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Joint regulators statement for companies, auditors and users of financial accounts on reporting timetables

27 Jan 2021

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have published a joint statement reminding companies that extended financial information timelines continue to apply in light of the continued disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FCA and the FRC encourage all stakeholders, including in particular boards of listed companies, to re-familiarise themselves with the measures which remain in place. These are as follows:

Corporate Reporting for listed companies

Temporary reliefs for delayed publication of financial statements will remain in place until the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic abates. The joint statement indicates that companies will be given plenty of notice when it is decided to bring any of these measures to an end.  The measures are:

  • An additional two months to publish annual financial reports (link to FCA website) (i.e. within six rather than four months of the financial year end date).
  • An additional month to publish half yearly financial reports (link to FCA website) (i.e. within four rather than three months of the financial half year end date). 

Extended period for filing accounts at Companies House

At present the deadline for filing any accounts with Companies House is extended by 3 months. While this automatic extension expires on 5 April 2021, it will be replaced with an application process (link to Companies House website) to Companies House, with companies granted a discretionary 3-month extension where they cite coronavirus as a factor impacting the timely completion and/or audit of accounts. 

Delaying or adapting Annual General Meetings (AGMs)

The temporary ability to postpone AGMs provided by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA) expired on 30 September 2020. Further CIGA measures to provide flexibilities around the conduct of AGMs have been extended to 30 March.  The Act provides no scope to extend them beyond that date. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is working with stakeholders on further guidance.

The joint statement also covers extended reporting deadlines for public sector bodies

Concurrently, the London Stock Exchange has also confirmed that the temporary measures put in place last year to allow AIM companies to request an extension of their reporting deadline remain available until further notice.  The temporary reliefs for AIM companies are:

  • An additional three months to publish the annual audited accounts (i.e. within nine rather six months of the financial year end date).
  • An additional month to publish its half yearly report (i.e. within four months rather than three months of the financial half year date).

As well as reminders of the temporary reporting reliefs in place, the joint statement also serves to alert investors to the changes in reporting timetables and remind companies of their reporting obligations under the Market Abuse Regulation.  The joint statement additionally highlights the guidance for companies that the FRC issued in December 2020 related to corporate governance and financial reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The FRC and FCA joint statement is available in full on the FCA website here along with Q&As here.  The updated guidance from the London Stock Exchange is available on the London Stock Exchange website.

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Accountancy Europe comments on EFRAG outreach document

26 Jan 2021

As reported before, EFRAG conducted a series of online outreach events to gather stakeholders' view from various jurisdictions on the tentative proposals of the Project Task Force on non-financial reporting standards. An outreach document was provided to facilitate discussions at those meetings. Accountancy Europe has published a letter noting several shortcomings of the document.

Accountancy Europe agrees that some non-financial information topics such as climate change are urgent and need an urgent solution. This would include non-financial information reporting standards to enable consistent and comparable reporting on this topic. In its letter, Accountancy Europe notes that it is happy to help and collaborate with the task force, EFRAG and the European Commission to achieve progress in this area.

However, Accountancy Europe also stresses the following points:

  • A global approach with an additional building block approach is still the preferred solution. This would also be helpful in view of the urgency of the matter. "Re-inventing the wheel" is regarded as too time-consuming and unnecessary. Also, a European approach should consider the developments in the non-financial information playing field since EFRAG received the mandate.
  • Many market participants (including preparers) are already familiar with and report under international initiatives such as those of CDP, CDSB, GRI, IIRC and SASB. Introducing a new initiative would result in further fragmentation.
  • The outreach document uses new and different terminology compared to the widely used concepts in corporate reporting, non-financial information, sustainability or environmental, social and governance (ESG) terminology. This is considered confusing and unhelpful, especially as it was unclear whether this is intentional or not and what the underlying intention is and why (if there is one).
  • The proposals in the document relate to both the standard-setting process and reporting standards’ content, at times intermingling them. A clear split between standard-setting and reporting standards ́ content in the final document would simplify the tasks of a future European standard setter.
  • A conceptual framework would be key to a non-financial information principles-based reporting system. It could build on the well-known concepts of the IFRS Conceptual Framework and the concepts of the existing non-financial information frameworks and standards (e.g. CDSB, IIRC, SASB, GRI, etc.). Regional adaptations important for EU non-financial information reporting standards could be made to some items in these frameworks.
  • The outreach events to discuss the ideas in the outreach document are appreciated, however, the letter notes that clarification on the due process and the next steps for the project is needed. It is noted that it is common practice within EFRAG to open a consultation period on its preliminary proposals, receive stakeholders’ feedback and ultimately provide its final advice to the European Commission.

Please click to access the full letter on the Accountancy Europe website.

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2021 required and annotated required IFRS Standards now available

26 Jan 2021

The IFRS Foundation announces that the annual publication formerly known as the 'Blue Book' is now available.

The Required IFRS Standards 2021 publication contains all official pronouncements that are mandatory on 1 January 2021. It does not include IFRSs with an effective date after 1 January 2021. The Annotated Required IFRS Standards 2021 includes the same content as Required IFRS Standards 2020, but with additional annotations containing extensive cross-references, explanatory notes and IFRS Interpretations Committee agenda decisions.

The books are available in electronic format for subscribers to eIFRS Professional. Printed copies of the books are available for sale through the IASB's web shop.

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Agenda for the February 2021 ITCG meeting

25 Jan 2021

The agenda is available for the next meeting of the IFRS Taxonomy Consultative Group (ITCG), which will be a virtual meeting on 1 February 2021, from 12:30 to 14:30 GMT.

The staff will provide the ITCG with a summary of the public feedback received on PTU/2020/4 IFRS Taxonomy 2020 — 'General Improvements and Common Practice — Presentation of information in primary financial statements' and the ITCG will discuss the proposed response.

The agenda paper for this meeting is available on the IASB website.

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Recent sustainability and integrated reporting developments

25 Jan 2021

A summary of recent developments at IIRC, IRC, UNEP FI, GRI, and EFRAG.

Following the launch of its revised International <IR> Framework, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) has now made available a recording of the launch event that provides an overview of the revisions. Please click to access the recording on the IIRC website.

In the context of the revised IIRC framework, the South African Integrated Reporting Committee (IRC) has published a version of the International <IR> Framework (2021) with marked up changes. Please click to access the document on the IRC website.

The IRC has also released Delivering a meaningful and concise integrated report. Please click to access the information paper on the IRC website.

A group of 22 leading insurers and reinsurers convened by the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has published the first comprehensive guidance for the insurance industry to identify and disclose the impact of climate change on their businesses. Please click to access the guidance on the UNEP FI website.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has published updated version of Linking the SDGs and the GRI Standards. This free resource gives a breakdown of the targets under each of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and maps how they correlate against the disclosures in the GRI Standards, including the latest published versions. Please click to access the publication on the GRI website.

The GRI has also responded to the to the consultation document on the ad personam mandate on potential need for changes to the governance and funding of EFRAG setting out how GRI and the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) can contribute to a European solution. Please click to access the letter on the EFRAG website.

The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) has launched a survey on stakeholders’ views on non-financial risks and opportunities reporting practices. Please click to access the survey on the EFRAG website.

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EFRAG launches survey on the post-implementation review of IFRS 10, 11 and 12

22 Jan 2021

In the context of the post-implementation review of IFRS 10, IFRS 11, and IFRS 12 launched by the IASB in December 2020, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) is inviting stakeholders to participate in a survey that addresses a number of areas of the standards that have been identified as potentially unclear.

Separate questions have been developed for preparers and users of financial statements. Auditors, standard setters and regulators are also invited to participate in the survey. The survey is open until 16 April 2021.

Please click for more information and access to the survey on the EFRAG website.

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EFRAG Lab project task force launches survey on non-financial risks and opportunities reporting practices

22 Jan 2021

The European Corporate Reporting Lab project task force on reporting of non-financial risks and opportunities and linkage to the business model has launched a survey on stakeholders’ views on non-financial risks and opportunities reporting practices.

The objective of the survey is to understand the factors that influence companies’ reporting of sustainability-related risks and opportunities and the impacts on the business model. The project task force is seeking stakeholder views on users’ expectations and needs, and preparer challenges associated with current reporting practices

Responses are requested by the end of January 2021.

A press release and the survey are available on the EFRAG website.

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Pre-meeting summaries for the January 2021 IASB meeting

20 Jan 2021

The IASB is meeting on Tuesday 26 January 2021, by video conference. We have posted our pre-meeting summaries for the meetings that allow you to follow the IASB’s decision making more closely. For each topic to be discussed, we summarise the agenda papers made available by the IASB staff and point out the main issues to be discussed by the IASB and the staff recommendations.

Board Work Plan Update: This is a regular update of the work plan. Within the next six months the IASB expects to finalise amendments related to three projects and publish consultation documents for six projects. The Board will not start any remaining research pipeline projects or the PIR of IFRS 5. Rather, as decided at the Board’s October 2020 meeting, the Board will obtain updated information about those projects as part of the 2020 Agenda Consultation to help reassess their relative priority. The Board will be asked at a future meeting to add a narrow-scope project on disclosure requirements in relation to supply chain financing arrangements.

Maintenance and Consistent Application—IFRIC Update: The IASB will discuss the December 2020 IFRIC Update.

Disclosure Initiative— Subsidiaries that are SMEs: The IASB is developing a Standard setting out reduced disclosure requirements for subsidiaries that apply IFRS Standards but meet the definition of an SME. At this meeting, the Board will discuss disclosures about cash-generating units containing goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite useful lives and the scope of the proposed Standard. The staff recommend that it apply to entities that, at any point during their reporting period, are subsidiaries of a parent presenting consolidated financial statements applying IFRS Standards and that the scope should not be limited to single entity financial statements. They also recommend that the consultation document should be an ED.

Primary Financial Statements: In December 2019, the IASB published Exposure Draft ED/2019/7 General Presentation and Disclosures. At the December 2020 meeting the Board began discussing summarised feedback from the 215 comment letters it received, outreach activities, fieldwork and a review of academic literature. The Board did not discuss four of the 11 papers and at this meeting will continue its discussions. The staff are also presenting a redeliberation plan.

Our pre-meet­ing summaries are available on our January meeting notes page and will be sup­ple­mented with our popular meeting notes after the meeting.

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February 2021 IFRS Interpretations Committee meeting agenda posted

20 Jan 2021

The IFRS Interpretations Committee has posted the agenda for its next meeting, which will be held by video conference on 2 February 2021.

The Committee will discuss the following:

  • Ad­min­is­tra­tive matters
  • IFRS 10 and IFRS 16 — Sale and leaseback of an asset in a single-asset entity
  • IAS 2 — Costs necessary to sell inventories
  • IAS 10 — Preparation of financial statements when an entity is no longer a going concern
  • Work in progress

The full agenda for the meeting can be found here. We will post any updates to the agenda, our com­pre­hen­sive pre-meet­ing summaries as well as observer notes from the meeting on this page as they become available.

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Summary of the December 2020 ASAF meeting now available

19 Jan 2021

The IASB staff have published a summary of the Accounting Standards Advisory Forum (ASAF) meeting held via remote participation on 10 December 2020.

The topics covered during the meeting were the following (numbers in brackets are ref­er­ences to the cor­re­spond­ing para­graphs of the summary):

  • Rate-regulated activities (1–9): The ASAF members outlined their plans for outreach on an upcoming Exposure Draft on regulatory assets and regulatory liabilities.
  • Cryptoassets (10–18): The ASAF members provided their preliminary views on the EFRAG’s discussion paper Accounting for Crypto-assets (Liabilities) and whether they support changes to IFRS requirements.
  • Financial instruments with characteristics of equity (19–42): The ASAF members provided feedback on potential refinements to the disclosure requirements discussed in Discussion Paper Financial Instruments with Characteristics of Equity. The session included discussions on the priority of financial instruments on liquidation of an equity, disclosure on an individual entity versus consolidated basis, non-financial liabilities, legal effects, carrying amounts versus fair value, potential dilution of ordinary shares, and terms and conditions of financial instruments.
  • Dynamic Risk Management (43): The staff provided the ASAF members with an update on outreach on core dynamic risk management model.
  • Lack of Exchangeability (Amendments to IAS 21) (44–45): The ASAF members were updated on the developments on the project and were introduced to the upcoming Exposure Draft on narrow-scope amendments to IAS 21 The Effect of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates.
  • Update and agenda planning (46–48): The ASAF members discussed the Board’s current work plan and planned topics for the March 2021 ASAF meeting.

A full summary of the meeting is available on the IASB's website.

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