The conversion from Canadian GAAP to IFRS needs to be managed as a project. Therefore, one of the first steps in preparing for change and developing a strategic plan should be to establish Project Governance by creating a Steering Committee which sponsors the conversion process. The Steering Committee will typically include executive-level leadership headed by the CFO or equivalent. The tone must be set by top management. It will be necessary to prioritize IFRS in line with the company’s strategic objectives, ensuring that it gets sufficient priority, and not viewed simply as a “back office” issue.
It is also important to have the correct people on Steering Committee, so that it is comprised of people who have influence within the organization. This committee sets up the Project Management Office (PMO), and selects a Project Manager, and “hands on” leadership project team to staff the PMO. The Steering Committee provides direction, oversight and makes decisions, whereas the PMO plans, executes, and reports back to Steering Committee taking direction from them. The PMO also executes the various tasks required to complete the IFRS conversion process. Having a skilled and influential conversion team builds a higher level of accountability around the IFRS change management project.
It is very important to determine which people will be part of the conversion team based upon a business wide impact assessment of IFRS. The IFRS conversion project team will need a strong leader – a good project manager considers the big picture and breaks it down into individual steps that include key stages, milestones and goals to be achieved along with conversion timelines. The Project Leader does not have to be an IFRS expert, but the most important selection criteria would include; robust Accounting skills, strong Project Management skills, excellent teamwork/consensus-building skills, and effective Communication skills.
I hope this helps. This is one of a series of blogs that is meant to convey information relating to Canada’s transition from Canadian GAAP to IFRS.
For further information, please refer to the ongoing series of IFRS blogs on the Edelkoort Smethurst Schein CPA’s LLP web-site and please remember to contact your accounting professional for further guidance.