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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What happened in the reporting period

What happened in the reporting period

There is no requirement to disclose a summary of significant events and transactions that have affected the company’s financial position and performance during the period under review (or simply what happened in the reporting period). However, information such as this could help readers understand the entity’s performance and any changes to the entity’s financial position during the year and make it easier finding the relevant information. However, information such as this could also be provided in the (unaudited) operating and financial review rather than the (audited) notes to the financial statements.

Covid-19
At the time of writing, the biggest impact on the financial statements of entities all around the world is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most entities will be affected by this in one form or another and should discuss the impact prominently in their financial statements. However, as the events are still unfolding, this publication is not providing any illustrative examples or guidance. See how to account for Covid-19 to get an up-to-date discussion.

Going concern disclosures [IAS1.25]
When preparing financial statements, management shall make an assessment of an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. Financial statements shall be prepared on a going concern basis unless management either intends to liquidate the entity or to cease trading, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.

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IAS 16 Generation assets for Power and Utilities

Generation assets for Power and Utilities

– are often large and complex installations. They are expensive to construct, tend to be exposed to harsh operating conditions and require periodic replacement or repair. This environment leads to specific accounting issues.

1 Fixed assets and components

IFRS has a specific requirement for ‘component’ depreciation, as described in IAS 16 Property, Plant and Equipment. Each significant part of an item of property, plant and equipment is depreciated separately. Significant parts of an asset that have similar useful lives and patterns of consumption can be grouped together. This requirement can create complications for utility entities, because many assets include components with a shorter useful life than the asset as a whole.

Identifying components of an asset

Generation assets might comprise a significant number of components, many of which will have differing useful lives. The significant components of these types of assets must be separately identified. This can be a complex process, particularly on transition to IFRS, because the detailed record-keeping needed for componentisation might not have been required in order to comply with national generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This can particularly be an issue for older power plants. However, some regulators require detailed asset records, which can be useful for IFRS component identification purposes.

An entity might look to its operating data if the necessary information for components is not readily identified by the accounting records. Some components can be identified by considering the routine shutdown or overhaul schedules for power stations and the associated replacement and maintenance routines. Consideration should also be given to those components that are prone to technological obsolescence, corrosion or wear and tear that is more severe than that of the other portions of the larger asset.

First-time IFRS adopters can benefit from an exemption under IFRS 1 First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards. This exemption allows entities to use a value that is not depreciated cost in accordance with IAS 16, and IAS 23 Borrowing Costs as deemed cost on transition to IFRS. It is not necessary to apply the exemption to all assets or to a group of assets.

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IFRS 5 Non-current assets Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations

 

IFRS 5 Non-current assets Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations

at a glance – here it is the ultimate summary:

IFRS 5

Source: https://www.bdo.global/en-gb/services/audit-assurance/ifrs/ifrs-at-a-glance

Definitions
Cash-generating unit – The smallest identifiable group of assets that generates cash inflows that are largely independent of the cash inflows from other assets or groups of assets. Discontinued operation – A component of an entity that either has been disposed of or is classified as held for sale and either:
  • Represents a separate major line of business or geographical area
  • Is part of a single co-ordinated plan to dispose of a separate major line of business or geographical area of operations
  • Is a subsidiary acquired exclusively with a view to resale.
SCOPE
  • Applies to all
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IAS 36 Other impairment issues

IAS 36 Other impairment issues – When looking at the step-by-step IAS 36 impairment approach it comes down to the following broadly organised steps: IAS 36 How Impairment test

  • What?? – Determining the scope and structure of the impairment review, explained here,
  • If and when? – Determining if and when a quantitative impairment test is necessary, explained here,
  • IAS 36 How Impairment test or understanding the mechanics of the impairment test and how to recognise or reverse any impairment loss, if necessary, which is explained here

IAS 36 Other impairment issues discusses other common application issues encountered when applying IAS 36, including those related to:

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Leveraged buyout IFRS 3 best reporting

Leveraged buyout IFRS 3 best reporting – In corporate finance, a leveraged buyout (LBO) is a transaction where a company is acquired using debt as the main source of consideration. These transactions typically occur when a private equity (PE) firm borrows as much as they can from a variety of lenders (up to 70 or 80 percent of the purchase price) and funds the balance with their own equity. Leveraged buyout IFRS 3 best reporting

1 The process and business reason

The use of leverage (debt) enhances expected returns to the private equity firm. By putting in as little of their own money as possible, PE firms can achieve a large return on equity (ROE) and internal rate of return … Read more

Investments in Joint Ventures Overview

Investments in Joint Ventures Overview that is what this is……

An entity with joint control of an investee shall account for its investment in a joint venture using the equity method except when that investment qualifies for exemption in IAS 28. Investments in Joint Ventures Overview

The exemptions include:Investments in Joint Ventures Overview

  • if the entity is a parent that is exempt from preparing consolidated financial statements by the scope exception in paragraphs 4(a) of IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements; or Investments in Joint Ventures Overview
  • all of the following apply: Investments in Joint Ventures Overview
    1. the entity is a wholly-owned subsidiary, or is a partially-owned subsidiary of another entity and its other owners, including those not otherwise entitled
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IFRS 13 Asset accumulation method

IFRS 13 Asset accumulation method – The asset accumulation method and the adjusted net asset method are both generally accepted business valuation methods of the asset-based business valuation approach.

The asset accumulation method is well suited for business and security valuations performed for transaction, taxation, and controversy purposes. All business valuation approaches and methods can indicate the defined value of the subject business entity. IFRS 13 Asset accumulation method

In addition, the asset accumulation method also helps to explain the concluded value—by specifically identifying the value impact of each category of the subject entity assets and liabilities.

IFRS 13 Asset accumulation methodThis informational content of the asset accumulation method is particularly useful in a transaction, taxation, or controversy context when the particular analysis … Read more

IFRS 13 Adjusted net asset method

IFRS 13 Adjusted net asset method and the asset accumulation method are both generally accepted business valuation methods of the asset-based business valuation approach.

First, the valuation expert typically starts with the subject company’s GAAP-based balance sheet. The valuation expert will use the balance sheet dated closest to the analysis valuation date. Preferably, the valuation expert will use the company’s balance sheet that was prepared just before the analysis valuation date. IFRS 13 Adjusted net asset method

Second, the valuation expert identifies and separates (for further analysis) any non-operating or excess assets reported on the balance sheet. Such assets may include vacant land or other assets held for investment purposes. Such assets may also include those assets that are … Read more

IAS 41 Agricultural activity and produce

IAS 41 Agricultural activity and produce – The objective of IAS 41 is to prescribe the accounting treatment and disclosures related to agricultural activity.IAS 41 Agricultural activity and produce

Scope IAS 41 Agricultural activity and produce

IAS 41 shall be applied to account for the following when they relate to agricultural activity:

  1. biological assets, except for bearer plants; IAS 41 Agricultural activity and produce
  2. agricultural produce at the point of harvest; and
  3. conditional or unconditional grants relating to a biological asset measured at its fair value less costs to sell.

IAS 41 does not apply to:

  1. land related to agricultural activity;
  2. bearer plants related to agricultural activity. However, IAS 41 applies to the produce on those bearer plants;
  3. government grants related to bearer plants;
  4. intangible
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