EFRAG discussion paper on intangibles

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27 Aug 2021

The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) has published a discussion paper 'Better information on intangibles – which is the best way to go?'.

The discussion paper notes that that the value relevance of financial statements is decreasing, which could be due to financial statements not reflecting information about intangibles, which has become more important for more entities than previously. Insufficient information on intangibles could affect the company’s market value due to information asymmetry, result in an inefficient capital allocation in society and make assessment of the management’s stewardship difficult. It is also difficult for users to compare entities that grow organically with those growing by means of acquisition, as current IFRSs generally require acquired intangibles to be recognised, while internally generated intangibles can only be recognised in specific circumstances.

The discussion paper considers three approaches for better information on intangibles:

  • Recognition and measurement in the primary financial statements;
  • Information on specific intangibles in the notes to the financial statements or in the management report;
  • Information on future-oriented expenses and risk/opportunity factors that may affect future performance in the notes to the financial statements or in the management report.

The scope of EFRAG’s discussions goes beyond the existing definition of assets in financial reporting and also covers sources of possible economic benefits that would not be controlled by an entity. Therefore, the DP uses the term “intangibles” instead of “intangible assets”. The press release also notes that future reporting on intangibles and value creation is a key area for connecting financial and sustainability reporting.

Comments on the discussion paper are requested by 30 June 2022.

Please click for the following additional information on the EFRAG website:

Update: It is now also possible to react to the discussion paper by taking part in a survey.

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