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Information for Better Markets

Advancing thinking and debate

What information should companies disclose? How should they measure their profits and their capital? How should their reporting be regulated? As the laws, regulations and standards governing financial reporting become ever more complex, the ICAEW Financial Reporting Faculty aims to helps members keep up to date and to understand the implications of new requirements. The faculty also seeks to inform and influence regulators and standard-setters on financial reporting questions. The faculty’s work on these public policy issues is informed by its Information for Better Markets thought leadership programme.

What it's all about

Our Information for Better Markets work subjects key issues in financial reporting to careful and impartial analysis. Better understanding of these issues will help achieve what the preparers and users of financial reporting need – practical solutions to complex problems. In pursuit of this objective, the Information for Better Markets initiative tackles three broad themes in financial reporting:

  • disclosure;
  • measurement; and
  • regulation.

We write and publish reports and commission research by leading academics from around the world.

We host two annual events, the P. D. Leake Lecture and the Information for Better Markets Conference at which we present the outcome of this research and any reports written by the ICAEW. Papers based on these events are published in the annual International Accounting Policy Forum special issue of Accounting and Business Research, a leading academic journal. Both the research and the events at which it is presented are financed by ICAEW’s charitable trusts.

IFBM 2021: the too difficult box

IFBM 2021: the too difficult box


Over ten years in the making, the publication of major new standards on revenue, leases, insurance and credit losses, highlights the complexity and challenges of addressing accounting issues and the standard-setting process itself. Perceptions that other long-standing accounting issues, such as accounting for goodwill, remain unresolved appears to reinforce this point. 

At this year’s IFBM conference we turn our attention to the areas of financial reporting that, for one reason or another, may have been put in the ‘too difficult’ box. We consider why these accounting issues  have been deemed too difficult to resolve and what academic research can tell us about these issues. With a view to influencing future standard-setting, we also explore what we can learn from these examples.   


Following positive feedback from our 2020 conference and the ongoing restrictions caused by the pandemic, this year’s event will take place online. We will host a daily lecture (1pm GMT) from Monday 13 to Thursday 16 December (see details below). 
Monday 13 December
Why do accounting issues end up in the ‘too difficult’ box?
Speaker: Katherine Schipper, Duke University

Tuesday 14 December
Insurance: in or out of the ‘too difficult’ box?
Speakers: Martin Grace with Sudipta Basu, Temple University

Wednesday 15 December
Does every accounting issue need a solution?
Speaker: Thorsten Sellhorn, University of Munich

Thursday 16 December
The ‘too difficult’ box: the next big accounting issue?
Speaker: TBC

The event is free of charge but delegates must register to attend. To register your interest, please contact Gillian Knight.


What we've done

Our most recent report is Growth, development and accounting: seeing the bigger picture.

Our most recent Information for Better Markets event was the 2018 IFBM conference that took place in December. The theme of the conference was ‘Financial Scandals: past, present and future Recordings of the conference sessions will be available at icaew.com/ifbm2018

All our reports in the Information for Better Markets series and webcasts of the most recent lectures and conferences are available online:


What's new?

The art of conversation

The 2020 PD Leake lecture, given by Dr Miguel Minutti-Meza, Miami Herbert Business School, with a response from Allister Wilson, Assurance Partner at EY.

Non financial reporting ensuring a sustainable global recovery

There is a pressing need to expedite the sustainable rebuilding of economies the world over, including in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic has battered human, social and economic capital across the globe. In responding to the virus and charting a post-coronavirus recovery path, we cannot lose sight of the wider unfolding picture of climate emergency, massive biodiversity loss and increasing inequality.

Smaller listed and AIM quoted companies

This guide, written in association with the Financial Reporting Council, offers advice for audit committees and boards of smaller quoted companies on evaluating the adequacy of a company’s financial reporting function and process.