Mazars "Beyond the GAAP" is a monthly newsletter on accounting standards
The purpose of this newsletter is to keep readers informed of accounting developments.
Beyond the GAAP no.151 - January 2021
2021 opens with a relatively stable IFRS framework in which to prepare the consolidated financial statements for this financial year, given the limited number and scope of the standards coming into force on 1 January.
While 2020 has required a lot of work on the accounting impacts of the public health crisis, it should also be noted that most companies are now done with the upheaval resulting from the implementation of new standards (although IFRS 16 remains an enforcement priority at 31 December).
Since the beginning, our mission for Beyond the GAAP has been to keep you informed of accounting developments and to provide clarification and insight, in an environment where changes to accounting frameworks and regulators’ activities require constant vigilance from businesses and their auditors.
The launch of our new brand provides an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to this mission, as we present the new visual identity for Mazars and Beyond the GAAP. We are proud of our wide readership and will continue to apply our expertise and analysis to shed light on accounting news.
Now that the pace of accounting standardisation has slowed down a little, and pending the IASB’s feedback (expected by the end of the year) on the 200-odd comment letters received in response to the exposure draft on the presentation of financial statements, this month’s edition of Beyond the GAAP turns to news about the non-financial reporting in relation with environmental, social and governance indicators (ESG).
The underlying trend observed for several months (indeed, years) towards a growing overlap between financial and non-financial reporting seems even more pressing at a time when the European Union has shifted up a gear in its approach to the standardisation of non-financial reporting by involving EFRAG, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group.
Unsurprisingly, the financial statements at 30 June 2020 that have been published to date reflect the significant impact of the COVID-19 crisis on companies’ financial positions. Given that the outlook for the second half of 2020 is still uncertain in many cases, issuers in particular will (unfortunately) need to draw once again on the guidance from standard-setters, regulators and the accounting profession issued to deal with the consequences of the crisis on the financial information.
In contrast to the three previous issues, Beyond the GAAP is back to its traditional format this month, with no COVID-19 supplement. Things are getting back to normal as regards accountancy news, although it is expected that further statements will be published locally for instance on the consequences of the crisis on accounting for State-guaranteed loans in France.
There is no doubt that the preparation of the 2020 interim accounts will be particularly difficult this year. Properly reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the financial statements is certain to be the main subject of concern. Once again, this month’s COVID-19 supplement summarises the current issues to be taken into account, in particular the ESMA press release for listed entities.
The year 2019 drew to a close with the publication of an exposure draft proposing significant changes to the presentation of IFRS financial statements, particularly the statement of comprehensive income. Consultations will continue in the new year, with many projects listed in the IASB’s work plan.
For example, in March, the IASB is expected to publish a Discussion Paper on goodwill and impairment. While the IASB is unlikely to propose the reintroduction of amortisation of goodwill, it is expected to make proposals aimed at improving disclosures in the notes and reducing the cost of impairment testing.
Following the announcement of the first results for 2019 in February, companies that have not yet closed their accounts need to consider the potential implications of the current coronavirus epidemic for the disclosures required in the notes on events after the reporting period in accordance with IAS 10, as some market regulators have just recalled.
20/04/2020 Our last editorial touched, without wanting to believe it, on the wide repercussions we could expect from the coronavirus outbreak.
A few days later, with half the world’s population now under lock-down (whether enforced or encouraged), this month’s news has necessarily taken on a distinct flavour all its own. This is why we have produced a ‘COVID-19 supplement’ to examine the impacts of the crisis on 2019 reporting (for those entities still concerned!), and on the annual reporting that does not coincide with the calendar year and on the 2020 interim accounts.
As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to disrupt business, with significant impacts expected on 2020 financial statements, various stakeholders (most especially standard-setters) are working hard to respond to this unprecedented crisis (cf. issue no. 2 of our COVID-19 supplement).
The audit profession faces a decisive moment: market expectations are shifting, technology is empowering auditors and strengthening quality, the case for audit’s evolution is growing and a series of headline corporate failures have raised questions about the quality of service companies can expect.