FRS 8 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors – Summary

The objective of FRS 8 is to prescribe the criteria for selecting and changing accounting policies, together with the accounting treatment and disclosure of changes in accounting policies, changes in accounting estimates and correction of prior period errors.

Changes in accounting policies
An entity should change its accounting policies only if the change is required by the Standards or the change results in a more relevant and reliable information about the entities financial position. Any changes in accounting policies shall be accounted for in accordance with the specific transitional provisions of the Standards. If there are no specific transitional provisions, the change in accounting policies shall be done retrospectively as though the new accounting policy had always been applied.

Changes in accounting estimates
Changes in accounting estimates should be recognised prospectively in the profit and loss account either in the period of the change only or the period of change and future periods, if the changes affect both. Any corresponding changes in assets, liabilities or equity are recognised by making adjustments to the carrying amount of the assets, liabilities or equity in the period of change.

Errors
Material errors in financial statements that are discovered in subsequent periods must be adjusted retrospectively in the first set of financial statements authorized for issue after their discovery. The comparative amounts for prior period are either restated or if the error occurred before the earliest prior period presented, the opening balances of the assets, liabilities and equity for the earliest prior period are restated.

FRS 8 specifies that in instances where it is impracticable to do a retrospective adjustment for change in accounting policy, the entity should restate the comparative information prospectively from the earliest date practicable.

FRS 8 also specifies the disclosures required of changes in accounting policies, accounting estimates and errors.

What is prior period errors? When did an error occur?

Prior period errors are omissions from, and misstatements in, the entity’s financial statements for one or more prior periods arising from a failure to use, or misuse of, reliable information that:-

  • was available when financial statements for those periods were authorised for issue; and
  • could reasonably be expected to have been obtained and taken into account in the preparation and presentation of those financial statements.

Such errors include the effects of mathematical mistakes, mistakes in applying accounting policies, oversights or misinterpretations of facts, and fraud.

Source – ICPAS ePublication 29 Nov 2005 Issue 12/2005

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