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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The best 1 in overview – IFRS 9 Impairment requirements

IFRS 9 Impairment requirements

forward-looking information to recognise expected credit losses for all debt-type financial assets

 

Under IFRS 9 Impairment requirements, recognition of impairment no longer depends on a reporting entity first identifying a credit loss event.

IFRS 9 instead uses more forward-looking information to recognise expected credit losses for all debt-type financial assets that are not measured at fair value through profit or loss.

IFRS 9 requires an entity to recognise a loss allowance for expected credit losses on:

  • debt instruments measured at amortised cost
  • debt instruments measured at fair value through other comprehensive income
  • lease receivables
  • contract assets (as defined in IFRS 15 ‘Revenue from Contracts with Customers’)
  • loan commitments that are not measured at fair value through profit or loss
  • financial guarantee contracts (except those accounted for as insurance contracts).

IFRS 9 requires an expected loss allowance to be estimated for each of these types of asset or exposure. However, the Standard specifies three different approaches depending on the type of asset or exposure:

IFRS 9 Impairment requirements

* optional application to trade receivables and contract assets with a significant financing component, and to lease receivables

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Low credit risk operational simplification

Low credit risk operational simplification

IFRS 9 contains an important simplification that, if a financial instrument has low credit risk, then an entity is allowed to assume at the reporting date that no significant increases in credit risk have occurred. The low credit risk concept was intended, by the IASB, to provide relief for entities from tracking changes in the credit risk of high quality financial instruments. Therefore, this simplification is only optional and the low credit risk simplification can be elected on an instrument-by-instrument basis.

This is a change from the 2013 ED, in which a low risk exposure was deemed not to have suffered significant deterioration in credit risk. The amendment to make the simplification optional was made in response to requests from constituents, including regulators. It is expected that the Basel Committee SCRAVL consultation document will propose that sophisticated banks should only use this simplification rarely for their loan portfolios.

For low risk instruments, the entity would recognise an allowance based on 12-month ECLs. However, if a financial instrument is not considered to have low credit risk at the reporting date, it does not follow that the entity is required to recognise lifetime ECLs. In such instances, the entity has to assess whether there has been a significant increase in credit risk since initial recognition that requires the recognition of lifetime ECLs.

The standard states that a financial instrument is considered to have low credit risk if: [IFRS 9.B5.22]

  • The financial instrument has a low risk of default
  • The borrower has a strong capacity to meet its contractual cash flow obligations in the near term
  • Adverse changes in economic and business conditions in the longer term may, but will not necessarily, reduce the ability of the borrower to fulfil its contractual cash flow obligations Low credit risk operational simplification

A financial instrument is not considered to have low credit risk simply because it has a low risk of loss (e.g., for a collateralised loan, if the value of the collateral is more than the amount lent (see collateral) or it has lower risk of default compared with the entity’s other financial instruments or relative to the credit risk of the jurisdiction within which the entity operates.

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Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance

Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance

Expected credit losses continuously in focus

In December 2015, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (‘the Committee’) issued its Guidance on credit risk and accounting for expected credit losses (‘Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance’). The Guidance sets out supervisory guidance on sound credit risk practices associated with the implementation and ongoing application of expected credit loss (ECL) accounting frameworks, such as that introduced in IFRS 9, Financial Instruments.

The Committee expects a disciplined, high-quality approach to assessing and measuring ECL by banks. The Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance emphasises the inclusion of a wide range of relevant, reasonable and supportable forward looking information, including macroeconomic data, in a bank’s accounting measure of ECL. In particular, banks should not ignore future events simply because they have a low probability of occurring or on the grounds of increased cost or subjectivity.

In addition, the Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance notes the Committee’s view that that the use of the practical expedients in IFRS 9 should be limited for internationally active banks. This includes the use of the ‘low credit risk’ exemption and the ‘more than 30 days past due’ rebuttable presumption in relation to assessing significant increases in credit risk.

Obviously, banks keep in continued talks to their local regulator about the extent to which their regulator expects the (below) Banking IFRS 9 Guidance to apply to them.

Principles underlying the Banking IFRS 9 Guidance – in Summary

Supervisory guidance for credit risk and accounting for expected credit losses

Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance Basel Committee IFRS 9 Guidance

Principle 1

Responsibility

A bank’s board of directors and senior management are responsible for ensuring appropriate credit risk practices, including an effective system of internal control, to consistently determine adequate allowances.

Principle 2

Methodology

The measurement of allowances should build upon robust methodologies to address policies, procedures and controls for assessing and measuring credit risk

Banks should clearly document the definition of key terms and criteria to duly consider the impact of forward-looking information including macro-economic factors, different potential scenarios and define accounting policies for restructurings

Principle 3

Credit Risk Rating

A bank should have a credit risk rating process in place to appropriately group lending exposures on the basis of shared credit risk characteristics

Principle 4

Allowances adequacy

A bank’s aggregate amount of allowances should be adequate and consistent with the objectives of the applicable accounting framework

Banks must ensure that the assessment approach (individual or collective) does not result in delayed recognition of ECL, e.g. by incorporating forward-looking information incl. macroeconomic factors on collective basis for individually assessed loans

Principle 5

Validation of models

A bank should have policies and procedures in place to appropriately validate models used to assess and measure expected credit losses

Principle 6

Experienced credit judgment

Experienced credit judgment in particular with regards to forward looking information and macroeconomic factors is essential

Consideration of forward looking information should not be avoided on the basis that banks consider costs as excessive or information too uncertain if this information contributes to a high quality implementation

Principle 7

Common systems

A bank should have a sound credit risk assessment and measurement process that provides it with a strong basis for common systems, tools and data

Principle 8

Disclosure

A bank’s public disclosures should promote transparency and comparability by providing timely, relevant, and decision-useful information

Principle 9

Assessment of Credit Risk Management

Banking supervisors should periodically evaluate the effectiveness of a bank’s credit risk practices

Principle 10

Approval of Models

Supervisors should be satisfied that the methods employed by a bank to determine accounting allowances lead to an appropriate measurement of expected credit losses

Principle 11

Assessment of Capital Adequacy

Banking supervisors should consider a bank’s credit risk practices when assessing a bank’s capital adequacy

Principles underlying the Banking IFRS 9 Guidance

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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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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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Best intro to accounting for cryptocurrencies in 1 view

Best intro to accounting for cryptocurrencies

the basics provides guidance on some of the basic issues encountered in accounting for cryptocurrencies, focussing on the accounting for the holder.

The popularity of cryptocurrencies has soared in recent years, yet they do not fit easily within IFRS’ financial reporting structure.

For example, an approach of accounting for holdings of cryptocurrencies at fair value through profit or loss may seem intuitive but is incompatible with the requirements of IFRS in most circumstances. Here the acceptable methods of accounting for holdings in cryptocurrencies are discussed while touching upon other issues that may be encountered.

Relevant IFRS

IAS 38 Intangible AssetsIAS 2 InventoriesIFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement

What is a cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is digital or ‘virtual’ money, which uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional currency units, and to verify the transfer of assets. Cryptography itself describes the process by which codes are written or generated to allow information to be kept secret.

In contrast to traditional forms of money which are controlled using centralised banking systems, cryptocurrencies use decentralised control. The decentralised control of a cryptocurrency works through a ‘blockchain’, which is a public transaction database, functioning as a distributed ledger.

This has advantages in that two parties can transact with each other directly without the need for an intermediary, saving time and cost.

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