Tuesday, 19 February 2013

IAS 30 & IFRS 7

Prior to the issuance of  International Financial Reporting Standard 7 (IFRS 7) - Financial Instruments Disclosures, International Accounting Standard 30 (IAS 30) - Disclosures in the Financial Statements of Banks and other Financial Instituitions was one of the  standards  which allowed for disclosures which provided information on the "security" of assets and  the maturity profile of liabilities. This standard required that the banks include in their  notes to the financial statements an analysis of the  currencies in which assets and liabilities were held, the  interest rates underlying the assets of the intsitution as well as the maturity profile of both assets and liabilities.   This information allowed for some form of predictability. IFRS 7 required similar disclosures from all companies which adopted International Financial Reporting Standards. Forgive me if the succint statements above, do not provide adequate information on the actual purpose and disclosures which were required.
I believe that one of the benefits of IFRS 7 was that it sought to improve the disclosures to the balances in the statement of financial position as it allowed a reader of the financial statement to view the risks associated with the  assets which were not easily understood or identifiable as well as the commitments  regarding the liabilities of the entities.  Some of the risks which are associated with assets relate to the currencies in which the various classes of assets are held or the rate of interest or  the maturity profile of the assets or the periods in which the assets mature. Commitments could arise from the covenants under which loans were granted, or the terms of repayments, variability of interest rates, currency of borrowing as well as currency of repayment to name a few.  Also with respect to liabilities on the whole, the  maturity profile of the liabilities as well as the currency  of the liability impacts on the risk.  If one has studied economic theory and views the scenarios of business planning or cash flow modelling along the lines of factors which can be changed in the short and medium term which is one of the fundamental concepts of economics, then as a planning tool the analysis of the financial statements or planned deliverables can allow for teams to understand the decisions which are to be made in the various areas in which they operate.
 Even before the advent of these standards, in auditing multinationals, auditors were aware of the risks with respect to inflation and the sourcing of foreign currencies and  the impact of these assessments on the decisions made by the parent companies as well as the going concern of the company.
With the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards for Small and Medium Sized Entities, the disclosures which are required under IFRS 7 as well as the  benefits of the information which were previously disclosed may not be retained as the information may not be readily available going forward.

Of course one of the prudent approaches to dealing with the risks associated with assessing financial statements  and the risks of loss arising on changes in the value of share may be to treat your investments as though you were going to be faced with a major hurricane which would wipe out access to cash via Automatic Teller Machines or Banks and keep sufficient cash at home to fund immediate expenses while reassessing your needs.

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