Bertrand Perrin, from France, joined the International Accounting Standards Board (Board) at the beginning of July 2021, filling one of the European seats. He’s no stranger to the work of the Board and the IFRS Foundation.
'My appointment to the Board is indeed another chapter in my long-time involvement with the Foundation, most recently as a member of the IFRS Interpretations Committee,' says Perrin in this interview a few weeks into his new role.
I decided to study business administration—a subject that appealed to me because it seemed to offer graduates so many different career directions. My studies concentrated on accounting, audit and controlling, and I began my career as an external auditor. In 2003 I joined Vivendi, now a European media company listed in France, and became the head of its project to transition to IFRS Standards. So that is how I ended up specialising in accounting standards.
The Foundation is an international organisation with around 150 staff representing 35 nationalities, and I already have immediately felt the organisation’s cultural richness. I’ve particularly enjoyed the initial interactions with my new colleagues, fellow Board members and technical and operations staff, notably while I was preparing for my first Board meeting in July.
It is most important that those of us whose background has been in the private sector should also participate in organisations like ours, in serving the public interest and contributing to the public good.
My role at Vivendi made me particularly aware of the necessity of accurately presenting a company’s operating and financial performance, in particular by using non-GAAP measures to communicate organic variations when necessary; by explaining performance in a transparent manner in the notes to the financial statements or in the management report; and, by balancing the need for detailed information with timing constraints to provide users with the most relevant information.
In addition to what I’ve already said about the accurate presentation of a company’s operating and financial performance to satisfy the needs of both the company’s management and its investors, I’d emphasise that standards are important to ensure that financial reports are presented consistently, both within and across industries. Indeed, consistent and transparent financial reporting can enhance trust and confidence of the financial markets.
Accounting standard-setting is an exciting space to be working in—it’s a dynamic subject that needs to adapt constantly to the economic environment. I think the Board particularly needs to take into consideration the global economy’s increasing digitisation. To better illustrate this, let me provide an example derived from my experience as a preparer: during my time at Vivendi I saw how the accounting treatment of intellectual property licences had to evolve after the digitisation of most of Vivendi’s businesses, such as music, pay TV and video games, alongside the recent implementation of IFRS 15 relating to revenue recognition.
I like the idea of strengthening the bridge between the standard-setting environment and the preparers’ world.
What I’m most enthusiastic about is that I’ve joined the Board in the same year that the Third Agenda Consultation is underway. It’s exciting to begin my term when we’re consulting with our stakeholders to help build our agenda, a common objective, for the next five-year period.
I like to spend time with my wife and four children. I jog and, for the past seven years, I’ve honed my equestrian skills so that I can join my wife and two daughters in their horse-riding activities. For the past 17 years, I have also helped out at our local rugby club where my two sons played in the youth teams. I am very happy to live in London now. As a big fan of British rock music, I hope to attend the Glastonbury Festival.