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IASB Chairman speaks about the IASB and wider corporate reporting

  • IFRS - IASB Image

Sep 18, 2017

On September 18, 2017, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) released a speech delivered at Accountancy Europe’s event "Shaping the future of corporate reporting" held in Brussels. In his speech, IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst discussed the relevance of financial reporting in a world where companies provide more and more non-financial information and are seeking a wider audience than investors alone.

Mr. Hoogervorst's main message at the beginning of his speech was: "Keep calm and carry on". He explained that he was not at all concerned that the relevance of financial reporting is under threat. He noted that financial statements are primarily backward looking and, therefore, always provide an important reality check. And he also noted that as more information becomes available, the more need there is for comparability, standardization and quality control.

Yet Mr. Hoogervorst also conceded that times are changing and everybody needs to adapt - including the IASB. He stressed the IASB's current effort at better communication in financial reporting. He noted a few projects and initiatives that form part of the effort and he also explained that the IASB may need to give preparers more guidance on how to provide context to their financial statements.

Also, Mr. Hoogervorst looked at environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and the question of whether the IASB should become active in that field. He noted that audience for sustainability reporting is broader than that of financial reporting and that much of sustainability reporting is primarily focused on the external effects of the performance of a company. Mr. Hoogervorst said that he believed that the IASB does not have the expertise to become the standard-setter in this field and that widening the audience and scope of the Board's work would most likely lead to loss of focus and identity.

However, Mr. Hoogervorst did not just leave it at that. He also followed up on the question who should take responsibility for harmonization of ESG requirements and try to prevent overload. He argued that since so much of ESG reporting is closely intertwined with public policy goals, public authorities would be best equipped to pursue harmonization.

Review the speech on the IASB's website.

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