounting
    • Deegan, 2104, p.117: IASB objectives
    • IFRS website: Who we are

Here is how to reference Matthews & Perera:

Reference List

Mathews, M. R. & Perera, M. H. B. (1996). Theory construction in accounting. In Accounting          theory and development, 3rd edn., Melbourne: Thomas Nelson. 

In-text

(Matthews & Perera, 1996, p.xxx) Note: replace xxx with the page numbers from the section(s) that you read 

Here is how to reference Deegan:

Here is the link to the IFRS website: 

Here is how to reference the IFRS website: 

As you click on the different hyperlinks in the website, you will need to update each reference to reflect the new webpage…

It is also worth reviewing the IFRS archive website:

summary of the main aspects of the Conceptual Framework

    • Status and purpose
    • Chapter 1 - The objective of general purpose financial reporting.
    • Chapter 2 - Qualitative characteristics of useful financial information.
    • Chapter 3 - Financial Statements and the reporting entity.
    • Chapter 4 - The elements of financial statements.
    • Chapter 5 - Recognition and de-recognition.
    • Chapter 6 - Measurement.
    • Chapter 7 - Presentation and disclosure.
    • Chapter 8 - Concepts of capital and capital maintenance. 

The news article provides a concise review of each chapter contained in the Conceptual Framework. Given that your essay has a word count restriction, it may be necessary to limit your application of the theory to the issues to the most pertinent chapters. In this case, it would be prudent to state that your evaluation is limited to certain chapters...

As an example, the following guidance refers to a limited number of chapters only:

Status and purpose

  • International accounting
    • Deegan, 2014, 112-114: Standardisation
  1. 115-121: IASB

                                p.123: Principles-based accounting standards

  • Accounting regulation and politics
    • Deegan, 2014, 79-80: Public interest theory
    • IFRS website: How we work in the public interest 

Here is the link to the IFRS website: 

Here is how to reference the IFRS website:

 

Chapter 1- The objective of general purpose financial reporting

  • Normative accounting theories
    • Deegan, 2014, 214-218: Objectives of general purpose financial reporting

                                                                pp.228-231: Primary users 

Chapter 2- Qualitative characteristics of useful financial information

  • Normative accounting theories
    • Deegan, 2014, 234: Qualitative characteristics              

                                                                pp.235-238: Fundamental qualitative characteristics

                                                                                                -Relevance + faithful representation

 

Chapter 6- Measurement

  • Measurement in accounting
    • Godfrey et al, 2010, pp.138-140: Types of measurement

                                                                       pp.140-142: Reliability and accuracy                            

 

Here is how to reference Godfrey et al:

Reference List

                Godfrey, J., Hodgson, A., Tarca, A., Hamilton, J., & Holmes, S. (2010). Measurement theory.

                In Accounting Theory, 7th ed., Milton, Qld. : John Wiley. 

In-text

(Godfrey et al, 2010, p.xxx) 

  • Normative accounting theories
    • Deegan, 2014, 234: Qualitative characteristics              

                                                        pp.164-165: HCA

                pp.169-174: Arguments against HCA

                pp.194-196: HCA v FVA                                                               

iii) Present a logical conclusion regarding the significance of the issues reported in the news article 

Round off your linkage of the major issues reported in the news article to topics and theories covered in ACC341 with a logical conclusion. This is your opportunity to express your opinion based on the D D E A logic that you have just presented. Most importantly, it's your opinion, so write the conclusion entirely in your own words without any matching text.

Throughout all the above, there is scope for the very best submissions from those students seeking to differentiate their work, to include direct references to the IASB/IFRS's 2018 publication of its revised Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting. 

  1. Critically evaluate the underlying assumptions of the accounting theories, in particular, with regard to their application to the issues identified in the news article 3 marks                                                                                                                                                                                ≈285 words

The following are some questions and/or statements that can guide your critical evaluation of the news article. Use this critical evaluation to provide her with a deeper theoretical understanding of the issues identified in the news article through your insights, in your own words.

  • Is the IFRS Conceptual Framework/standard-setting process effective?
    • The Conceptual Framework project has taken a long time to conclude. Why do you think this is so? Does the resultant report justify the time and expense 
  • Explain how the accounting theories help to provide a deeper understanding of the issues discussed in the news article.
    • Focus your thinking on the interdependent relationships between normative accounting theory, the standard-setting process, international accounting, and accounting regulation and politics. 
  • Comment on the revised Conceptual Framework:
    • Is the report valid?
    • What does the IFRS hope to achieve through the release?
    • Will the IFRS achieve these goals?
    • If the IFRS does achieve its goals, what will be the outcomes:

                                - for accounting?

Conclusion                                                                                                                

Round off your paper IN YOUR OWN WORDS with a brief concluding statement.

Finally, include a Reference List at the end of your paper.

  • Use an APA referencing guide to ensure your Reference List utilises the correct format.
  • This includes listing references in alphabetical order.
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