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International Accounting Standards Board’s advisory council to discuss post-COVID workplan

The IFRS Advisory Council will hold discussions on Feb. 23, 2021, about an on-site workplan for global accounting rulemaker the IASB to adopt after the COVID-19 restrictions have lifted.

COVID-19 social distancing restrictions could ease by Aug. 31, and work-from-home mandates lifted at the rulemaker’s London headquarters by Sept. 1 this year, according to the group’s agenda paper, The Future of Work Optimising Collaboration, Concentration and Culture (3Cs) in a Post-Covid-19 World.

In March 2020, the IFRS Foundation, the trustee organization with oversight of the IASB and its advisory boards, announced IASB members and staff in London would work from home because of the novel coronavirus. Regular on-site meetings were replaced with virtual meetings where possible and digital access to public meetings provided. On Nov. 13, 2020 the organization said all meetings with advisory and consultative groups will be held remotely until March 31, 2021.

The advisory workplan discussions come as a vaccine has been found for COVID-19 which is expected to curb the virus thereby enabling social distancing mandates to be lifted. But a number of companies and organizations are considering what will be the new normal, with some signaling they may change to hybrid home-office approaches to save overhead costs of office space and equipment rentals.

If approved, the workplan would begin to be implemented in July, according to the agenda paper.

The paper points to the organization’s work experience in 2020 as revealing. It showed: the output of the organization has continued; its day-to-day running as well as its overall governance have continued; new people have continued to join with “13% of our total staff have never seen the office.”

There might be things missing that individuals may not always be conscious of, the paper added. Specifically they could be missing events that build the culture of the organization; building relationships; the energy of the office buzz; the feeling of being a part of something bigger; effectiveness for some work activities that cannot be done virtually at the moment.

The paper also notes that working from home supports global sustainability efforts; that people can be trusted to do a good job when they can’t be seen; hybrid work-from-home is different compared to “everyone in office” or “everyone working from home”; and there is a global battle for talent.

The Council will be asked to weigh in on alternatives and trends they aware of or are seeing in their own organizations on the future of work; pros and cons of alternatives and trends; a timeframe for implementing changes, including whether to apply a “phased-in” or a “big bang” approach, among other considerations.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly accounting and assurance specialists can help, contact our team.

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