By the end of the month, the IASB will have received the comment letters on its proposals for clarifying IFRS 15. Although they arise out of the work of the Joint Transition Resource Group (TRG), the amendments put forward by the IASB differ from those proposed by the FASB in its own consultation documents. So the desire of the two boards to develop twin standards has not managed to overcome the difference of philosophy between IFRS and US GAAP. During this ‘pre-interpretation’ phase, the FASB has made clear its appetite for a ‘rule-based’ approach. Leopards don’t change their spots.
This experience should certainly serve as a warning to the IASB, which will have to emphasise its independence of the FASB in its future interpretations of IFRS 15. Otherwise, it will open up the risk that IFRS 15 implementation guidance as a whole will be dictated by the American regulators, which seems to prefer strict rules applicable to everyone, rather than an approach in which financial statements preparers apply a principle while exercising judgment.