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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1 Best Complete Read – Financial Instruments

Financial Instruments is a summary of the current (Financial Statements preparation for 2020 on wards) IFRS reporting requirements relating to the combination of IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation, IFRS 7 Financial instruments: Disclosure and IFRS 9 Financial Instruments, into one overall narrative.

IFRS standards for Financial Instruments have a complicated history. It was originally intended that IFRS 9 would replace IAS 39 in its entirety. However, in response to requests from interested parties that the accounting for financial instruments be improved quickly, the project to replace IAS 39 was divided into three main phases.

The three main phases of the project to replace IAS 39 were:

  1. Phase 1: classification and measurement of financial assets and financial liabilities.
  2. Phase
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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 16 Good Important Read – Lease payments

Lease payments – Lessee perspective

or what does a lessee include in its lease liability?

At the commencement date, a lessee measures the lease liability as the present value of lease payments that have not been paid at that date. In a simple lease that includes only fixed lease payments, this can be a simple calculation (IFRS 16.26).

Lease payments

Worked example – Fixed lease payments are included in lease liabilities
Lessee B enters into a five year lease of a photocopier. The lease payments are 10,000 per annum, paid at the end of each year.

Because the annual lease payments are fixed amounts, B includes the present value of the five annual payments in the initial measurement of the lease liability.

Using a discount rate (determined as B’s incremental borrowing rate) of 5%, the lease liability at the commencement date is calculated as follows:

Year

Lease payments

Discounted

1

10,000

9,524

2

10,000

9,070

3

10,000

8,638

4

10,000

8,227

5

10,000

7,835

Lease liability at commencement date

43,294

 

Categories of lease payment

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Excellent Study IFRS 9 Eligible Hedged items

IFRS 9 Eligible Hedged items

the insured items of business risk exposures

Although the popular definition of hedging is an investment taken out to limit the risk of another investment, insurance is an example of a real-world hedge.

Every entity is exposed to business risks from its daily operations. Many of those risks have an impact on the cash flows or the value of assets and liabilities, and therefore, ultimately affect profit or loss. In order to manage these risk exposures, companies often enter into derivative contracts (or, less commonly, other financial instruments) to hedge them. Hedging can, therefore, be seen as a risk management activity in order to change an entity’s risk profile.

The idea of hedge accounting is to reduce (insure) this mismatch by changing either the measurement or (in the case of certain firm commitments) FRS 9 Eligible Hedged itemsrecognition of the hedged exposure, or the accounting for the hedging instrument.

The definition of a Hedged item

A hedged item is an asset, liability, firm commitment, highly probable forecast transaction or net investment in a foreign operation that

  1. exposes the entity to risk of changes in fair value or future cash flows and
  2. is designated as being hedged

The hedge item can be:

Only assets, liabilities, firm commitments and forecast transactions with an external party qualify for hedge accounting. As an exception, a hedge of the foreign currency risk of an intragroup monetary item qualifies for hedge accounting if that foreign currency risk affects consolidated profit or loss. In addition, the foreign currency risk of a highly probable forecast intragroup transaction would also qualify as a hedged item if that transaction affects consolidated profit or loss. These requirements are unchanged from IAS 39.

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IFRS 7 Financial instruments Disclosures High level summary

Scope IFRS 7 Financial instruments Disclosures High level summary

IFRS 7 applies to all recognised and unrecognised financial instruments (including contracts to buy or sell non-financial assets) except:

  • Interests in subsidiaries, associates or joint ventures, where IAS 27/28 or IFRS 10/11 permit accounting in accordance with IAS 39/IFRS 9
  • Assets and liabilities resulting from IAS 19
  • Insurance contracts in accordance with IFRS 4 (excluding embedded derivatives in these contracts if IAS 39/IFRS 9 require separate accounting)
  • Financial instruments, contracts and obligations under IFRS 2, except contracts within the scope of IAS 39/IFRS 9
  • Puttable instruments (IAS 32.16A-D).

Disclosure requirements: Significance of financial instruments in terms of the financial position and performance

Statement of financial position

Statement of

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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.

11 Best fair value measurements under IFRS 13

11 Best fair value measurements under IFRS 13 – Several IFRS standards provide guidance regarding the scope and application of for assets and liabilities. Here they are from 1 to 11…….

1 Investments in associates and joint ventures

Investments held by venture capital organizations and the like are exempt from IAS 28’s requirements … Read more

IFRS 7 Comprehensive Risk disclosures

IFRS 7 Comprehensive Risk disclosures – Management should disclose information that enables users of its financial statements to evaluate the nature and extent of risks arising from financial instruments to which the entity is exposed at the end of the reporting period [IFRS 7 31]. IFRS 7 Comprehensive Risk disclosures

IFRS 7 requires certain disclosures to be presented by category of an instrument based on the IFRS 9 recognition and measurement categories of financial instruments (previously the IAS 39 measurement categories). IFRS 7 Comprehensive Risk disclosures

Certain other disclosures are required by class of financial instrument. For those disclosures an entity must group its financial instruments into classes of similar instruments as appropriate to the nature of the … Read more