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 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

Determining a leases discount rate

Determining a leases discount rate

IFRS 16.26 sets out the discount rate requirement as follows:

At the commencement date, a lessee shall measure the lease liability at the present value of the lease payments that are not paid at that date. The lease payments shall be discounted using the interest rate implicit in the lease, if that rate can be readily determined. If that rate cannot be readily determined, the lessee shall use the lessee’s incremental borrowing rate.”

Given a significant number of organisations are unlikely to have the necessary historical data to determine the interest rate implicit in the lease (“IRIIL”) for transition, it seems logical that the use of the incremental borrowing rate (“IBR”) will be relatively common at the date of adoption.

Additionally, any company choosing to use one of the modified retrospective approaches is required to use the IBR. For leases signed after transition, companies may be more readily able to determine IRIIL, however it is likely that companies will enter into leases which require the continued use of the IBR.

Lessee’s incremental borrowing rate

The rate of interest that a lessee would have to pay to borrow over a similar term, and with a similar security, the funds necessary to obtain an asset of a similar value to the right of use asset in a similar economic environment.”

Additional detail on determining the incremental borrowing rate can be found in the guidance outlining the transition related practical expedient for using a single discount rate for a portfolio of leases:

a lessee may apply a single discount rate to a portfolio of leases with reasonably similar characteristics (such as leases with a similar remaining lease term for a similar class of underlying asset in a similar economic environment).”

Combining these two aspects together results in the six factors (in green) requiring consideration in determining an IBR, either for an individual lease or a portfolio of leases.

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Retirement Benefit Plans

Retirement Benefit PlansRetirement Benefit Plans

The objective of IAS 26 is to specify measurement and disclosure principles for the reports of retirement benefit plans. All plans should include in their reports a statement of changes in net assets available for benefits, a summary of significant accounting policies and a description of the plan and the effect of any changes in the plan during the period.

Retirement benefit plans are normally described as either defined contribution plans or defined benefit plans, each having their own distinctive characteristics. Occasionally plans exist that contain characteristics of both. Such hybrid plans are considered to be defined benefit plans for the purposes of IAS 26.

For defined contribution plans, the objective of reporting is to provide information Read more

The Best 1 Disclosure of significant judgments for insurances

Disclosure of significant judgments for insurances – Consistent with IAS 1, IFRS 17 requires disclosure of significant judgment and changes in judgment that an entity makes in applying the standard [IFRS 17 93 and IAS 1 122]. Specifically, an entity must disclose the inputs, assumptions and estimation techniques it has used, including [IFRS 17 117]:

  • Methods to measure insurance contracts within the scope of IFRS 17 and processes to estimate the inputs to those methods. Unless impracticable, an entity must also provide quantitative information about those inputs.
  • Any changes in methods and processes for estimating inputs used to measure contracts, the reason for each change, and the type of contracts affected.
  • to the extent not covered
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Example of hyperinflation accounting

Example of hyperinflation accounting – Here is an example of hyperinflation accounting (change from functional currency (ARS) to presentation currency (USD)) and a limited disclosure on hedge accounting for a net investment in a foreign operation (Third-party financing of EUR operations in EUR-denominated notes).

  • Hyperinflation accounting

(Source: www.ft.com, ‘American companies count cost of Argentina inflation’ by Alistair Gray in New York and Benedict Mander in Buenos Aires APRIL 7, 2019)

‘Rampant inflation in Argentina has forced US companies to stop using the peso to account for their business in the country, triggering multimillion-dollar foreign exchange losses. Example of hyperinflation accounting

US accounting rules are requiring American businesses to use the dollar as their “functional currency” in Argentina because cumulative

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The Main Statements of Financial Statements – 1 Updated Reward to

The Main Statements of Financial StatementsThe Main Statements of Financial Statements

This is some explanation of the basic presentation of Financial Statements into a categorised format that is useful for the most of the users for Financial Statements.

There are four main financial statements:

  1. Statement of Financial Position,
  2. Statement of Profit or Loss and Other Comprehensive Income,
  3. Statement of Cash Flows,
  4. Statement of changes in Shareholders’ Equity.

Then to complete the contents of Financial Statements there are the ‘Notes to the Financial Statements‘. The Main Statements of Financial Statements

Keep in mind that as part of the Better Business Reporting project (Better communication in financial reporting) by among others IFRS and audit firms, reporting is more and more about better (easier, aligned to Read more

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

Accounting policies

Accounting policies: The specific principles, bases, conventions, rules, and practices applied by an entity in preparing and presenting financial statements.