The Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Financial Reporting Lab has published a report on ‘Accounting policies and integration of related financial information’, which provides valuable insight for companies on what investors want from accounting policy disclosures and where they should appear in financial statements.
16 companies, 19 institutional investor and analyst organisations, and over 200 retail shareholders took part in the Lab project. This report is a further contribution to the FRC’s programme of work to promote Clear & Concise reporting from which investors can, with justifiable confidence draw conclusions about a company’s performance, position and prospects.
Sue Harding, Director of the Financial Reporting Lab, said:
“For significant accounting policies, investors want improved disclosure that avoids boilerplate text by being specific to the company and providing sufficient detail to understand how the company accounts for its transactions. They are also keen to gain a better understanding of the impact of judgement and estimation on the reporting of a company’s results and financial position. Their suggestions support Clear & Concise reporting."
The Lab report includes examples of current good practice as well as highlighting how disclosure could be modified to provide the most value to investors in the future.
The FRC is responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting to foster investment. We set the UK Corporate Governance and Stewardship Codes as well as UK standards for accounting, auditing and actuarial work. We represent UK interests in international standard-setting. We also monitor and take action to promote the quality of corporate reporting and auditing. We operate independent disciplinary arrangements for accountants and actuaries; and oversee the regulatory activities of the accountancy and actuarial professional bodies.
The Financial Reporting Lab provides a unique environment where investors and companies can come together to develop pragmatic solutions to today’s reporting needs:
As a learning space, companies can use the Lab to test new and advanced reporting formats with investors, and investors can indicate areas where management can add greater value through the information they provide;
As a hub to support innovation in reporting, the Lab’s focus on gathering and sharing evidence from the market provides the broader corporate community with feedback from investors on the value that new reporting formats bring. More information about the Lab’s work can be found here.
The Clear & Concise initiative was launched by the FRC in June. The initiative is part of the FRC’s continuing effort to address some of the common criticisms about the quality of communication in annual reports. Further information on the initiative including the work programme is available at http://www.frc.org.uk/Our-Work/Headline-projects/Clear-Concise.aspx
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