Why did I chat to Matt?

Matthew Tilling is an Australian CPA who is somewhat of a self-confessed IFRS Geek. Matt was the Director of Education at the IFRS Foundation for a few years, so I wanted to chat to him to get some behind-the-scenes information on how IFRS Standards are written, and how the IFRS Foundation works. We’re so used to studying out of those big books, but where do they COME FROM!?

We also chatted about his impression of South African CA(SA)’s, and very interestingly, his impression of the value of auditing articles for those who aren’t going to stay in audit.  

If there are any questions / topics you’d like Matt and I to chat about in our next video, please comment at the bottom of this post. (Please also comment to thank Matt for his time!)


Matt's journey

A bit of Matt’s qualification journey. Matt’s from Australia, so his qualification process is slightly different! We also chatted about how he got into education.

How did Matt land up working at the IFRS Foundation?

Matt was the Director of Education at the IFRS Foundation for a few years. We chatted about how he landed up there

How does the IFRS Foundation work?

Most of us have carried those huge IFRS books around with us. We see the logos of the IFRS Foundation on them, and we know that there’s an institution that creates these, but how does this work? We also chatted about Matt’s role as Director of Education.

How are IFRS Standards created and written?

We just study the Standards that are in the books, (and we generally hope that the syllabus excludes a few of them for the exam!), but how are they written? Who decides when a new one is needed? How do we go from NOT having a Standard on a topic, to having a Standard?

(As we got to the topic of the Conceptual Framework, we went into a little more detail here! Check out the clip below, and then we get back on topic!)

Can you use the Conceptual Framework to account for transactions?

When I chatted to Bruce Vivian CA(SA) about the Public Sector, we spoke about the Conceptual Framework. He emphasised the importance of the Conceptual Framework. Chatting to Matt, the same topic came up, so I asked him how we should / could be using the Conceptual Framework (instead of just studying it like theory!)

“The IFRS Standards aren’t supposed to be a manual of how to do accounting”

Why aren't there journals in the IFRS Standards!?

Let’s be honest, if there were journals in those Standards, it would make our lives as students a LOT easier. So, why aren’t they in the Standards!?

The process of writing IFRS Standards

New Standards are created every now and then. We take for granted that they ‘know’ what Standards are needed, but who decides this? How do they choose what to do? How are they written?

What Standards did Matt write!?

Obviously, I had to ask Matt what Standards or paragraphs he wrote and was responsible for!

What is Matt's favourite Standard?

Every lecturer has their favourite Standard. Matt’s favourite, (and the one that he believes is the most important!) is IAS8 – Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors.

He also gave an interesting example of some challenging accounting issues.

(Note: If you’d like Matt to chat to us about IAS8 and why it’s so important, leave a comment below the post! Would be awesome to have his teach us!)

Matt’s created a website for IFRS Geeks, to provide a community and hub to bring information together and share challenges and queries and information surrounding IFRS, globally.

There’s some great stuff for students there (Check out about 37:00). A roadtrip that some people did for accountants. 

There’s also an article in there that provides a behind-the-scenes of an IFRS Foundation Board meeting. You can see a video of their Board meeting.

South African CA(SA)'s

We often wonder how South African CA(SA)’s are perceived by the rest of the world. Matt gave us his impression of us, and the reputation he believes we have.

What IS Accounting Education?

What does a career in Accounting Education look like? What would you be doing?

Part of our discussion was about emphasising the purpose of accounting. Accounting is to provide users with information to help them make decisions about the allocation of resources.

“The purpose of accounting is to provide users with information to help them make decisions about the allocation of resources”

Audit articles are REALLY valuable

This is probably a surprise to hear from an IFRS geek! Matt believes that Auditing articles provide huge value for Accounting, regardless of whether they plan on pursuing a career in Auditing. 

I’ve always said that Auditing is a back-stage pass into a lot of different companies that very few people will ever experience

Take a look and find out why he says this!

Articles at the Big 4 vs Medium Firms

Students are generally very worried about what their professional career will be damaged / less credible / not as valuable if they don’t do articles at one of the Big 4 firms. 

Matt’s perspective is insteresting, and we discuss my experience a little. (I didn’t do articles at a Big 4 firm)

YOUR passion

A lot of our journey is tough. Just because we’re committed to this career, doesn’t mean that it will be a smooth journey. Are you going to change your attitude?

What does your passion depend on? Will you let things that don’t work make you lose your passion? 

What if your plans don’t work out that way you want them to?

“Take your passion with you”

Thanks Matt!

I appreciate the time that Matt took out of his schedule to chat to me on your behalf. 

Please leave a comment at the bottom of this page to thank him if you found any of this valuable. Also include any other topics / questions you’d like me to chat to to Matt about.

If you can relate, or have a query...

1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this interview. It was insightful and had valuable advice on the outlook of auditing as a career. Amazing to hear Matt’s career journey.
    From what heard in the interview – i will take the passion with me!

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Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

I coach accounting students who are struggling with their study habits and mindset, and want their studies to be as effective as they used to be. See more on my about page

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