What is the Difference Between IFRS and ASPE

Jun 9, 2024 | Accounting

Understanding IFRS vs ASPE: A Comprehensive Guide for Canadian Businesses

Understanding the differences between IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and ASPE (Accounting Standards for Private Enterprises) is crucial for businesses, as it can have significant implications on financial reporting and decision-making.

IFRS and ASPE in Canada

In Canada, businesses have the option to follow either IFRS or ASPE. The decision largely depends on whether a business is privately held or publicly traded. Accounting standards are developed to ensure consistency, transparency, and reliability in financial statements, which in turn enhances users’ confidence in the information presented.

ASPE: Tailored for Private Companies

ASPE is specifically designed for private companies, as publicly traded companies are not permitted to use these standards. The financial statements of private companies are typically prepared for the benefit of the owners or specific stakeholders, making ASPE a less complicated and more cost-effective option.

Key Features of ASPE:

  • Simplicity and Cost-Effectiveness: ASPE is less demanding in terms of financial statement preparation and disclosures compared to IFRS, making it a practical choice for private enterprises.
  • Stakeholder Focus: The standards are tailored to meet the needs of private company stakeholders, ensuring relevant and straightforward financial reporting.

IFRS: The Standard for Public Companies

IFRS is mandatory for publicly traded companies, which cannot opt to use ASPE. The complexity and rigor of IFRS reflect the need for high-quality financial information that the public and investors can rely on to make informed decisions.

Key Features of IFRS:

  • Global Consistency: IFRS standards are uniform across the world, facilitating meaningful comparisons between companies internationally. This is particularly beneficial for investors.
  • Comprehensive Disclosure: IFRS requires more detailed disclosures and rigorous financial statement preparation, ensuring that all relevant information is available to users.

Choosing Between IFRS and ASPE

For private companies, the choice between IFRS and ASPE depends on their long-term plans. If a private company intends to go public in the future, adopting IFRS early on can be advantageous despite the higher initial costs. This proactive approach can save the company from the complex and costly process of transitioning from ASPE to IFRS later on.

Considerations for Private Companies:

  • Future Public Offering: If there are plans to go public, adopting IFRS early can streamline future financial reporting transitions.
  • Current Needs: For private companies with no intention of going public, ASPE remains the most practical and cost-effective choice.


The decision between IFRS and ASPE ultimately hinges on whether a company is private or publicly traded. Private companies with no plans to go public should opt for ASPE due to its simplicity and cost efficiency. In contrast, publicly traded companies must adhere to IFRS to meet the expectations of global investors and stakeholders.

Understanding these standards and making an informed choice is essential for ensuring accurate, reliable, and transparent financial reporting tailored to the specific needs and future aspirations of the business.