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Academic conference sees keynote speech and panel discussion on the future of corporate reporting

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Jun 13, 2018

On June 13, 2018, the 13th International Conference on Accounting and Management Information Systems (AMIS 2018) was held at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies. The conference was opened by a keynote address "The future of corporate reporting - A standard setter's perspective on contents and proliferation", immediately followed by a panel discussion drilling more deeply into some of the messages presented.

The keynote address was delivered by Prof Andreas Barckow, President of the German standard-setter Accounting Standards Committee of Germany and Vice-President of the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG). In his presentation, he took stock of the current situation in financial reporting, other (wider) corporate reporting, and technological aspects (proliferation/dissemination).

The panel discussion following the keynote address was moderated by Prof Katherine Schipper of Duke University and saw as panelists Prof Axel Haller, University of Regensburg, Prof Paul André, HEC Lausanne, and Prof Barckow. They picked up several aspects mentioned in the keynote address:

  • No major developments in financial reporting since 2005. While the point was at first contested in extreme form, the panelists by and by concluded that there was some validity to it. It was even stated that IFRS 9, IFRS 15, and IFRS 16 replaced standards that many in practice saw as working well, i.e. that were not broken. The new standards often also build on ideas that had been around for a long time - in some cases since the 1990s.
  • Non-GAAP measures. Panelists discussed whether non-GAAP measures were a problem at all. They concluded that the non-GAAP measures were not a problem in themselves ("non-GAAP measures come and go"), but the lack of reconciliation or indeed lack of reconcilability was.
  • Intangibles. The panelists agreed that the problem was not so much in not recognizing intangible assets, but rather in the question why there was often such a gap between an entity's market capitalization and the profit (or lack of profitability) shown in the financial statements. There was not necessarily a need to align the two numbers but there should be a way to reconcile them.
  • Sustainability. Panelists were asked which way forward they saw for wider corporate reporting or rather linking sustainability and other wider corporate reporting aspects with financial reporting.
  • Academic contribution to standard-setting. The standard-setter on the panel was asked what he thought researchers could contribute to standard-setting. He replied that he saw two ways he would want research to support standard-setting: (a) by confirming (or refuting) that certain problems (such as mentioned in the keynote address) existed and (b) if indeed the existence of a problem was confirmed to then offer thoughts and solutions.

The following additional information is available on the website of the Bucharest University of Economic Studies:

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