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Celebrating 10 years of the Financial Reporting Faculty

Nigel Sleigh-Johnson reflects on the faculty’s story so far as we ask Stephanie Henshaw, Jake Green, Phil Barden, Kathryn Cearns and Veronica Poole questions about our work to date and what’s still to come.

Nigel Sleigh-Johnson, faculty head since its inception in 2008, reflects on the past 10 years and what lies ahead

In 2008 we launched the Financial Reporting Faculty with clear objectives in mind: a trusted, digital-first offering for members, a stronger international presence, and demonstrable leadership in the improvement of financial reporting. A decade on, the faculty is recognised and respected around the world. It provides distinctive, timely, accessible guidance on both IFRS and UK GAAP and has achieved the longer term target of 5,000 paying members. We have also positively influenced the development of UK, EU and international reporting requirements. 

There remains much to do however, and exciting times lie ahead. The impact of technology on reporting; the increasing importance of non-financial reporting; the growing range of stakeholders interested in corporate reports; and of course the repercussions of Brexit. These are not small questions, and we’ll be seeking to address them. One proposal to help in that endeavour is the creation of a larger, online global community of stakeholders interested in corporate reporting, free to join, and with the faculty at its heart.

Watch this space!

The five questions

1. What three words would you use to describe the faculty?
2. How do you feel the faculty has helped to support members implement changes relating to financial reporting in the last 10 years?
3. What big issues do you think the faculty will be dealing with in the next decade?
4. What impact do you think the faculty has had, or can have, in influencing the world of corporate reporting?
 5. Why do you think it is relevant to be a Financial Reporting Faculty member in today’s world?
By All Accounts 10 year anniversary

Stephanie Henshaw, Financial Reporting Faculty Board, working with the faculty head to determine priorities and advise on operations

  1.  Practical, innovative and influential.
  2. By providing timely support in a variety of forms and covering a wide brief from micro-entities to IFRS. The faculty also supports the wider membership with resources, especially on topics of pervasive interest or concern.
  3. The faculty has a role in helping rebuild trust in the accountancy profession. Recent corporate collapses have undermined confidence. Together with unrealistic expectations of what annual accounts can achieve, there is a risk they will become overloaded with detail. We need to use our influence with regulators and standard-setters to make sure they remain comprehensible and useful for decision-making. 
  4. Sitting at the intersection of technical and practical, and looking across a range of corporate entities, puts us in a unique position to consider the implications of changes that might otherwise get missed. We have been a force for good. Our thought leadership has also been of interest worldwide.
  5. The faculty listens, talks, lobbies and challenges on your behalf.  

Jake Green, Financial Reporting Committee, responsible for developing ICAEW policy on financial reporting issues, reflecting members’ views and working in the public interest

  1.  Helpful, diverse and informed.
  2. Great guidance is available on topics to suit all types of accountant, preparer, auditor, small company or listed business. Very few sources of support and guidance offer such breadth.
  3. The digital evolution of corporate reporting. Everyone thinks corporate reporting in the future will be very different but no one knows precisely how. Remaining relevant when the change comes will be a huge challenge for the faculty.
  4. Keep engaging with broad groups of stakeholders to ensure your thought leadership remains representative of the market’s needs.
  5. Financial reporting (and its assurance) remain the cornerstone of trust and integrity in our capital markets. Without proper financial reporting (and its assurance) trust would soon evaporate leading to greater friction and therefore costs for all.

Phil Barden, Financial Reporting Editorial Board, working with faculty staff to produce relevant, reliable and understandable factsheets and other publications

  1.  Clear, focused and helpful.
  2. With the factsheets, we try hard to distil sometimes complex topics into clear messaging. We hope to help users focus on what’s most important, and we have valued input from an exceptional team of volunteers.
  3. Though 10 years is a long time, we are likely to see some of the recent ‘big-hitter’ IFRSs (revenue, financial instruments, leasing) flowing through into UK GAAP in some form. The faculty will be there to provide practitioners with resources to help them deal with these changes.
  4. The faculty brings an independent and balanced view to the debate, always focused on how things can be improved.
  5. In a world that gets ever more complex, it’s a great way of staying on top of the key issues.

Kathryn Cearns, Public Sector Financial Reporting Committee, responsible for developing ICAEW policy on public sector financial reporting issues

  1.  Authoritative, helpful and professional.
  2. Timely news, detailed and on-point factsheets, thought leadership and influence when responding to regulators and standard setters.
  3. Digital forms of financial reporting, expectations gap and new business models.
  4. The Financial Reporting Faculty has made regulation and standards better through authoritative and positive responses and interventions, which we need to keep doing. In particular, the faculty has been clear in spelling out the deficiencies in government reporting but has invested a huge amount of time and effort in trying to improve it. Our thought leadership must continue to question the way forward.

5. There is so much complexity to deal with, a trusted and authoritative guide is absolutely vital.

Veronica Poole, Financial Reporting Advisory Group, considers and advises on the wider financial reporting agenda

  1.  Relevant, practical and supportive.
  2. Providing access to experts who share their practical experience.  Inspiring members to go beyond the requirements and be leading reporters.
  3. Corporate reporting is broadening. To build trust, businesses need to be responsible and make decisions considering the impact on the broader financial ecosystem. Narrative reporting, sustainability and the measurement of non-financial factors will all be areas of change.
  4. The faculty’s reports What’s next for corporate reporting: time to decide? and Moving to IFRS reporting: seven lessons learned from the European experience are great examples of thought leadership.
  5. The world has changed since most of us trained!