What's the Difference?

IAS (International Accounting Standards) and IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) are both sets of accounting standards that aim to provide a common framework for financial reporting across different countries. While IAS was developed by the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) and IFRS is developed by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), both standards share many similarities. Both IAS and IFRS focus on providing transparent and comparable financial information to users of financial statements. However, IFRS is considered more comprehensive and detailed compared to IAS, as it incorporates and builds upon the principles of IAS while also addressing emerging accounting issues. Additionally, IFRS is more widely adopted globally, with many countries mandating its use for financial reporting, while IAS is considered outdated and has been largely replaced by IFRS.


Standard-setting bodyInternational Accounting Standards Board (IASB)International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)
ScopePrimarily used in Europe and other countries that have adopted IASUsed globally, including Europe and countries that have not adopted IAS
ObjectiveProvide a framework for preparing and presenting financial statementsProvide a globally accepted set of accounting standards
Number of standards4116 (as of 2021)
ImplementationVoluntary adoption by countriesRequired for listed companies in many countries
HierarchyIAS 1-41, with IAS 1 being the frameworkIFRS 1-16, with IFRS 1 being the framework
Recognition and measurementHistorical cost and fair valueHistorical cost, fair value, and other measurement bases
Financial statement presentationStatement of financial position, statement of comprehensive income, statement of changes in equity, statement of cash flowsStatement of financial position, statement of comprehensive income, statement of changes in equity, statement of cash flows
Disclosure requirementsExtensive disclosure requirementsExtensive disclosure requirements
Industry-specific guidanceSome industry-specific standardsSome industry-specific standards

Further Detail


International Accounting Standards (IAS) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are two sets of accounting standards that have been developed and implemented globally. While IAS was initially developed by the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC), IFRS is currently issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Both sets of standards aim to provide a common framework for financial reporting, ensuring transparency, comparability, and reliability of financial statements. In this article, we will explore the attributes of IAS and IFRS, highlighting their similarities and differences.

Scope and Applicability

IAS and IFRS share a similar scope and applicability, as they both apply to the preparation and presentation of financial statements. They are designed to be used by profit-oriented entities, regardless of their size or industry. However, IFRS has a broader scope as it also includes specific standards for the public sector, not-for-profit organizations, and small and medium-sized entities (SMEs). This wider applicability of IFRS makes it more flexible and adaptable to different types of entities.

Framework and Principles

Both IAS and IFRS are based on a conceptual framework that provides a foundation for developing accounting standards. The frameworks emphasize the importance of relevance, reliability, comparability, and understandability of financial information. They also share similar fundamental principles, such as the accrual basis of accounting, going concern assumption, and the principle of substance over form. These principles ensure that financial statements accurately reflect the economic reality of transactions and events.

Standard Setting Process

The process of standard setting for IAS and IFRS differs in terms of the organizations involved. IAS was developed by the IASC, which was a private sector body consisting of national accounting standard-setters from various countries. On the other hand, IFRS is issued by the IASB, an independent standard-setting board that operates under the oversight of the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS Foundation). The IASB follows a more structured and transparent due process, including public consultation and extensive stakeholder involvement, to develop and revise the standards.

Recognition and Measurement

IAS and IFRS share similar principles for recognition and measurement of assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. Both frameworks require the use of fair value when it is reliably measurable, and historical cost when fair value is not available. However, IFRS provides more specific guidance on fair value measurement and includes additional measurement options, such as the revaluation model for property, plant, and equipment. This flexibility in measurement options allows entities to choose the most appropriate method based on their specific circumstances.

Disclosure Requirements

Both IAS and IFRS emphasize the importance of providing relevant and reliable information in the financial statements. They require entities to disclose significant accounting policies, judgments, and estimates, as well as any potential risks and uncertainties that may impact the financial position and performance. However, IFRS generally has more detailed and specific disclosure requirements compared to IAS. This is to ensure that users of financial statements have access to all necessary information to make informed decisions.

Implementation and Adoption

IAS and IFRS have been widely adopted by many countries around the world. However, the level of implementation and adoption varies among jurisdictions. Some countries have fully adopted IFRS, while others have made modifications or have converged their national standards with IFRS. The adoption of IFRS has been driven by the desire for global harmonization of accounting standards, facilitating cross-border investments and comparability of financial information. The implementation of IFRS has also been supported by the efforts of regulatory bodies and professional accounting organizations.


In conclusion, IAS and IFRS are two sets of accounting standards that share many similarities in terms of scope, framework, principles, and recognition and measurement. However, IFRS has a broader applicability, a more structured standard-setting process, and more detailed disclosure requirements compared to IAS. The adoption and implementation of IFRS have been significant globally, contributing to the harmonization of accounting practices and enhancing the transparency and comparability of financial statements. As the global business environment continues to evolve, the ongoing development and convergence of IFRS will play a crucial role in ensuring the relevance and reliability of financial reporting.

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