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IFRS Vs GAAP: Balance Sheet and Income Statement




Each framework requires prominent presentation of a balance sheet as a primary statement.




IFRS: Entities present current and non-current assets, and current and non-current liabilities, as separate classifications on the face of their balance sheets except when a liquidity presentation provides more relevant and reliable information. All assets and liabilities are presented broadly in order of liquidity in such cases. Otherwise there is no prescribed balance sheet format, and management may use judgment regarding the form of presentation in many areas. However, as a minimum, IFRS requires presentation of the following items on the face of the balance sheet:

  1. Assets: PPE, investment property, intangible assets, financial assets, investments accounted for using the equity method, biological assets, inventories, trade and other receivables, current tax assets, deferred tax assets, cash and cash equivalents, and the total of assets classified as held for sale and assets included in disposal groups classified as held for sale in accordance with IFRS 5; and
  2. Equity and liabilities: issued share capital and other components of shareholders’ equity, minority interests (presented within equity), financial liabilities, provisions, current tax liabilities, deferred tax liabilities, trade and other payables, and liabilities included in disposal groups classified as held for sale in accordance with IFRS 5.


US GAAP: Generally presented as total assets balancing to total liabilities and shareholders’ equity. Items presented on the face of the balance sheet are similar to IFRS but are generally presented in decreasing order of liquidity. The balance sheet detail should be sufficient to enable identification of material components. Public entities should follow specific SEC guidance.

Current/non-current distinction (general)

IFRS: The current/non-current distinction is required (except when a liquidity presentation is more relevant). Where the distinction is made, assets are classified as current assets if they are: held for sale or consumed in the normal course of the entity’s operating cycle; or cash or cash equivalents. Both assets and liabilities are classified as current where they are held for trading or expected to be realized within 12 months of the balance sheet date. Interest-bearing liabilities are classified as current when they are due to be realized or settled within 12 months of the balance sheet date, even if the original term was for a period of more than 12 months. An agreement to refinance or reschedule payments on a long-term basis that is completed after the balance sheet date does not
result in non-current classification of the financial liabilities even if executed before the financial statements are issued.

US GAAP: Management may choose to present either a classified or non-classified balance sheet. The requirements are similar to IFRS if a classified balance sheet is presented. The SEC provides guidelines for the minimum information to be included by registrants. Liabilities may be classified as non-current as of the balance sheet date provided that agreements to refinance or to reschedule payments on a long-term basis (including waivers for certain debt covenants) are completed before the financial statements are issued.

Off-setting assets and liabilities

IFRS: Assets and liabilities cannot be offset, except where specifically permitted by a standard. Financial assets and financial liabilities are offset where an entity has a legally enforceable right to offset the recognized amounts and intends to settle transactions on a net basis or to realise the asset and settle the liability simultaneously. A master netting agreement, in the absence of the intention to settle net or realize the asset and liability simultaneously, is not sufficient to permit net presentation of derivative financial instruments even if it creates a legally enforceable right of offset. Generally, however, an entity’s right of offset under a master netting agreement is conditional and enforceable
only on the occurrence of some future event and to offset a financial asset and a financial liability an entity must have a currently enforceable legal right to offset the recognised amounts. Thus, master netting arrangements generally do not meet the conditions of offsetting.

US GAAP: Off-setting is permitted where the parties owe each other determinable amounts, where there is an intention to offset and where the offsetting is enforceable by law. An exemption to these requirements applies to derivative financial instruments under master netting arrangements where a net presentation is permitted.

Other balance sheet classification

IFRS: Minority interests are presented as a component of equity.

US GAAP: Minority interests cannot be presented as equity.


Each framework requires prominent presentation of an income statement as a primary statement.


IFRS: There is no prescribed format for the income statement. The entity should select a method of presenting its expenses by either function or nature; this can either be, as is encouraged, on the face of the income statement, or in the notes. Additional disclosure of expenses by nature is required if functional presentation is used. IFRS requires, as a minimum, presentation of the following items on the face of the income statement:

  1. revenue;
  2. finance costs;
  3. share of post-tax results of associates and joint ventures accounted for using the equity
  4. method;
  5. tax expense;
  6. post-tax gain or loss attributable to the results and to remeasurement of discontinued operations;
  7. profit or loss for the period.

The portion of profit or loss attributable to the minority interest and to the parent entity is separately disclosed on the face of the income statement as allocations of profit or loss for the period. An entity that discloses an operating result should include all items of an operating nature, including those that occur irregularly or infrequently or are unusual in amount.

US GAAP:  Presentation in one of two formats. Either:

  1. a single-step format where all expenses are classified by function and are deducted from total income to give income before tax;
  2. a multiple-step format where cost of sales is deducted from sales to show gross profit, and other income and expense are then presented to give income before tax. SEC regulations require registrants to categorise expenses by their function. Amounts attributable to the minority interest are presented as a component of net income or loss.


Exceptional (significant) items

IFRS: The separate disclosure is required of items of income and expense that are of such size, nature or incidence that their separate disclosure is necessary to explain the performance of the entity for the period. Disclosure may be on the face of the income statement or in the notes. IFRS does not use or define the term ‘exceptional items’.

US GAAP: The term ‘exceptional items’ is not used, but significant items are disclosed separately on the face of the income statement when arriving at income from operations, as well as being described in the notes.

Extraordinary items

IFRS: Prohibited.

US GAAP: These are defined as being both infrequent and unusual. Extraordinary items are rare. Negative goodwill arising in a business combination is written off to earnings as an extraordinary gain, presented separately on the face of the income statement net of taxes. Disclosure of the tax impact is either on the face of the income statement or in the notes to the financial statements. Statement of recognised income and expense/Other comprehensive income and Statement of accumulated other comprehensive income.


IFRS: Entities that present a statement of recognised income and expense (SoRIE) are prohibited from presenting a statement of changes in shareholder’s equity as a primary statement; supplemental equity information is provided in a note. Recognised income and expense can be separately highlighted in the statement of changes in shareholders’ equity if a SoRIE is not presented as a primary statement. Entities that choose to recognise actuarial gains and losses from post employment benefit plans in full in equity in the period in which they occur are required to present a SoRIE. A SoRIE should show: (a) profit or loss for the period; (b) each item of income and expense for the period recognized directly in equity, and the total of these items; (c) total income and
expense for the period (calculated as the sum of (a) and (b)), showing separately the total amounts attributable to equity holders of the parent and to minority interest; and (d) for each component of equity, the effects of changes in accounting policies and corrections of errors recognized in accordance with IAS 8, Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors.

  1. US GAAP: One of three possible formats may be used:
    a single primary statement of income, other comprehensive income and accumulated other comprehensive income containing both net income, other comprehensive income and a roll forward of accumulated other comprehensive income;
  2. a two-statement approach (a statement of comprehensive income and accumulated other
    comprehensive income, and a statement of income); or
  3. a separate category highlighted within the primary statement of changes in stockholders’ equity (as under IFRS).

The cumulative amounts are disclosed for each item of comprehensive income (accumulated other comprehensive income). The SEC will accept the presentation prepared in accordance with IFRS without any additional disclosures.


IFRS: The total of income and expense recognised in the period comprises net income. The following income and expense items are recognised directly in equity:

  1. fair value gains/(losses) on land and buildings, intangible assets, available-for-sale investments and certain financial instruments;
  2. foreign exchange translation differences;
  3. the cumulative effect of changes in accounting policy;
  4. changes in fair values of certain financial instruments if designated as cash flow hedges, net of tax, and cash flow hedges reclassified to income and/or the relevant hedged asset/liability; and
  5. actuarial gains and losses on defined benefit plans recognised directly in equity (if the entity elects the option available under IAS 19, Employee Benefits, relating to actuarial gains and losses).


US GAAP: Similar to IFRS, except that revaluations of land and buildings and intangible assets are prohibited under US GAAP. Actuarial gains and losses (when amortised out of accumulated other comprehensive income) are recognised through the income statement.

Statement of changes in share (stock) holders’ equity

IFRS: Presented as a primary statement unless a SoRIE is presented as a primary statement. Supplemental equity information is presented in the notes when a SoRIE is presented (see discussion under ‘Presentation’ above). In addition to the items required to be in a SoRIE, it should show capital transactions with owners, the movement in accumulated profit and a reconciliation of all other components of equity. Certain items are permitted to be disclosed in the notes rather than in the primary statement.

US GAAP: Similar to IFRS, except that US GAAP does not have a SoRIE, and SEC rules permit the statement to be presented either as a primary statement or in the notes.

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