IASB makes progress on improving the effectiveness of disclosure in financial reporting

 18 December 2014

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), responsible for International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) required for use by more than 100 countries, today issued amendments to IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements as part of its major initiative to improve presentation and disclosure in financial reports.

Improving the effectiveness of disclosure is widely considered to be one of the most important and challenging tasks in financial reporting.  Many respondents to the IASB´s Agenda Consultation completed in 2012 asked the IASB to review its Standards to explore ways to improve the disclosure requirements.  The IASB is responding to this challenge through its Disclosure Initiative - a portfolio of projects that includes targeted actions as well as a broad and ambitious review of disclosure requirements.

The amendments to IAS 1 issued today are designed to further encourage companies to apply professional judgement in determining what information to disclose in their financial statements.  For example, the amendments make clear that materiality applies to the whole of financial statements and that the inclusion of immaterial information can inhibit the usefulness of financial disclosures.  Furthermore, the amendments clarify that companies should use professional judgement in determining where and in what order information is presented in the financial disclosures.

The amendments mark the completion of the five, narrow-focus improvements to disclosure requirements that the IASB had identified following its 2013 Discussion Forum.  The IASB is working closely with national and regional accounting standard-setters, drawing on work they have undertaken in their jurisdictions.

As part of the Disclosure Initiative, the IASB today also published for public comment an Exposure Draft of proposed amendments to IAS 7 Statement of Cash Flows.  That proposal responds to requests from investors for improved disclosures about an entity´s financing activities and its cash and cash equivalents balances.

Hans Hoogervorst, Chairman of the IASB said:

"There is a real appetite for improving disclosure in financial reporting.  While problems with disclosures cannot be solved by the IASB alone, we do have an important part to play.  Today´s announcement shows that we intend to deliver on this challenge."

The amendments to IAS 1 can be applied immediately, and become mandatory for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2016. 

Comments on the proposed amendments to IAS 7 should be sent to the IASB by 17 April 2015. The Exposure Draft, which for the first time includes a description of proposed associated changes to the IFRS Taxonomy™, can be accessed from the ‘Open for comment´ section of the IFRS website.

For more information about the Disclosure Initiative and its progress, visit http://go.ifrs.org/Disclosure-Initiative