Better Communication in Financial Reporting

Better Communication in Financial Reporting

Better Communication in Financial Reporting is an IFRS.org initiative to focus financial reporting on users. There is a general view that financial reports have become too complex and difficult to read and that financial reporting tends to focus more on compliance than communication. See also narrative reporting as a discussion on alternative ways of reporting.

At the same time, users’ tolerance for sifting through information to find what they need continues to decline.

This has implications for the reputation of companies who fail to keep pace. A global study confirmed this trend, with the majority of analysts stating that the quality of reporting directly influenced their opinion of the quality of management.

To demonstrate what companies could do to make their financial report more relevant, there are several suggestions to ‘streamline’ the financial statements to reflect some of the best practices that have been emerging globally over the past few years. In particular:

  • Information is organized to clearly tell the story of financial performance and make critical information more prominent and easier to find.
  • Additional information is included where it is important for an understanding of the performance of the company. For example, we have included a summary of significant transactions and events as the first note to the financial statements even though this is not a required disclosure.

Improving disclosure effectiveness

Terms such as ’disclosure overload’ and ‘cutting the clutter’, and more precisely ‘disclosure effectiveness’, describe a problem in financial reporting that has become a priority issue for the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB or Board), local standard setters, and regulatory bodies. The growth and complexity of financial statement disclosure is also drawing significant attention from financial statement preparers, and more importantly, the users of financial statements.

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IFRS 10 Special control approach

IFRS 10 Special control approach

– determines which entities are consolidated in a parent’s financial statements and therefore affects a group’s reported results, cash flows and financial position – and the activities that are ‘on’ and ‘off’ the group’s balance sheet. Under IFRS, this control assessment is accounted for in accordance with IFRS 10 ‘Consolidated financial statements’.

Some of the challenges of applying the IFRS 10 Special control approach include:

  • identifying the investee’s returns, which in turn involves identifying its assets and liabilities. This may appear straightforward but complications arise when the legal ownership of assets diverges from the accounting depiction (for example, in financial asset transfers that ‘fail’ de-recognition, and in finance leases). In general, the assessment of the investee’s assets and returns should be consistent with the accounting depiction in accordance with IFRS
  • it may not always be clear whether contracts and other arrangements between an investor and an investee
    • create rights or exposure to a variable return from the investee’s performance for the investor; or
    • transfer risk or variability from the investor to the investee IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • the relevant activities of an SPE may not be obvious, especially when its activities have been narrowly specified in its purpose and design IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • the rights to direct those activities might also be difficult to identify, because for example, they arise only in particular circumstances or from contracts that are outside the legal boundary of the SPE (but closely related to its activities).

IFRS 10 Special control approach sets out requirements for how to apply the control principle in less straight forward circumstances, which are detailed below:  IFRS 10 Special control approach

  • when voting rights or similar rights give an investor power, including situations where the investor holds less than a majority of voting rights and in circumstances involving potential voting rights
  • when an investee is designed so that voting rights are not the dominant factor in deciding who controls the investee, such as when any voting rights relate to administrative tasks only and the relevant activities are directed by means of contractual arrangements IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • involving agency relationships IFRS 10 Special control approach
  • when the investor has control only over specified assets of an investee
  • franchises. IFRS 10 Special control approach

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IFRS vs US GAAP Investment property – Broken in 10 great excellent reads

IFRS vs US GAAP Investment property

The following discussion captures a number of the more significant GAAP differences under both the impairment standards. It is important to note that the discussion is not inclusive of all GAAP differences in this area.

The significant differences and similarities between U.S. GAAP and IFRS related to accounting for investment property are summarized in the following tables.

Standards Reference

US GAAP1

IFRS2

360 Property, Plant and equipment

IAS 40 Investment property

Introduction

The guidance under US GAAP and IFRS as it relates to investment property contains some significant differences with potentially far-reaching implications.

Links to detailed observations by subject

Definition and classification Initial measurement Subsequent measurement
Fair value model Cost model Subsequent expenditure
Timing of transfers Measurement of transfers Redevelopment
Disposals

Overview

US GAAP

IFRS

Unlike IFRS Standards, there is no specific definition of ‘investment property’; such property is accounted for as property, plant and equipment unless it meets the criteria to be classified as held-for-sale.

‘Investment property’ is property (land or building) held by the owner or lessee to earn rentals or for capital appreciation, or both.

Unlike IFRS Standards, there is no guidance on how to classify dual-use property. Instead, the entire property is accounted for as property, plant and equipment.

A portion of a dual-use property is classified as investment property only if the portion could be sold or leased out under a finance lease. Otherwise, the entire property is classified as investment property only if the portion of the property held for own use is insignificant.

Unlike IFRS Standards, ancillary services provided by a lessor do not affect the treatment of a property as property, plant and equipment.

If a lessor provides ancillary services, and such services are a relatively insignificant component of the arrangement as a whole, then the property is classified as investment property.

Like IFRS Standards, investment property is initially measured at cost as property, plant and equipment.

Investment property is initially measured at cost.

Unlike IFRS Standards, subsequent to initial recognition all investment property is measured using the cost model as property, plant and equipment.

Subsequent to initial recognition, all investment property is measured under either the fair value model (subject to limited exceptions) or the cost model.

If the fair value model is chosen, then changes in fair value are recognised in profit or loss.

Unlike IFRS Standards, there is no requirement to disclose the fair value of investment property.

Disclosure of the fair value of all investment property is required, regardless of the measurement model used.

Similar to IFRS Standards, subsequent expenditure is generally capitalised if it is probable that it will give rise to future economic benefits.

Subsequent expenditure is capitalised only if it is probable that it will give rise to future economic benefits.

Unlike IFRS Standards, investment property is accounted for as property, plant and equipment, and there are no transfers to or from an ‘investment property’ category.

Transfers to or from investment property can be made only when there has been a change in the use of the property.

IFRS vs US GAAP Investment property IFRS vs US GAAP Investment property IFRS vs US GAAP Investment property

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IAS 1 Common control transactions v Newco formation

Common control transactions v Newco formation

are two different events, that sometimes interactCommon control transactions v Newco formation

  • Common control transactions represent the transfer of assets or an exchange of equity interests among entities under the same parent’s control. “Control” can be established through a majority voting interest, as well as variable interests and contractual arrangements. Entities that are consolidated by the same parent—or that would be consolidated, if consolidated financial statements were required to be prepared by the parent or controlling party—are considered to be under common control.Determining whether common control exists requires judgment and could have broad implications for financial reporting, deals and tax. Just a few examples are:
    • A reporting entity charters a newly formed entity to effect a transaction.
    • A ‘Never-Neverland‘-domiciled company transfers assets to a subsidiary domiciled in a different jurisdiction.
    • Two companies under common control combine to form one legal entity.
    • Prior to spin-off of a subsidiary by a parent entity, another wholly owned subsidiary transfers net assets to the “SpinCo.”
    • As part of a reorganization, a parent entity merges with and into a wholly owned subsidiary.
  • Newco formations may be used in Business Combinations or businesses controlled by the same party (or parties). Just a few examples are: Common control transactions v Newco formation
    • A Newco can be formed by the controlling party (for example, to facilitate subsequent disposal of the newly created group through an initial public offering (IPO) or a spin-off or by a third-party acquirer (for example to raise funds to effect the acquisition); Common control transactions v Newco formation
    • A Newco can pay cash or shares to effect an acquisition; and
    • A Newco can be formed to acquire just one business or more than one business.

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Overview IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements

Overview IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial StatementsShort – To establish principles for the presentation and preparation of consolidated financial statements when an entity controls one or more other entities Overview IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements

Longer – IFRS 10 replaces the part of IAS 27 Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements that addresses accounting for subsidiaries on consolidation. What remains in IAS 27 after the implementation of IFRS 10 is the accounting treatment for subsidiaries, jointly controlled entities and associates in their separate financial statements.Contingent consideration Contingent consideration Contingent consideration Contingent consideration Contingent consideration

The aim of IFRS 10 is to establish a single control model that is applied to all entities including special purpose entities. The changes require those dealing with the implementation of IFRS 10 to exercise Read more

Consolidated financial statements

The financial statements of a group in which the assets, liabilities, equity, income, expenses and cash flows of the parent and its subsidiaries are presented as those of a single economic entity. The detailed ‘mechanics’ of the consolidation process vary from one group to another, depending on the group’s structure, history and financial reporting systems. IFRS 10 and much of the literature on consolidation are based on a traditional approach to consolidation under which the financial statements (or, more commonly in practice, group ‘reporting packs’) of group entities are aggregated and then adjusted on each reporting date.

US GAAP vs IFRS Consolidations at-a-glance

US GAAP vs IFRS Consolidations at-a-glance – IFRS provides indicators of control, some of which individually determine the need to consolidate. However, where control is not apparent, consolidation is based on an overall assessment of all of the relevant facts, including the allocation of risks and benefits between the parties. The indicators provided under IFRS help the reporting entity in making that assessment. Consolidation in financial statements is required under IFRS when an entity is exposed to variable returns from another entity and has the ability to affect those returns through its power over the other entity. US GAAP vs IFRS Consolidations at-a-glance

US GAAP has a two-tier consolidation model: one focused on voting rights (the voting interest model) and … Read more

IFRS 12 Disclosure of Interest in Other Entities

IFRS 12 Disclosure of Interest in Other Entities is a consolidated disclosure standard requiring a wide range of disclosures about an entity’s interests in subsidiaries, joint arrangements, associates and unconsolidated ‘structured entities’. Disclosures are presented as a series of objectives, with detailed guidance on satisfying those objectives.

IFRS 12

Source: PKF Summaries & Snapshots

Or in more detail……

SCOPE

DEFINITIONS

SIGNIFICANT JUDGEMENTS AND ASSUMPTIONS

Applied by entities that have an interest in: Subsidiaries; joint arrangements, associates; and unconsolidated structured entities.

IFRS 12 does not apply to:

  • Post-employment benefit plans or other long-term employee benefit plans to which IAS 19 Employee Benefits applies,

  • Separate financial statements, where IAS 27 Separate Financial Statements applies

  • An interest held by an entity that

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So, what exactly is a joint venture?

what exactly is a joint venture? – Joint ventures are economic arrangements between two or more parties where key strategic decisions are made unanimously by the entities (the “venturers”) that share control. Key strategic decisions would include decisions that significantly impact sales and purchases of goods and services; research and development of new products; acquisitions and disposals; and the funding structure of the venture.

Joint ventures may appear in incorporated or unincorporated form (i.e. a joint venture need not result in the creation of a separate legal entity). “Strategic alliances” in which companies agree to work together to promote each other’s products or services may also be considered joint ventures.

How are joint ventures classified and accounted for? So, what

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IFRS 10 Structured vs non-structured entities

IFRS 10 Structured vs non-structured entities is a distinction in use under IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements. Consolidation under IFRS 10 is based on what can be referred to as a ‘power-to-direct’ model. Although there is no distinction between different types of entities in determining whether one entity controls another, there is a ‘gating’ question in the analysis that distinguishes between entities for which: IFRS 10 Structured vs non-structured entities

  • voting rights are the dominant factor in assessing whether the investor has power over the investee – i.e. the investee is controlled by voting instruments; and
  • voting rights are not the dominant factor in assessing whether the investor has power over the investee – i.e. the investee is
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