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European Securities and Markets Authority announces the common enforcement priorities to be applied by European accounting enforcers when examining companies’ 2016 financial statements

28/10/2016

Today the European Securities and Markets Authority (‘ESMA’) made a public statement titled “European Common Enforcement Priorities for 2016 Financial Statements” which specifies the areas where company directors and auditors should particularly consider when preparing and auditing financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2016.

These topics will be used by European national accounting enforcers, including IAASA, in their examinations of companies’ 2016 financial statements.

The ESMA public statement is issued with the aim of promoting consistent application of International Financial Reporting Standards (‘IFRS’) by European companies in their financial reports.

ESMA and European national accounting enforcers worked together to identify those financial reporting topics which company directors and their auditors should particularly consider when preparing and auditing, respectively, the IFRS financial statements for the year ending 31 December 2016.

The ESMA common enforcement topics identified for 2016 financial statements are: 

  • presentation of financial performance;

  • distinction between equity and liabilities; and

  • disclosure of the impact of new accounting standards in the financial statements.

Each of these topics is elaborated on in ESMA’s public statement which is available here.

In addition to these common priorities, many European national accounting enforcers also set additional enforcement priorities for their country focusing on other relevant topics. The IAASA document, which was published in early October 2016, is available here.

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