Asian companies have been among the first in the world to start preparing for IFRS 17, with Korean firms most advanced in implementing the incoming accounting standard.
That is according to a new report from financial technology service provider FIS, which reveals that companies in China, Malaysia and Thailand have also been some of the first movers.
It highlights how a lack of risk-based capital requirements have spurred action across Asia, with Korean firms having to radically transform their operations to achieve compliance with both IFRS 17 and K-ICS.
Multinationals are also among a 'first wave' of companies identified by FIS that are particularly prepared, with these firms beginning implementation and gap analysis early last year.
"If you are in the first wave of IFRS 17, you will have progressed far down the project path and have the end goal in sight," FIS global risk solutions leader, Martin Sarjeant, said.
"The insurers we have been working with have made great progress in modernising their financial reporting platform, increasing governance and reducing their close period."
IFRS 17 takes effect on 1 January 2021, and is expected to usher in a significant transformation for insurance companies, encompassing all areas of financial reporting.
FIS said western European firms are in the 'second wave' of preparedness and are increasingly moving from implementation and gap analysis to deciding on systems, partners and methodology.
North American companies are in a similar position, while those in South Africa, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe are in the 'third wave' having only started gap analysis this year.
It is though those that leave it too late could suffer considerable losses and skills shortages as firms scramble to find the right staff amid huge demand for specific expertise.
"If your country or company are in the third wave, there is very little time left to make key decisions and implement change to support compliance," Sarjeant said. "IFRS 17 goes live at the dawn of 2021.
"That may sound like a reasonable amount of time, but it's not long at all to implement a standard which will transform accounting for insurers and touch so many of their function areas."
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