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Introduction to IFRS 1 - First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards

The International Accounting Standards Board issued IFRS 1 in June 2003.

IFRS 1 replaced SIC-8 First-time Application of IASs as the Primary Basis of Accounting. The Board developed the IFRS to address concerns about the full retrospective application of IFRSs required by SIC-8.

Subsequently, IFRS 1 was amended many times to accommodate first-time adoption requirements resulting from new or amended IFRSs. As a result, the IFRS became more complex and less clear. In 2007, therefore, the Board proposed, as part of its annual improvements project, to change IFRS 1 to make it easier for the reader to understand and to design it to better accommodate future changes. The version of IFRS 1 issued in 2008 retains the substance of the previous version, but within a changed structure. It replaces the previous version and is effective for entities applying IFRSs for the first time for annual periods beginning on or after 1 July 2009. Earlier application is permitted.

The IFRS applies when an entity adopts IFRSs for the first time by an explicit and unreserved statement of compliance with IFRSs.

In general, the IFRS requires an entity to comply with each IFRS effective at the end of its first IFRS reporting period. In particular, the IFRS requires an entity to do the following in the opening IFRS statement of financial position that it prepares as a starting point for its accounting under IFRSs:

(a) recognise all assets and liabilities whose recognition is required by IFRSs;

(b) not recognise items as assets or liabilities if IFRSs do not permit such recognition;

(c) reclassify items that it recognised under previous GAAP as one type of asset, liability or component of equity, but are a different type of asset, liability or component of equity under IFRSs; and

(d) apply IFRSs in measuring all recognised assets and liabilities.

The IFRS grants limited exemptions from these requirements in specified areas where the cost of complying with them would be likely to exceed the benefits to users of financial statements. The IFRS also prohibits retrospective application of IFRSs in some areas, particularly where retrospective application would require judgements by management about past conditions after the outcome of a particular transaction is already known.

The IFRS requires disclosures that explain how the transition from previous GAAP to IFRSs affected the entity’s reported financial position, financial performance and cash flows.

An entity is required to apply the IFRS if its first IFRS financial statements are for a period beginning on or after 1 July 2009. Earlier application is encouraged.