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An Executive Guide to IFRS: Content, Costs and Benefits to Business by Peter Walton

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Discussion paper

Work proceeds on an iterative basis: staff write a paper that addresses part of the problem and the possible solutions to that. They take it to the Board and get feedback as well as ‘tentative decisions’ and then move on to another part. Over time this will lead to a complete preliminary views discussion paper. The draft paper, which will usually take about a year and a half to prepare (more for a controversial topic), will be the subject of a secret written ballot by Board members. Only a simple majority of votes is required for issue.

The Board believes that it is better to issue a ‘preliminary views’ paper that tells constituents clearly the direction of the Board’s preferences, rather than a discussion paper that just sets out the alternatives. Nonetheless, a preliminary views paper will normally include a discussion of alternative approaches and explain why the Board prefers one against another. It is not, however, unknown for constituents to reject the Board’s proposals, and for the Board to think again. The Board’s 2008 preliminary views paper on derecognition of financial assets proposed one model but gave details of another that the Board had rejected. Constituents said they preferred the rejected model, so the Board thought again.

in practice discussion papers are not always translated

The discussion document is published in English and will be left open for comment, usually for four months, but longer if the Board considers the topic difficult, or ...

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