Financial reporting enforcement
The Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) has published a snapshot of its IFRS Standards enforcement activity for 2021. There appears to be a distinct deterioration in outcomes, with 189 different matters raised with 43 issuers resulting in 86 undertaking to make improvements, compared with 82 in 2020.
Seven Irish findings were submitted to the European Securities and Markets Authority for inclusion in the European database of findings. The full list now constitutes a ‘precedence book‘ for IFRS Standards financial reporting.
A compendium of IAASA’s findings, both positive and negative, is available. Companies featured include CRH, Flutter Entertainment, Irish Continental Group, Kerry Group, Kingspan Group and Smurfit Kappa Group. Matters addressed in the report include IAS 1, Presentation of Financial Statements; IAS 7, Statement of Cash Flows; IAS 8, Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors; IAS 19, Employee Benefits; IAS 37, Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets; IFRS 7, Financial Instruments: Disclosures; IFRS 8, Operating Segments; IFRS 13, Fair Value Measurement; and ESMA’s Guidelines on Alternative Performance Measures.
Some 99 debt and equity quoted companies, banks and insurance companies are within scope of IAASA direct supervision of their disclosures. IAASA directly reviews financial statements; it can force improvements and changes in future years, and even the withdrawal and replacement of current-year financial statements.
IAASA has published a snapshot of its IFRS Standards enforcement activity for 2021
Climate change reporting
IAASA has published a ‘Reporting Climate Change’ information note. Users of financial reports are increasingly interested in the impacts that climate-related matters have on an entity’s financial performance, as well as understanding factors and initiatives that mitigate the effects of climate change.
IAASA’s observations are:
- climate risk needs to be disclosed as a requirement of the existing accounting standards
- the disclosure should be no less robust than other more numerical disclosures
- the disclosures should be company specific and not generic
- climate risk disclosure needs to also be considered for periods beyond one year, not just for the traditional one-year post-balance sheet event period
- where no climate change disclosures are made, disclosure of why climate change will not affect the entity should be considered
- the financial statements need to be internally consistent with respect to forward-looking assumptions on both climate and non-climate matters.
Users of financial reports are increasingly interested in the impacts that climate-related matters have on financial performance
The Redundancy Payments (Amendment) Bill has been published. This gives a special payment to employees who have lost out on reckonable service while they were on lay-off due to Covid-19 restrictions and have subsequently been made redundant.
There is a maximum payment of €1,860 tax free to bridge the gap in their redundancy entitlements.
Revenue has added additional information to its website in respect of the Small Companies Administrative Rescue Process (SCARP), including details of how to request Revenue participates in a rescue plan. Revenue can opt out of any debt-reduction agreement (ie demand all Revenue debt be paid in full) under SCARP, and has said that it will do so if the company has failed at any time to comply with a requirement relating to tax or has an open Revenue audit or intervention. There is also a guide for process advisers.
The Central Bank has published its Securities Markets Risk Outlook Report, discussing matters such as misconduct risk, sustainable finance, conflicts of interest and cybersecurity issues.
FRS 102 has been updated, along with the other UK GAAP standards. These reflect the amendments made since the previous editions were issued in 2018, as well as changes in Irish company law, resulting in a single up-to-date reference point for each standard.
A firm’s anti-money laundering reporting officer (AMLRO) needs to undertake enhanced training. Reading the Financial Action Task Force guidance and documenting what was learned should count as two hours of verifiable CPD.
The developments in Ukraine have led to an EU package of sanctions. The Central Bank of Ireland has published details. ACCA’s guidance and requirements for members in the Republic of Ireland is here, and for members in Northern Ireland there is a UK guidance article.
This article in Accountancy Europe has a summary of the broader issues facing European accountants, including the need to assess going concern; adjusting and non-adjusting post balance sheet events; accounting estimates; fair value measurements; assets impairment; expected credit loss assessments; hedge accounting; and the impact of breaches of covenants and onerous contracts provisions. The article discusses the possibility of certain audit assignments not being continued and the particular impact on financial institutions.