IAASA, Ireland’s accounting enforcer, has published its annual Observations document highlighting key topics to be considered by those preparing, approving and auditing 2015 financial statements.
While this is the primary audience for the document, it may also help the users of financial statements to understand the significant judgements made by issuers’ directors in preparing financial statements. It highlights matters users may wish to be aware of and focus on when reviewing those financial statements. In this regard the following sections of the document are of particular relevance:
Deferred tax assets [section 2.4];
Alternative performance measures [section 2.5];
Judgments, assumptions, and auditors’ risks of material misstatements [section 2.7]; and
Avoiding the use of boilerplate disclosures in financial reports [section 2.8].
Some aspects of the document may also be of particular interest to media commentators especially the section on Alternative Performance Measures. These alternative measures, as the name suggests, are not governed by accounting standards and tend to be reported by journalists when analysing the financial reports of issuers.
The Observations documents in previous years reflected the then economic climate and the focus was on what could be best described as accounting for a downturn. The focus of this document is that of financial reporting in a recovery and many of the items highlighted reflect matters pertaining to the new economic environment.
The Observations document can be accessed here.
IAASA has in previous years issued similar Observations documents and these may be accessed here.