IASB presents its view of materiality

FASB also is working to clarify the concept for preparers.

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) published its draft guidance on materiality to help company management determine which information to disclose in financial statements.

The guidance follows similar action by FASB, which issued two ­proposals intended to clarify the concept of materiality for financial statement preparers who are trying to discern what information to disclose in financial statements. Both proposals are part of wider efforts by the boards to help management deliver financial statements that present information in a clear and effective way while eliminating "disclosure overload."

The IASB's draft guidance was developed in response to concerns that uncertainty about how to apply the concept of materiality leads management to use the disclosure requirements in IFRS as a checklist. This can result in excessive disclosure of immaterial information that makes financial statements cluttered and less understandable while obscuring useful information, according to the IASB.

The draft guidance is intended as a complement to an amendment made in 2014 to IAS 1, Presentation of Financial Statements, which clarified that companies do not need to apply the specific disclosure requirements in the standards if the related information is immaterial. The draft guidance describes:

  • The characteristics of materiality.
  • How to apply the concept of materiality when making decisions about presenting and disclosing information in the financial statements.
  • How to assess whether omissions and misstatements of information are material to the financial statements.

Comments can be submitted to the IASB via its website until Feb. 26.

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