Forest industries, which have shares, bonds etc. on the public market place, use the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and for the accounting of the growing stock of their forests International Accounting Standard (IAS) 41 Agriculture (EU 2009, Herbohn & Herbohn 2006). The market based fair value (FV) is the starting point of the IFRS and IAS 41. The FV uses ‘the expected net cash flows discounted at a current market-determined pre-tax rate’ if market-determined prices are not available (EU 2009, Herbohn 2009). The FV recognises the changes both in stumpage prices and the growing stock, the last of which are based on the forest management plans (FMP). The FMP relies on and benefits from the long traditions of forest inventories, growth modelling, determining optimal rotation, silvicultural recommendations etc. as well as FMP software using simulation and optimisation etc., all of which have been developed long before fair value accounting (FVA). The final felling happens in the North, say, after 80 years, which implies a certain ambiguity of the stumpage prices and discount rates.
The paper summarizes work on this issue, preliminary ending with questionnaire-based interviews addressing IFRS-practices of Scandinavian forest companies. First, different forestry accounting traditions have been reviewed (Hogg & Jöbstl 2008, Sekot 2007). Second, theoretical bases and consequences of the FVA have been discussed (Argiles et al. 2011). Third, the pros and cons of IAS 41 as documented in the scientific literature have beenanalysed (Ayanto 2011, Elad & Herbohn 2011). Fourth, the development of stumpage prices has been studied and summarised in the first interview question. Fifth, forest regeneration and other costs have been discussed as well as addressed by questions no. two and three. Sixth, the use of this input information and the FMP are analysed and formulated as the fourth question (Penttinen & Rantala 2008, Penttinen et al. 2004). Seventh, the discount rate dilemma has been analysed and is reflected in terms of a question (Eckel et al. 2003). Even market risk and bare land accounting were inquired as well. Eight, the disclosure of the growing stock has been studied and addressed. Ninth, all closing of the books of the Scandinavian forest industries using IAS 41 have been analysed, covering the periods from 2009 to 2015 (Tornator 2016).
The results document the use of discount rates from 5.5% to 7.5%. It is common practice to report the FV sensitivity with respect to the discount rate, stumpage price and silvicultural cost changes. The prices used are primarily medium term averages of several years, which have even been reviewed by the management and in some cases also by external experts. The typical forecasting period is ten years, and a simple price change percentageis applied thereafter, if any. Some companies estimate discount rates using weighted average cost of capital (WACC) in which the cost of equity capital is based on the capital asset pricing model (CAPM). Also in this context, external experts have been involved in some cases. Risk free interest rate is typically derived from a Euro rate. The interest requirement of the equity capital is updated semi-annually and that of the debts quarterly. Young stands are valued at cost. According to the interviews, the application of IFRS is a quite big but not an impossible burden. However, a comparison between different entities is difficult, because the standard does not provide any exact guidelines. The findings of the closing of the books and interviews are finally summarised and discussed
Wien: International Union of Forest Research Organizations , 2016. 91- p.
Advances and Challanges in Managerial Economics and Accounting - Symposium, 9-11 May 2016, Vienna, Austria