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Embracing uncertainty

Business in the 21st century is facing accelerating change. Companies that previously sold products may now sell services, or subscriptions to those services, and retailing has moved online to virtual main streets rather than physical shops. Further, new technologies such as blockchain and cryptoassets are disrupting the world of commerce. And issues such as the transition to a lower-carbon economy are on the agenda at every board meeting.

Standard setters are responding to these changes. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has added intangible assets and climate-related matters to its agenda. The US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is consulting on issues including digital assets, software costs and environmental credit programmes. Both are also focused on maintaining stability in financial reporting at a time when companies have been implementing significant new standards and amendments to existing ones.

In addition, the economic environment continues to change, with companies facing increased uncertainty. Disrupted supply chains, inflation, natural disasters, geopolitical events and the COVID-19 pandemic continue to create issues and risks. Companies continue to face challenges in assessing the impacts and providing meaningful and relevant information to their stakeholders under both IFRS Accounting Standards and US GAAP.

The new edition (PDF 4.2 MB) of KPMG’s comparison of IFRS Accounting Standards and US GAAP highlights the key differences between the two frameworks, based on 2022 calendar year ends, and includes a new chapter comparing the new requirements for insurance contracts that will become effective in 2023. If you’re a preparer, it may help you identify areas to emphasise in your financial statements; if you’re a user, it may help you spot areas to focus on in your dialogue with preparers.

Understanding the differences

This guide does not discuss every possible difference; rather, it is a summary of those areas encountered frequently where the principles differ or where there is a difference in emphasis, specific application guidance or practice.

The focus of this publication is primarily on recognition, measurement and presentation. However, it also covers areas that are disclosure-based, such as segment reporting.