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 1 Presentation of financial statements

IAS 1 Presentation of financial statements

Objective

IAS 1 Presentation of financial statements provides the basis for presentation of general-purpose financial statements, to ensure:

  • comparability both with the entity’s financial statements of previous periods, and
  • with the financial statements of other entities.

To achieve this objective, IAS 1 sets out overall requirements for the presentation of financial statements, guidelines for their structure and minimum requirements for their content.

The illustration below shows an overview of the purpose, overall considerations, and components of financial statements.

IAS 1 Technical summary

Fundamental concepts/conventions for FS

Fair presentation and compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs)

  • Financial statements shall present fairly the financial position, financial performance and cash flows of an entity
  • An entity whose financial statements
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Components of Financial Statements

Components of Financial Statements – The following comprise a complete set of financial statements:

  • a statement of financial position,
  • a statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income, presented either:
    • in a single statement that included all components of profit or loss and other comprehensive income, or
    • in the form of two separate statements:
      • one displaying components of profit or loss,
      • immediately preceding another statement beginning with profit or loss and displaying components of other comprehensive income,
  • a statement of changes in equity,
  • a statement of cash flows,
  • notes to the financial statements, comprising significant accounting policies and other explanatory information,
  • a (third) statement of financial position as at the beginning of the preceding period where an entity restates comparative information following:
    • a change in accounting policy,
    • a correction of an error, or
    • a reclassification of items in the financial statements, and
    • comparative information in respect of the preceding period.

Components of Financial Statements Components of Financial Statements

Components of Financial Statements

a (third) statement of financial position as at the beginning of the preceding period where an entity restates comparative information following a (third) statement of financial position as at the beginning of the preceding period where an entity restates comparative information following a (third) statement of financial position as at the beginning of the preceding period where an entity restates comparative information following

a (third) statement of financial position as at the beginning of the preceding period where an entity restates comparative information following a (third) statement of financial position as at the beginning of the preceding period where an entity restates comparative information following a (third) statement of financial position as at the beginning of the preceding period where an entity restates comparative information following

Components of Financial Statements

1st and best IFRS Accounting for client money

IFRS Accounting for client money

If an entity holds money on behalf of clients (‘client money’):

  • should the client money be recognised as an asset in the entity’s financial statements?
  • where the client money is recognised as an asset, can it be offset against the corresponding liability to the client on the face of the statement of financial position?

DEFINITION: Client money

“Client money” is used to describe a variety of arrangements in which the reporting entity holds funds on behalf of clients. Client money arrangements are often regulated and more specific definitions of the term are contained in some regulatory pronouncements. The guidance in this alert is not specific to any particular regulatory regime.

Entities may hold money on behalf of clients under many different contractual arrangements, for example:

  • a bank may hold money on deposit in a customer’s bank account;
  • a fund manager or stockbroker may hold money on behalf of a customer as a trustee;
  • an insurance broker may hold premiums paid by policyholders before passing them onto an insurer;
  • a lawyer or accountant may hold money on behalf of a client, often in a separate client bank account where the interest earned is for the client’s benefit.

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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

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

5 Comprehensive cash flow accounting events

Here are 5 Comprehensive cash flow accounting events with special presentation and/or disclosure requirements under IAS 7. They are:

1 IFRS 9 Classification of cash flows arising from a derivative used in an economic hedge

Consequential amendments were not made to IAS 7 as a result of the introduction of, and subsequent changes to, IFRS 9 Financial Instruments.

A related issue which often arises in practice is the classification of cash flows that arise from a derivative that, although used economically to hedge exposures, is not designated in an IFRS 9 qualifying hedge relationship. The same issue arises under IAS 39, for those insurers that meet the criteria for, and have chosen to apply, the temporary exemption from the application … 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