IFRS 17: The destination is in sight
29 June 2020
What a difference three years makes. In early 2017, it was unknown whether IFRS 17 would even materialise. Here we are with the Standard finalised. Done. PwC’s Lead Global IFRS Technical Partner, Gail Tucker, and her team explains the announcement in our ‘In brief’ publication. My press release on the IASB’s publication of the final amendments to IFRS 17 was also released last Thursday. We welcome the practical benefits that these amendments provide in easing insurers’ implementation of the significant changes brought about by IFRS 17. Insurers can now focus their efforts on refining their implementation projects and deciding how they will use IFRS 17 to tell a clearer and more understandable story about their company.
This is a big deal. The final amendments mean that remaining accounting and actuarial papers can be finalised. Business and technical requirements can be baselined and implementation activity can finally reach critical mass. Things are able to move forward with pace and certainty.
My blog in March, ‘Are you there yet?’, looked at the actions you could be taking to get the most from the extra year that the IASB’s delay of the effective date gave us. Having had two and a half years to prepare, we’ve seen how early adopters can use an operational accounting engine to analyse the numbers and think carefully about the transition. To date, we have prepared extensive thought leadership on transition approaches, KPIs and the value proposition of data.
Personally, it has been a rollercoaster of a journey. I’m proud of the community and the global pool of talent we’ve developed at PwC which is now over 2,500 people strong. I’ve also been impressed by the ambition of some of our clients in using IFRS 17 as a business case for real transformation. From the start, it was clear that IFRS 17 wasn’t just an accounting and actuarial problem. IFRS 17 introduced data sourcing challenges that made current solutions and processes redundant. Data and digital transformation has been the foundation of every programme; setting insurers up for a competitive future and not just mere compliance.
As a final point, don’t forget to involve your external auditors. We’ve consistently encouraged our clients and the market to engage auditors as early as possible in the programme. Auditors have a responsibility to understand large change and systems projects. Speak to us about our Auditor Engagement Matrix.