About the AcSB
The Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) is an independent body with the authority to establish accounting standards for use by all Canadian entities outside the public sector. The AcSB serves the public interest by establishing standards for financial reporting by all Canadian private sector entities and by contributing to the development of internationally accepted financial reporting standards.
The activities of the AcSB are overseen by the Accounting Standards Oversight Council (AcSOC). AcSOC appoints the members of the AcSB and provides input to the AcSB, primarily in terms of its strategic direction and priorities. AcSOC also assesses and reports to the public on the performance of the AcSB, including compliance with due process.
Why the AcSB Matters
As an independent body, the AcSB develops and maintains Canadian accounting standards to support informed economic decision making by financial statement users through maintaining a framework that provides a basis for high-quality information about financial performance reported by Canadian private sector entities. Accounting standards specify how transactions and other events are to be recognized, measured, presented and disclosed in financial statements.
The AcSB’s Objectives
The AcSB’s objectives are:
- to establish financial reporting standards that improve the quality of information reported by Canadian entities with due consideration for the costs and the benefits to the preparers and users of financial statements, and changes in the economic environment;
- to facilitate the capital allocation process in both the business and not-for-profit sectors through improved information;
- to participate with other standard setters in the development of a single set of high-quality internationally accepted financial reporting standards; and
- to support the implementation of financial reporting standards and the resolution of emerging application issues.
The AcSB’s History
1982: The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA)* established the Accounting Standards Committee, previously known as the Accounting Research Committee, made up of volunteer members who were directly responsible for the development of new standards.
1991: The CICA established the AcSB to replace the Accounting Standards Committee, signifying a structural change to the accounting standard-setting process in Canada. The present AcSB philosophy stems from decisions taken in 1991, whereby the Board considers matters of principle and policy and develops or adopts principle-based accounting standards.
2014-2015: AcSB membership was expanded to 11 members from eight and a Vice Chair was appointed.
The AcSB’s Responsibilities
View the AcSB’s Terms of Reference.
The AcSB’s Strategic and Annual Plans
The AcSB carries out its activities in accordance with a strategic plan that is supported by an annual operating plan.
The AcSB’s Stakeholders
The AcSB’s stakeholders include preparers, auditors, advisors and financial statement users in the following sectors for which it sets standards:
- publicly accountable entities;
- private enterprises;
- not-for-profit organizations; and
- pension plans.
The AcSB’s Members
Eleven voting and two non-voting members make up the AcSB, including a paid Chair. View current AcSB members.
The AcSB membership consists of a diverse group of members encompassing a broad range of experience. Members are geographically dispersed across Canada.
The Board’s support staff comprises:
- a Director;
- 10 principals; and
- two administrative assistants.
The Board also hires consultants as the need arises.
Separate Accounting Frameworks
The AcSB’s activities include maintaining separate accounting frameworks for the different types of entities.
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs)
The AcSB contributes to the development of IFRSs by participating in consultations with, and activities of, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to ensure Canadian publicly accountable entities’ financial reporting needs are considered. For application in Canada, the AcSB operates under a strategy of endorsing and incorporating IFRSs into Part I of the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting for application by publicly accountable enterprises. While the AcSB is legally responsible for setting the standards that publicly accountable entities must use, to date, the AcSB’s policy has been to adopt IFRSs as issued by the IASB without modification.
AcSB Focus - Canadians Provide Input to IASB
The AcSB and Canadian stakeholders share standard-setting perspectives, feedback and input to the IASB in developing IFRSs.
Standards for Private Enterprises
The AcSB’s strategy is to maintain and improve a separate set of standards for private enterprises. Improvements will be developed to these standards to better meet the financial reporting needs of the sector after considering the costs of compliance.
Standards for Not-for-Profit Organizations
The AcSB’s strategy is to maintain a separate set of standards for the not-for-profit sector that address the transactions and circumstances unique to this sector. For transactions and circumstances that are not unique to not-for-profit organizations, the standards will continue to direct organizations to apply standards for private enterprises. Improvements will be developed to these standards to better meet the financial reporting needs of the sector after considering the costs of compliance.
Standards Pension Plans
The AcSB strategy is to maintain and improve the separate set of standards for pension plans.
The standard-setting due process is transparent and allows stakeholders ample opportunity to provide input during the development of accounting standards.
International Financial Reporting Standards
For issues related to publicly accountable enterprises, agenda topics come from the following sources:
- The AcSB adds a topic to its agenda when the IASB activates a project. Work proceeds in parallel with the IASB. The AcSB contributes to the development of IFRSs by participating in consultations with, and activities of, the IASB, as well as undertaking research for the IASB on certain projects.
- The IFRS Discussion Group meets regularly in a public forum to discuss issues that arise in Canada when applying IFRSs. The Group assists the AcSB by raising awareness about implementation issues and can recommend to the AcSB to refer particular issues to the IASB or IFRS Interpretations Committee. Members of the public are encouraged to submit issues for possible consideration by the Group and are able to participate in the Group’s discussions.
Standards for Private Enterprises (ASPE)
Private enterprise issues come from many sources, including the following:
- Members of the public are encouraged to raise issues, including issues regarding the application of ASPE.
- The Private Enterprise Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the AcSB on potential changes to ASPE. At the AcSB’s request, the Committee also reviews developments in various other accounting frameworks to identify and consider if potential changes to ASPE are needed. Other accounting frameworks include IFRSs, the IFRS for small and medium-sized entities, the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and standards developed by other Boards.
Standards for Not-for-Profit Organizations
Not-for-profit organization issues also come from many sources, including:
- proposed changes to ASPE that also apply to not-for-profit organizations;
- AcSB Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee members;
- AcSB members; and
- members of the public.
Standards for Pension Plans
AcSB members and members of the public may raise matters related to pension plans.
The AcSB schedules meetings almost every month in private. To better serve the Board’s objectives, additional meetings and conference calls may take place.
View the AcSB meeting calendar.
The AcSB’s Relationship with CPA Canada
CPA Canada is the national organization representing the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) profession in Canada. CPA Canada provides funding, staff and other resources to support Canada’s standard-setting process.
CPA Canada and the oversight councils and boards function at arm’s length from one another. As a result, the oversight councils and the boards as well as their staff carry out their standard-setting operations in an independent manner.
* The CICA, CGA-Canada and CMA Canada have since consolidated under the CPA Canada banner as the profession’s national body.