IASB hosts public forum to discuss disclosure overloadWednesday, 14 November 2012 14:24
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) today announced that it will host a public Disclosure Forum (“Forum”) to consider the challenging area of disclosure overload. The Forum, to be held in London on 28 January 2013, is intended to foster dialogue between preparers, auditors, regulators, users of financial statements and the IASB about how to improve the usefulness and clarity of financial disclosures. Output from the Forum will inform the IASB’s work on its Conceptual Framework.
It is a widely-held view that not all of the information presented in financial statements is useful. Various factors are cited that affect the clarity and usefulness of disclosed information. Some are critical of what they see as overly burdensome financial reporting requirements. Others point to the application of ‘boilerplate’ disclosure statements by companies, a ‘checklist’ approach used by auditors or a need to meet the perceived ‘compliance’ requirements of regulators.
The Forum will bring together parties with an interest in financial report disclosures (including investors, preparers, auditors, regulators and standard setters) to get a better understanding of the issues related to disclosure overload, and where and how improvements can be made. It will include presentations from invited speakers as well as panel and open discussions, and will discuss;
- The current state of financial report disclosures;
- Identifying and understanding the main concerns preparers, auditors, regulators and users have about disclosures in financial reports, and their possible causes;
- Identifying potential ways that entities can improve the clarity of financial reports within the context of the current IFRS requirements; and
- Providing input into the disclosure and presentation sections of the IASB’s Conceptual Framework project.
Commenting on the Forum, Hans Hoogervorst, Chairman of the IASB said:
"It has become increasingly clear that we are suffering from disclosure overload. However, there are many reasons why this is the case. Standard-setters are not blameless, but neither are preparers, auditors or regulators. So, the idea is to get everybody in a room and see what we can do to address this topic.
However, no one should expect quick wins. One investor’s disclosure clutter is another investor’s golden nugget of information. Taking information away is never easy.
We will proceed with caution, and build upon the impressive work that has already been done by others in this area."