Definition of a Publicly Accountable Enterprise

Definition of a Publicly Accountable Enterprise
Extract, IFRS Discussion Group Report on Meeting – March 4, 2010
Questions about the definition of a “publicly accountable enterprise” included in the Preface to the
CICA Handbook – Accounting continue to be raised. These questions relate primarily to whether a
particular entity meets criterion (ii) of the definition (i.e., whether it “holds assets in a fiduciary
capacity for a broad group of outsiders as one of its primary businesses.”) The members noted that
there are many questions about what constitutes a broad group of outsiders. The staff noted that the
AcSB had previously observed that there are bound to be grey areas requiring judgment in
determining whether a particular entity meets the definition.
The members noted that the definition had been developed from the IASB’s definition of public
accountability (found in the IFRS for Small and Medium-sized Entities). The members saw no
reason to request the AcSB make any amendments to the definition to provide further guidance on
this issue as doing so would remove the existing symmetry with the IASB’s definition. However, the
members recommended that stakeholders be made aware of the training modules developed by the
International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation on the IFRS for Small and Medium-sized
Entities. The first module deals with the determination of whether an entity is publicly accountable.
The members also discussed questions an entity might ask itself when trying to determine if it is
publicly accountable and recommended that these also be made available on the AcSB’s website.