The real meaning of Integrated reporting

The real meaning of integrated reporting

Integrated reporting is more than only aimed at informing interested stakeholders about performance achieved against targets, the vision and strategy adopted to serve the stakeholders’ interests, and other factors that can influence business performance in future.

Clearly regulations require companies to exercise transparency. However, a more fundamental reason for reporting lies in accountability: a company needs to account for the impact it has on the stakeholders it relates to. Not exercising such transparency would impose serious risks, including high financing costs to compensate for a lack of transparency or governance or, ultimately, losing the license to operate. By contrast, a transparent approach would not only improve reputation, but also would bind stakeholders such as employees to the company’s objectives.

The reason for including environmental and social factors in reporting

In today’s world companies play a significant role in shaping the future of society. Awareness of this has risen significantly over the last decades, resulting in changed attitudes towards the role business is expected to play.

It also resulted in changes in the views of business leaders about the role they want to play.

Business these days is seen more than ever as the agent of a wide group of stakeholders. Unlike the old paradigm that ‘the business of business is business’, companies accept wider accountability in current times towards the stakeholders whose interests they impact – no longer can companies focus only on the interests of those with a financial interest.

This wider accountability implies that companies have to fulfil the (information) needs of those who provide them with integrated reportingother economic resources such as labour, space, air or natural resources and those who enter into transactions with the organization such as customers. Therefore a company’s current performance and future ability to continue operations and achieve business growth needs to be evaluated on the basis of a comprehensive set of factors that influence these.

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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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Estimating fair value

Estimating fair value – To start this narrative on fair value measurement three things to keep in mind!!!!

  1. Fair value measurement is an estimation process, not a scientific method: Uncertainty is key, what are the expected cash flows, what type of industry is concerned, at what stage of the Business Life Cycle is the business valued. Some (groups of) assets (and liabilities) or (business) units will therefore always have more precise estimates of fair value than others.

  2. Bias will always mystify fair value estimates: Much as we pay lip service to the notion that we can estimate fair value objectively, bias will find its way into fair value estimates. Honesty about the bias is all that we can

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Determining a leases discount rate

Determining a leases discount rate

The definition of the lessee’s incremental borrowing rate states that the rate should represent what the lessee ‘would have to pay to borrow over a similar term and with similar security, the funds necessary to obtain an asset of similar value to the right-of-use asset in a similar economic environment.’ In applying the concept of ‘similar security’, a lessee uses the right-of-use asset granted by the lease and not the fair value of the underlying asset.

This is because the rate should represent the amount that would be charged to acquire an asset of similar value for a similar period. For example, in determining the incremental borrowing rate on a 5 year lease of a property, the security for the portion of the asset being leased (i.e. the 5 year portion of its useful life) would be likely to vary significantly from the outright ownership of the property, as outright ownership would confer rights over a period of time that would typically be significantly greater than the 5-year right-of-use asset contained in the lease.

In practice, judgement may be needed to estimate an incremental borrowing rate in the context of a right-of-use asset, especially when the value of the underlying asset differs significantly from the value of the right-of-use asset.

An entity’s weighted-average cost of capital (‘WACC’) is not appropriate to use as a proxy for the incremental borrowing rate because it is not representative of the rate an entity would pay on borrowings. WACC incorporates the cost of equity-based capital, which is unsecured and ranks behind other creditors and will therefore be a higher rate than that paid on borrowings.

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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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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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Need for accounting measurement the big 1

Need for accounting measurement

Need for accounting measurement provides a summary of the measurement bases in use in Financial Reporting
and the concepts behind these measurement bases.
The measurement bases that will be considered here are

All these bases are forms of accrual accounting – that is, they are intended to measure income as it is earned and costs as they are incurred, as opposed to simply recording cash flows. The last four are all forms of current value measurement.

In forming a judgment on the appropriateness of measurement bases, in literature, the overriding tests has been identified to be their cost-effectiveness and fitness for purpose. However, in the absence of direct evidence on these matters, it is usual to argue in terms of various secondary characteristics that ought to be relevant in assessing the quality of information (see the key indicators in What is useful information?).

The most important of these characteristics are generally considered to be relevance and faithful representation / reliability (older term).

For each basis, an outline is given of how it works and the relevance and faithful representation of the resulting measurements. The question of measurement costs is also considered briefly. In reading the analyses that follow, the following comments should be borne in mind.

Bases of measurement in financial reporting are not carved in stone. Different people have different views on how each basis should work, and meanings evolve as practice changes. Some readers may therefore find that the way a particular basis is described does not match how they understand it.

This does not mean either that their understanding is wrong or that the description in the report is wrong; views on these things simply differ.

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IAS 36 Determine if and when to test for impairment

IAS 36 Determine if and when to test for impairment – When looking at the step-by-step IAS 36 impairment approach it comes down to the following broadly organised steps:

  • What?? – Determining the scope and structure of the impairment review (see the step-by-step IAS 36 impairment approach),
  • If and when? – Determining if and when a quantitative impairment test is necessary (discussed on this page),
  • How? – Understanding the mechanics of the impairment test and how to recognise or reverse any impairment loss, if necessary (see IAS 36 Impairment test – How?).

Step 3: IAS 36 Determine if and when to test for impairment

IAS 36 requires an entity to a perform a quantified … Read more

How to best account for COVID-19 under IAS 10

How to best account for COVID-19 under IAS 10 Events after the reporting period? The question is whether the COVID-19 crises is an adjusting event of a non-adjusting event for the Financial Statements for the period ended 31 December 2019 that have not been authorised for final distribution to stakeholders or for filing at a chamber of commerce or similar institute.

If it is a non-adjusting event what disclosures does it still require in the financial statements or management report accompanying these financial statements?

In terms of accounting implications, the current consensus is that an entity shall not adjust the amounts recognized in its financial statements (IAS 10 10 Non-adjusting events) as at 31 December 2019 to reflect … Read more