Statement of Policy
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is responsible for broad oversight of the process for setting accounting, auditing standards and codes and for oversight of corporate governance standards and codes.
The FRC is also responsible for monitoring and developing the quality and integrity of financial reporting and disclosure of public interest entities (PIEs), of corporate governance and of the quality and independence of audit in Mauritius.
The FRC was established to strengthen the credibility and quality of financial reporting and audit in Mauritius.
2.0 Accounting Standard Setting Environment
Currently public interest entities (PIEs) apply International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the IASB Guidance and Interpretations collectively known as IAS/IFRS as required under Company Law since 2001.
Some global companies, known as Category 1 companies, either apply International Accounting Standards (IAS), IFRS, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or an internationally recognised GAAP, based on similar principles as IAS GAAP, as approved by the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
3.0 Powers of FRC related to standard development and review
The powers of the FRC in relation to standard development and review include the following-
(a) powers to do all things necessary or convenient to be done, for or in connection with the performance of its functions.
(b) the power to:
· cooperate with, or become a member or an affiliate of, any international body, the objects or functions of which are similar to or connected with those of the FRC; and
· issue rules, codes, guidelines and standards relating to the financial reporting, accounting, and auditing.
4.0 Specific Responsibilities of the SRP
The SRP shall be responsible for developing, renewing, improving, and adopting financial reporting and accounting standards and auditing standards, and for making appropriate recommendations to the FRC on the standards.
5.0 Authority of International Standards in Mauritius
The legitimacy of and authority for the application of international standards in Mauritius comes from the Companies Act, the Banking Act (for banks), and from the FRA.
6.0 Composition of the SRP
The SRP shall consist of such number of members as may be determined by the FRC.
The members shall be –
(a) employees of the FRC
(b) experts in financial reporting and accounting from the private sector;
(c) experts in financial reporting and accounting from the public sector; and
(d) experts in auditing.
One of the members shall be appointed as the Chairperson of the panel.
The Manager of the Research and Standard Review Unit shall attend the SRP.
7.0 SRP Meetings
The SRP shall regulate its meetings and proceedings in such manner as it thinks fit.
The SRPl shall meet as often as is necessary and at least once every 3 months at such time and place as the Chairperson shall determine.
Five members shall constitute a quorum.
8.0 FRC Approach to the Standards – Adoption without Change
The SRP is responsible for the development and reviewing of standards for accounting and auditing for the endorsement and specification of the FRC and to ensure compliance with the standards issued by IASB and IFAC requirements. It is the intent of the FRA that there will be ‘full adoption’ of international standards. The language of the Standards will be English. The applicable date of each standard will be that stated in the standard.
The SRP shall make changes to the international standards only to the extent the changes are necessitated by national laws and regulations.
8.1 Accounting Standards
The combined effect of section 211 of the Companies Act and the FRA, is that the financial statements of public interest entities, as well as public and private companies, prepare their financial statements in accordance with standards specified by the FRC and these standards in accordance with standards specified by the FRC and these standards will be consistent with IAS and IFRS.
Small private companies shall comply with regulations made under the Companies Act or any accounting standards consistent with relevant IFRS issued by the IASB or any regulations made under the FRA.
It is the intention of the FRA and its promoters, that Mauritius will, as far as possible, apply IFRS issued by the IASB so that the Financial Statements in Mauritius can be readily understood in other capital markets and can be recognised as high quality financial statements based on recognisable international accounting principles.
It is therefore understood that the standards issued by the IASB will be amended by the SRP and the FRC only in exceptional circumstances and where substantial reasons exist. The power to recommend amendments to the Standards issued by IASB will include the power to impose or allow exceptions or exemptions to particular items within the standards.
8.2 Audit Standards
The FRA provides that every licensed auditor shall, in the exercise of his profession, comply with such minimum requirements specified by the FRC in the auditing standards and with any rule and guideline issued under the Act. The SRP and the FRC will develop, issue and keep current auditing standards that comply with the standards and pronouncements of the International Federation of Accountants including the International Auditing and Assurance Board of IFAC (IAASB).
Like the accounting standards, it is the intention of the FRA that the standards issued by the IFAC, including IAASB, will be amended by the SRP and the FRC only in exceptional circumstances and where substantial reasons exist. The power to recommend amendments to the standards issued by the IFAC will include the power to impose or allow exceptions or exemptions to particular items within the standards.
Any additional audit requirements to those in the IFAC standards shall arise only from obligations under national legislation or other statutory instruments or regulations.
9.0 General Role of the SRP
It shall be the policy that the role of the SRP, through the FRC, is to issue and publish financial reporting, accounting and auditing standards in respect of those entities as provided under the FRA. Because the standards to be adopted in Mauritius are those of the IASB and of IFAC, including the IAASB, the SRP will collaborate with those bodies and with standard setters from other countries.
The development of accounting and auditing standards is a particularly technical matter. Standards and guidance must adhere to Frameworks and Principles that stand behind every individual standard. Regularly a standard may be cross-referenced to another standard, giving rise to a complexity in and between standards.
In financial reporting and accounting standard development, there are two fields of competence required that draw on distinct and very specific and technical knowledge – those related to companies and those related to the public sector.
Therefore, it shall be the policy of the FRC that the SRP will work in the two areas separately, with the advice and assistance of individuals with specialist skills in each particular area.
Audit is another area of special skills required by the SRP. Therefore, the SRP shall work through three Teams, expert in each of the three areas. The SRP may even co-opt individuals with particular expertise that may be required for a specific piece of work.
The SRP therefore is likely to meet as a whole Panel less frequently than perhaps would other Panels in the FRC structure with one focus.
The SRP will liaise with other Panels and other relevant parties, including other panels, committees and groups within the FRC and externally with other regulators in Mauritius and international standard setters, as required.
The SRP, when developing and issuing standards and other materials in financial reporting, accounting and auditing shall be aware that the Standards will be widely applicable and will apply to public interest entities (PIEs), including some public sector entities and non-profit entities that are of public interest, and public and private companies. Therefore, the SRP shall consider size and sector issues when recommending a standard for FRC issuance. The goal is to ensure sector neutral standards in Mauritius.
Finally the language of the standards will be that of the international standards, English. Translations, if required, will not be provided. All pronouncements, materials developed by the SRP shall be in clear, concise language and be capable of consistent application.
The applicability of new standards will be the applicable date in the relevant document issued from the IASB and IFAC. However, the SRP, through the FRC, has the right to amend such applicable date.
Any materials not sourced from IFAC or IASB and sourced from the SRP shall be clearly differentiated.
However, because the work of the SRP will be so closely entwined with the activities of IFAC and IASB, it should set its annual work programme in such a manner that it is reflective of the work programmes of the two international bodies.
10.0 Amendment to International Standards
The SRP will be responsible for reviewing each standard issued by IASB and IFAC to ensure the documentation associated with the standards is appropriate and it shall issue rules, guidelines and educational materials for the purpose of implementing the standards and will make appropriate recommendations to the FRC on the Standards.
In undertaking such a review, the SRP shall ensure any interface with existing Mauritian law or regulation is considered, including interfaces legal and regulatory matters associated with company law, tax law, prudential requirements and listing rules. The changes to any international standards shall consider the impact on any subsidiaries with foreign owned parents also.
The SRP shall determine the manner and style of identifying any adjustments to IASB and IFAC standards made by the SR through the FRC. These shall be clearly identified in the Standard, including any removal of an option available under IASB or IFAC standards. The removal of options available in international standards shall mean the standards adopted in Mauritius will not be identical to the international standards.
11.0 Interpretations of Standards
It will defeat the purpose of adopting international standards if national interpretations are made that are inconsistent with international interpretations. A multiplicity of interpretations is counter-productive to the goal of clear, comparable, relevant and reliable financial statements.
The IASB has a part time interpretations committee, the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRIC), which reviews particular issues referred to it by national standard setters. In its part time capacity, it cannot and does not deal with every request for an interpretation.
It is the role of the preparers and the directors of an entity to interpret and apply accounting standards and the role of auditors to interpret and apply auditing standards. In doing so, accounting related interpretations decisions should follow the Hierarchy set down by the IASB.
The SRP shall have the power to issue interpretations to international standards. Consistency of interpretations is important and to ensure this, prior to commencing any work interpreting a standard on a particular, the SRP shall consult and see if the issue has been raised for interpretation with IFRIC, or in the case of an auditing standard with IFAC, or with any other relevant national standard setter.
Interpretations issued by the SRP should be monitored for any international developments on the matter and adjusted to ensure consistency with international standards.
12.0 Development of Standards – if none exist in IASB and IFAC Standards
The SRP through the FRC may develop and issue standards in areas and on topics where none may exist in IASB or IFAC standards. Standards issued by the IASB and IFAC are principles-based on an overarching Framework and are developed through a consultative process. In keeping with these bodies, it shall be the policy that standards developed by the SRP and issued by the FRC will be principles based and will usually be developed through a consultative process.
Where the SRP intends to develop a standard, the SRP shall, before embarking on the task, canvass other standard setters to see if there is an appropriate, quality standard or practice that may be applicable. For example, the IFAC may not have issued an audit standard relating to a particular issue.
The SRP will also ensure any standard recommended will be reviewed for any increase of regulatory burden and unintended impacts.
13.0 Due Process
The SRP shall ensure any standards development and deliberations are transparent and the SRP will ensure that consultative process are inclusive and will include the views of other regulators, preparers, users and auditors. The SRP shall develop a policy on its consultative processes.
14.0 Publication of Standards
Standards shall be ‘published’ in the form and manner required in section 74 of the FRA as follows:
(1) The FRC shall cause a notice to be published in –
(a) the Gazette; and
(b) not less than 2 daily newspapers for 3 consecutive days
inviting comments from all interested parties.
(2) Any person who wishes to submit any comment shall, within 21 days of the last date of the publication specified above, submit his comments in writing to the FRC and eventually to the SRP.
(3) The FRC may, in deciding whether to approve the standards or their amendments, have regard to any comment submitted.
15.0 Summary of Activities of the SRP
A. International Role
(a) Influencing international policies and standards
(b) Endorsement of international standards
B. National Role
(a) Developing national standards
(b) Reviewing and endorsing international standards
(c) Developing guidance and educational materials
(d) Dealing with urgent issues
(e) Dealing with industry and sector issues
(f) Improving understanding, communications on accounting and auditing standards and their implementation
16.0 SRP Accountability, Transparency and Communications
The SRP will report in writing on its activities quarterly to the CEO of the FRC. It will also provide to the CEO of the FRC an annual report on its activities by the end of December each year.
The SRP will provide, report and maintain current information, available to the public, on its activities and the activities of international standard setters through contributions to the FRC Bulletin and to the FRC website. Other publications may be disseminated as required.
In order to provide timely and cost effective information with constituents, communications as far as possible shall be in electronic format.
17.0 Date of application
This policy is approved by the FRC and is effective on and from 18 September 2013.