Overview of IFRS 2

A share-based payment is a transaction in which the entity receives goods or services either as consideration for its equity instruments or by incurring liabilities for amounts based on the price of the entity’s shares or other equity instruments of the entity. The accounting requirements for the share-based payment depend on how the transaction will be settled, that is, by the issuance of (a) equity, (b) cash, or (c) equity or cash.

Recognition and measurement

The issuance of shares or rights to shares requires an increase in a component of equity. IFRS 2 requires the offsetting debit entry to be expensed when the payment for goods or services does not represent an asset. The expense should be recognised as the goods or services are consumed. For example, the issuance of shares or rights to shares to purchase inventory would be presented as an increase in inventory and would be expensed only once the inventory is sold or impaired.

The issuance of fully vested shares, or rights to shares, is presumed to relate to past service, requiring the full amount of the grant-date fair value to be expensed immediately. The issuance of shares to employees with, say, a three-year vesting period is considered to relate to services over the vesting period. Therefore, the fair value of the share-based payment, determined at the grant date, should be expensed over the vesting period.

As a general principle, the total expense related to equity-settled share-based payments will equal the multiple of the total instruments that vest and the grant-date fair value of those instruments. In short, there is truing up to reflect what happens during the vesting period. However, if the equity-settled share-based payment has a market related performance condition, the expense would still be recognised if all other vesting conditions are met. The following example provides an illustration of a typical equity-settled share-based payment.

Measurement guidance

Depending on the type of share-based payment, fair value may be determined by the value of the shares or rights to shares given up, or by the value of the goods or services received:

  • General fair value measurement principle. In principle, transactions in which goods or services are received as consideration for equity instruments of the entity should be measured at the fair value of the goods or services received. Only if the fair value of the goods or services cannot be measured reliably would the fair value of the equity instruments granted be used.
  • Measuring employee share options. For transactions with employees and others providing similar services, the entity is required to measure the fair value of the equity instruments granted, because it is typically not possible to estimate reliably the fair value of employee services received.
  • When to measure fair value – options. For transactions measured at the fair value of the equity instruments granted (such as transactions with employees), fair value should be estimated at grant date.
  • When to measure fair value – goods and services. For transactions measured at the fair value of the goods or services received, fair value should be estimated at the date of receipt of those goods or services.
  • Measurement guidance. For goods or services measured by reference to the fair value of the equity instruments granted, IFRS 2 specifies that, in general, vesting conditions are not taken into account when estimating the fair value of the shares or options at the relevant measurement date (as specified above). Instead, vesting conditions are taken into account by adjusting the number of equity instruments included in the measurement of the transaction amount so that, ultimately, the amount recognised for goods or services received as consideration for the equity instruments granted is based on the number of equity instruments that eventually vest.
  • More measurement guidance. IFRS 2 requires the fair value of equity instruments granted to be based on market prices, if available, and to take into account the terms and conditions upon which those equity instruments were granted. In the absence of market prices, fair value is estimated using a valuation technique to estimate what the price of those equity instruments would have been on the measurement date in an arm’s length transaction between knowledgeable, willing parties. The standard does not specify which particular model should be used.
  • If fair value cannot be reliably measured. IFRS 2 requires the share-based payment transaction to be measured at fair value for both listed and unlisted entities. IFRS 2 permits the use of intrinsic value (that is, fair value of the shares less exercise price) in those “rare cases” in which the fair value of the equity instruments cannot be reliably measured. However this is not simply measured at the date of grant. An entity would have to remeasure intrinsic value at each reporting date until final settlement.
  • Performance conditions. IFRS 2 makes a distinction between the handling of market based performance conditions from non-market performance conditions. Market conditions are those related to the market price of an entity’s equity, such as achieving a specified share price or a specified target based on a comparison of the entity’s share price with an index of share prices of other entities. Market based performance conditions are included in the grant-date fair value measurement (similarly, non-vesting conditions are taken into account in the measurement). However, the fair value of the equity instruments is not adjusted to take into consideration non-market based performance features – these are instead taken into account by adjusting the number of equity instruments included in the measurement of the share-based payment transaction, and are adjusted each period until such time as the equity instruments vest.

Modifications, cancellations, and settlements

The determination of whether a change in terms and conditions has an effect on the amount recognised depends on whether the fair value of the new instruments is greater than the fair value of the original instruments (both determined at the modification date).

Modification of the terms on which equity instruments were granted may have an effect on the expense that will be recorded. IFRS 2 clarifies that the guidance on modifications also applies to instruments modified after their vesting date. If the fair value of the new instruments is more than the fair value of the old instruments (e.g. by reduction of the exercise price or issuance of additional instruments), the incremental amount is recognised over the remaining vesting period in a manner similar to the original amount. If the modification occurs after the vesting period, the incremental amount is recognised immediately. If the fair value of the new instruments is less than the fair value of the old instruments, the original fair value of the equity instruments granted should be expensed as if the modification never occurred.

The cancellation or settlement of equity instruments is accounted for as an acceleration of the vesting period and therefore any amount unrecognised that would otherwise have been charged should be recognised immediately. Any payments made with the cancellation or settlement (up to the fair value of the equity instruments) should be accounted for as the repurchase of an equity interest. Any payment in excess of the fair value of the equity instruments granted is recognised as an expense

New equity instruments granted may be identified as a replacement of cancelled equity instruments. In those cases, the replacement equity instruments are accounted for as a modification. The fair value of the replacement equity instruments is determined at grant date, while the fair value of the cancelled instruments is determined at the date of cancellation, less any cash payments on cancellation that is accounted for as a deduction from equity.

Disclosures

Required disclosures include:

  • the nature and extent of share-based payment arrangements that existed during the period
  • how the fair value of the goods or services received, or the fair value of the equity instruments granted, during the period was determined
  • the effect of share-based payment transactions on the entity’s profit or loss for the period and on its financial position.

Effective date

IFRS 2 is effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005. Earlier application is encouraged.

Transition

All equity-settled share-based payments granted after 7 November 2002, that are not yet vested at the effective date of IFRS 2 shall be accounted for using the provisions of IFRS 2. Entities are allowed and encouraged, but not required, to apply this IFRS to other grants of equity instruments if (and only if) the entity has previously disclosed publicly the fair value of those equity instruments determined in accordance with IFRS 2.

The comparative information presented in accordance with IAS 1 shall be restated for all grants of equity instruments to which the requirements of IFRS 2 are applied. The adjustment to reflect this change is presented in the opening balance of retained earnings for the earliest period presented.

IFRS 2 amends paragraph 13 of IFRS 1 First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards to add an exemption for share-based payment transactions. Similar to entities already applying IFRS, first-time adopters will have to apply IFRS 2 for share-based payment transactions on or after 7 November 2002. Additionally, a first-time adopter is not required to apply IFRS 2 to share-based payments granted after 7 November 2002 that vested before the later of (a) the date of transition to IFRS and (b) 1 January 2005. A first-time adopter may elect to apply IFRS 2 earlier only if it has publicly disclosed the fair value of the share-based payments determined at the measurement date in accordance with IFRS 2.