Hot topics for preparers of accounts (UK GAAP)
In what has, and continues to be, a challenging period for preparers of accounts, ICAEW’s Technical Advisory Service highlights hot topics.
COVID-19 – Going concern
The definition of going concern and management’s responsibilities relating to going concern have not changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For many businesses though, due to the current circumstances, the going concern assessment has become more complex and time consuming. Further information is available in the Financial Reporting Faculty’s guides: Coronavirus: Going concern considerations – a guide for FRS 102 preparers and Coronavirus: Going concern considerations – a guide for FRS 105 preparers.
COVID-19 – Disclosures
Preparers of accounts need to consider the impact of COVID-19 on disclosures within annual reports and accounts. The Financial Reporting Faculty’s guide Coronavirus: How to improve disclosures when preparing accounts in accordance with FRS 102 highlights key factors to consider in the current environment.
COVID-19 – Wider accounting issues
The impact of the pandemic on the financial statements will vary considerably between different entities and their particular facts and circumstances. Preparers of accounts may wish to refer to the Checklist: implications of COVID-19 for the preparation of accounts under FRS 102 and/or Checklist: implications of COVID-19 for the preparation of micro-entity accounts (FRS 105) (as appropriate) which highlight key areas for consideration. The Coronavirus UK GAAP hub also offers access to a wide range of resources and guidance.
COVID-19 – Changes to accounting standards
Those preparing the accounts of entities which have granted or received COVID-19-related rent concessions should be aware of the proposals in FRED 76 Draft amendments to FRS 102 and FRS 105 – COVID-19-related rent concessions which are set to standardise the accounting for such concessions. Final amendments, which may differ from the proposals in the exposure draft, are expected to be published by the FRC towards the end of October and are expected to be effective for accounting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2020 (with early application permitted).
As a result of the pandemic, extensions to filing deadlines are available for many organisations. Guidance on these extensions is available in the Coronavirus: Filing deadlines guide produced by the Financial Reporting Faculty. Preparers of accounts should effectively utilise any extension taken to carefully consider the impact on the financial statements and undertake the additional work (e.g. around going concern and impairment) which may be required in response to the heightened risks and uncertainties arising out of these current situation – those with 31 December 2019 or early 2020 year ends especially should not go up to the wire.
The current economic environment has given rise to increased fraud risk, particularly with respect to coronavirus-related support schemes, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Preparers of accounts should remain vigilant, exercise professional scepticism and where appropriate, carefully consider their anti-money laundering reporting obligations. Further information is available in the article Fraudulent COVID-19 claims: an ICAEW Chartered Accountant’s responsibilities.
Brexit also continues to cause uncertainties for businesses and preparers need to consider any possible implications for their financial statements. Further guidance available on the ICAEW Brexit hub.