Changes in accounting policies take place when the company is changing a policy that it has been using for some time. For example, if the company was using straight line method in its depreciation and now is looking to use double decreasing balance method, the company is altering one of its policies. This would classify as policy change and will have to be adjusted in the financial statements. These policies have to be applied in prospective measure and the company will have to follow it in the future as well. Changes in accounting estimates are when the company is changing just an estimate that it used before.
This can take place if one of the assumptions of the company is changing. For example, if the fair value that was estimated was one but after the event finally took place, the value was different; this would qualify as a change in the estimate. This is also applied on a prospective basis and applied by the company on a prospective phase and has to be used consistently by the company. For Woolworths, there was a change in the accounting standards in August 2011 and the application of AASB 10 was applied.
This was regarding the application regarding the definition of control by the parent company. A review was carried out by Woolworths which showed that the subsidiaries were not being consolidated in the right manner and there was a change in the consolidated financial statements of the company. Still, the change was not material and wasn’t expected to create a huge change in the financial statements. For Wesfarmers, there was a revision in AASB 1048 which was regarding the interpretations of standards. The standard gave the identification of standards in two categories regarding entities that correspond to the IASB interpretation and one that do not. This did not have a significant effect in the company and the statements were not expected to change a great deal.