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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IAS 8 Best summary policies estimates and errors

IAS 8 Best summary policies estimates and comprises a high level summary of the three items in this standard:

  1. Accounting policies,
  2. Accounting Estimates
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Weighted average number of shares outstanding

The calculation of the weighted average number of shares outstanding itself is not that difficult (see IAS 33 Example 2 or below example). And it is even easier if no changes have taken place in the number/amount of shares issued during the year. The general principle under IAS 33 is that shares should be included in calculating the weighted average number of shares outstanding during a year from the date the consideration is receivable (which in general is the date of the issue of the shares). [IAS 33 21]

Where shares are issued as consideration for the purchase of an asset or the payment of a liability, the shares are included in the calculation of the weighted average … Read more

Dilution

Dilution is a reduction in earnings per share or an increase in loss per share resulting from the assumption that convertible instruments are converted etcetera

Notes to the financial statements

Notes to the financial statements that contain information in addition to the statement of financial position, of financial performance, of changes in equity