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IASB publishes "Investor Perspectives" article on disclosures in financial statements

Sep 21, 2021

On September 21, 2021, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued the latest issue of "Investor Perspectives". In this edition, IASB Board member Nick Anderson discusses the new approach to developing and drafting disclosure requirements in IFRS Standards.

Specifically, this issue features insight into the proposed approach and discusses some of the changes that investors would see in the financial statements since investors have been calling for better disclosures in financial statements.

Review the press release and Investor Perspectives article on the IASB’s website.

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A Guest Expert’s Guide to SASB Standards

Sep 16, 2021

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) published an eight-step guide to the SASB standards disclosure process. The guide was created to explain how one does practically accomplish releasing an initial SASB standards disclosure.

Review the press release and publication on the SASB's website.

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IFAC calls on G20 leaders to focus on sustainability reporting

Sep 15, 2021

On September 15, 2021, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) released "Four themes, two actions, one goal: G20 Call to Action 2021" urging G20 leaders to continue their commitment to sustainability, inclusion, prosperity, and global collaboration.

In order to achieve the goal of a more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous economy and society, IFAC describes four areas the G20 should focus on:

  1. Accelerate sustainability and inclusiveness
  2. Recommit to global collaboration
  3. Resist regulatory fragmentation
  4. Focus on public sector transparency and integrity

IFAC comments that delivering on these will take a concerted effort from policymakers, businesses, other organizations, investors and individuals.

IFAC believes these priorities require two actions to be taken urgently:

On the first point, the press release states:

Momentum is growing around developing a global baseline of sustainability standards, with the IFRS Foundation poised to deliver. IFAC strongly supports this crucial work.

Review the Call to Action on the IFAC's website.


AcSB Exposure Draft – Financial Instruments

Sep 13, 2021

On September 13, 2021, the Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) released the exposure draft "Financial Instruments". The proposal provides an optional expedient for applying modification accounting and an exception to certain hedge accounting requirements in Section 3856, "Financial Instruments". Applying to both private enterprises and NFPOs using Parts II and III of the CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting, these amendments aim to ease financial reporting burdens related to market-wide interest rate benchmark reform. Comments are requested by October 17, 2021.

Review the press release and Exposure Draft on the AcSB's website.

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SEC releases draft taxonomy updates for feedback

Sep 10, 2021

In September 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published draft 2021Q4 and 2022 updates to the SEC taxonomies, and now welcomes public comment. These XBRL taxonomies are used for reporting financial data to the SEC via its Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system. Comments are requested by November 1, 2021.

The 2022 draft release updates all standard SEC-maintained taxonomies for acceptance in EDGAR, as part of the Commission’s annual review process. In addition, the draft 2021Q4 release makes modifications to the Document and Entity Information (DEI) taxonomy and the new proposed Closed-End Fund (CEF) taxonomy. It removes certain document- and entity-related concepts from the CEF taxonomy that are already found in the DEI taxonomy, while for the DEI taxonomy it updates certain references and adds concepts for tagging auditor information.

Review the press release on the SEC's website.

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What do investors want to understand about risks, uncertainties, opportunities and scenarios?

Sep 10, 2021

In September 2021, the UK Financial Reporting Council’s Financial Reporting Lab published a report seeking to bridge the gap between the information that users want and that companies provide.

The report addresses four broad areas. First, investors want to understand governance and processes, with regard to how the board and management identify, monitor and manage the risks, uncertainties and opportunities they face. The report then considers reporting needs relating to both the nature of these factors, in terms of characteristics such as context, importance and form, and approach, or how management is responding. Finally, it looks at scenarios and stress-testing and what investors want from them. A particularly helpful aspect of the report is the inclusion of a number of examples of current reporting practice from real companies, highlighting what is useful about them. A one-page summary and a discussion podcast are also both available.

Review the press release and publication on the FRC's website.

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AASB Discussion Paper – Exploring Standard-Setting Options for Audits of Less Complex Entities

Sep 10, 2021

On September 10, 2021, the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) issued a Discussion Paper to obtain stakeholder input on options that might be explored in Canada to address the challenge of applying the CASs to audits of less complex entities. Comments are requested by December 10, 2021.

Review the press release and Discussion Paper on the AASB's website.

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IFAC urges stakeholders to prepare now for global sustainability standards

Sep 09, 2021

On September 9, 2021, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) published a framework for implementing global sustainability standards at the local level, focusing on the building blocks approach published in May 2021. IFAC believes that jurisdictions must begin examining how global standards that the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) intends to develop, starting with climate, can fit together with sustainability-related reporting requirements set at the jurisdictional level.

IOSCO’s Sustainability-related Issuer Disclosures report proposes a timeline for the ongoing work of the IFRS Foundation–with the ISSB climate standard expected to be completed by June 2022. Jurisdictions that begin engaging with policymakers now will be able to capitalize on the forthcoming standards–and therefore serve the public interest–as soon as they are finalized.

IFAC urges its member organizations to continue their support for the IFRS initiative, to engage now with local policymakers, and to provide feedback on the framework for making global sustainability standards local.

Review the following on the IFAC's website:

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S&P 500 and ESG reporting

Sep 07, 2021

The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) published an analysis of S&P 500 ESG reporting.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • CAQ looked at the most recent publicly available ESG data for S&P 500 companies.
  • We found that 95% of S&P 500 companies had detailed ESG information publicly available. The information the CAQ examined was primarily outside of an SEC submission in a standalone ESG, sustainability, corporate responsibility, or similar report. Of the remaining 5%, most companies published some high-level policy information on their website.
  • Roughly 6% of S&P 500 companies received assurance from a public company auditing firm over some of their ESG information.

Review the publication on the CAQ's website.

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Corporate Reporting: Climate change information and the 2021 reporting cycle

Sep 07, 2021

On September 7, 2021, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) issued a statement to the Global Accountancy Profession on "Corporate Reporting: Climate Change Information and the 2021 Reporting Cycle". In response to significantly increasing investor demand and regulatory attention on climate-related reporting, this is a call to action to professional accountants to play an active role now in determining the way climate change information is reported in the 2021 reporting cycle and beyond. The increased involvement of accountants and auditors in climate-related reporting will help to bring investors greater transparency and insights on the financial impacts of climate change on organizations.

The Statement highlights the current information concerns of investors, regulators and policy makers, reviews standard-setter responses, and recommends how companies and accountants can address these concerns through: 

  • Aligning and integrating climate-related information and disclosures with company climate commitments, targets, and strategic decisions. 
  • Quantifying, wherever appropriate, financial impacts of climate issues. 
  • Ensuring climate-related reporting complies with reporting requirements without material omissions or misstatements, based on a company-specific materiality determination. 
  • Supporting global initiatives to enhance climate and broader sustainability-related reporting through standards set by a new International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) that will address material impacts on a company’s enterprise value. 

IFAC encourages professional accountancy organizations to utilize this Statement in their communications with members to promote their critical role in ensuring companies understand and communicate climate-related financial impacts. As they stated in earlier communications to the profession: no one is better equipped than professional accountants to lead this important work. 

This Statement follows IFAC’s Climate Action Point of View, issued in December 2019, which highlights climate change as an urgent, global issue and outlines the influence and responsibility that IFAC’s 180 member organizations and their 3.5 million professional accountant members have in driving climate change mitigation, adaptation and reporting. With this Statement, IFAC continues to advocate and support the profession’s role in enabling climate action and assisting organizations as they develop their climate commitments and consider ways to decarbonize business models.

Review the publication on IFAC's website.

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