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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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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IFRS 2 Shares to the value of a fixed amount

Variable number of equity instruments or variable exercise price or IFRS 2 Shares to the value of a fixed amount

Shares to the value of of if a variable number of equity instruments to the value of a fixed amount is granted, commonly known as ‘shares to the value of’, then such an arrangement is recorded as an equity-settled share-based payment. IFRS 2 Shares to the value of a fixed amount

A question arises about the measurement of such a grant if the date of delivery of the shares is in the future because there is a service requirement. In general, there are two acceptable approaches in respect of measurement:

  • as a fixed amount of cash that will be
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IFRS 2 Fair value of equity instruments granted

IFRS 2 Fair value of equity instruments granted – Share-based payment transactions with employees are measured with reference to the fair value of the equity instruments granted (IFRS 2.11).

The fair value of a equity instrument granted is determined as follows (IFRS 2.16-17):

  • If market prices are available for the actual equity instruments granted – i.e. shares or share options with the same terms and conditions – then the estimate of fair value is based on these market prices. IFRS 2 Fair value of equity instruments granted
  • If market prices are not available for the equity instruments granted, then the fair value of equity instruments granted is estimated using a valuation technique.

IFRS 2 (IFRS Read more

IFRS 2 Determination of the vesting period

Overview IFRS 2 Determination of the vesting period

Employee service costs are recognised in profit or loss over the vesting period from the service commencement date until vesting date. The following topics are of importance in IFRS 2 Determination of the vesting period

Service commencement date and grant date

The ‘vesting period’ is the period during which all of the specified vesting conditions are to be satisfied in order for the employees to be entitled unconditionally to the equity instrument. Normally, this is the period between grant date and the vesting date (see IFRS 2 Definitions).

However, services are recognised when they are received and grant date may occur after the employees have begun rendering services. Grant date is … Read more

IFRS 2 How to easily determine the grant date

IFRS 2 How to easily determine the grant date – The determination of grant date is important because this is the date on which the fair value of equity instruments granted is measured. Usually, grant date is also the date on which recognition of the employee cost begins. However, this is not always the case (see 6.4.10) (reference will follow). (IFRS 2 11)

‘Grant date’ is the date at which the entity and the employee agree to a share-based payment arrangement, and requires that the entity and the employee have a shared understanding of the terms and conditions of the arrangement. (IFRS 2 Definitions) IFRS 2 How to easily determine the grant date

In order for … Read more

IFRS 2 Employee equity-settled share-based payment

IFRS 2 Employee equity-settled share-based payment – Headlines

Employee services are recognised as expenses, unless they qualify for recognition as assets, with a corresponding increase in equity.

  • Employee service costs are recognised over the vesting period from the service commencement date until vesting date.
  • Employee services are measured indirectly with reference to the fair value of the equity instruments granted; this is done by applying the modified grant-date method. If, in rare circumstances, the fair value of the equity instruments granted cannot be measured reliably, then the intrinsic value method is applied.
  • Under the modified grant-date method, the grant-date fair value of the equity instruments granted is determined once at grant date, which may be after the service commencement date.
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The 2 essential types of share-based payments

The 2 essential types of share-based payments – Snapshot

Share-based payments are classified based on whether the entity’s obligation is to deliver its own equity instruments (equity-settled) or cash or other assets (cash-settled).

1. Equity-settled share-based payments

For equity-settled transactions, an entity recognises a cost and a corresponding entry in equity.

Measurement is based on the grant-date fair value of the equity instruments granted.

Market and non-vesting conditions are reflected in the initial measurement of fair value, with no subsequent true-up for differences between expected and actual outcome.

The estimate of the number of equity instruments for which the service and non-market performance conditions are expected to be satisfied is revised during the vesting period such that the cumulative amount 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

Share-based payment

In share-based payment transactions, an entity receives goods or services from a counterparty and grants equity instruments (equity-settled share-based payment transactions) or incurs a liability to deliver cash or other assets for amounts that are based on the price (or value) of equity instruments (cash-settled share-based payment transactions) as consideration.

The following transactions are not in the scope of IFRS 2:

  • transactions with counterparties acting as shareholders rather than as suppliers of goods or services;
  • transactions in which a share-based payment is made in exchange for control of a business; and
  • transactions in which contracts to acquire non-financial items in exchange for a share-based payment are in the scope of the financial instruments standards.

A ‘counterparty’ can be … Read more