Disclosure of significant sources of estimation uncertainty and judgments in applying accounting policies are two important requirements in financial reporting, although these are the most subjective and complex areas, they are of significance in making business decisions to users of financial statements.
This paper compares our company’s current accounting practice with the requirements in respective accounting standards in relation to disclosure of sources of estimation uncertainty and judgments in applying accounting policies with the aim the identify any gaps between these two which may trigger ASIC’ reviewers attention. It takes a look first at the requirements in respective accounting standards (Chapter 2). It then examine the current accounting practices in our company (Chapter 3 and 4) and identify the gaps between company’s practice and accounting standard (Chapter 5). At the end recommendations are made for a better-compliant report (Chapter 6).
Requirements in accounting standards The disclosure of significant sources of estimation uncertainty and judgments in applying accounting policies should be disclosed separately in the financial reports. Not only the nature of estimates should be disclosed but also the sensitivity analysis to these estimates should be included. Judgments in terms of whether the nature and the amounts are relevant to the company’s operation are critical in applying the respective accounting policies.
Company’s accounting practices Estimations disclosed are impairments for intangible goods, provision for restoration and rehabilitation, employee benefits, estimation of useful lives of assets and ore reserve and revaluation estimates. judgments in applying accounting polices are disclosed in two areas which are depreciation of non-financial tangible goods and taxations.
Identifying the gaps Our company prepared the financial statements in compliance to Australian Accounting Standard. However there are minor gaps between our company’s practice and the requirements in accounting standards in terms of content and manner. More significant disclosure could have been made the structure can be improved.
Conclusion and recommendations Disclosures about timing in revenue recognition, classification of finance leases and operating leases and going concern could have been included, since they are relevant to our company’s operating and can better assist users in evaluating our company’s performance. The disclosure of estimates and judgments should be disclosed in separate notes since it is required by AASB 101.
ASIC announced recently that one of its focusing area would be the disclosure of entities’ estimates and accounting policy judgements.This is because some entities did not make material disclosure of sources of estimation uncertainty and significant judgments in applying accounting policies, while these disclosures, though subjective and complex, are critical factors in business decision-making.
The purpose of this report is to identify any gaps between our company’s current accounting practice and the requirements of accounting standards by firstly looking at the requirements set out in the related accounting standard, then to carry out an examination of the current accounting practice of our company accordingly. The report will then compare the information collected and identify any compliance with or deviation from AASB requirements in regards to disclosure in estimates and accounting policy judgments, and discuss recommendations for a better compliance report to meet the satisfaction of ASIC reviewers.
2 Requirements in respective accounting standards
AASB 101 paragraph 112-133 specifically state the requirements for material disclosures of sources of estimation uncertainty and the significant judgments used in applying accounting policies.
2.1 Requirements for disclosures of sources of estimation uncertainty According to AASB 101 paragraph 125-129 which relate to disclosure of sources of estimation uncertainty. entities are required to disclose estimates at the reporting date that have a significant risk of causing a material adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next financial year (AU AASB 101.125). for these assets and liabilities, details of their nature and their carrying amount at the end of reporting period are required. To determine the carrying amount of assets and liabilities, estimations for the effect of future events are needed. for example, when the recent market value is absent, future-oriented estimates are of necessity in measuring recoverable amount of property, plant and equipment. Other examples can be long term employee benefits, or provision liability which subject to future results of legal events. The manner of the disclosures should be in a way that can assist users of the financial statements to comprehend the judgments that managements makes about the future and other sources of estimation uncertainty, usually users will expect to have the nature of the assumptions or other estimation uncertainty and the extent of sensitivity disclosures provided for the estimates. However, in some cases when the extent of possible effects the sources of estimation uncertainty at end of reporting period become impracticable, the entity should state that a material adjustment to the carrying amount of the asset or liability may be required if the outcomes within the next financial period are different from the assumption.
2.2 Requirements for disclosure of judgments in applying accounting policies According to AASB 101 paragraph 117-124, requirements for disclosure about judgments used in applying accounting policies are set out. ‘Judgments’ are defined as ‘apart from those involving estimations, that management has made in process of applying the entity’s accounting policies and that have the most significant effect on the amounts recognized in the financial statement (AU AASB 101.122). Two important elements to be disclosed are judgments about the measurement basis used in preparing financial statements and the other accounting policies. Judgments in terms of the relevance in applying a particular accounting policies should be exerted since management needs to consider whether the disclosure would assist users in understanding the financial position and performance of the company. it is noted that not only AASB 101, but other accounting standards such as AASB 116 (disclosure of the measurement bases used for classes of property, plant and equipment) also states the requirements for judgments. what should be taken into account when applying a particular accounting policy are the nature of the entity’s operations and the policies that users of financial statements would expect to look at. for example, users would expect a manufacturing company to disclose its accounting policies for depreciation and revaluation on property, plant and equipment. or, users concerning about the entity’s income taxes would expect the entity to disclose information on accounting policies for income taxes, including deferred tax liabilities and deferred tax assets. it may be the case that even the amount for certain assets and liabilities are not material, but because it is highly relevant to the entity’s operation, then professional judgments are needed when applying the accounting policies.
3 Company’s current accounting practice—Resources of estimation uncertainty The disclosures of significant accounting estimates and assumptions are examined in note 2 to the financial statement, there are seven estimations made for the financial reports, the ones that deserve attention to are impairment of goodwill and intangibles with indefinite useful lives, provision for restoration and rehabilitation, employee benefits, estimation of useful lives of assets and ore reserve and resource estimates.
3.1 Impairment of good will and intangibles with indefinite useful lives detailed disclosure about the assumptions and estimates used in calculating the impairment value are * Discount rate: it requires management’s estimate of the time value of money, in the financial report, weighted average cost of capital of the entity and business risk specific to the unit are accounted for the calculation. * Market conditions: management made assumptions on key domestic market segment activity including construction, mining, agriculture and manufacturing, and also assumptions on GDP, CPI as well as long-term exchange rates for AUD/USD and NZD and made sure they are consistent with external information. * Sensitivity to changes in assumptions: management considered that the carrying amount of the CGUs would not exceed their recoverable amount given any changes from the above assumptions.
3.2 Provision for restoration and rehabilitation the provisions include future cost estimates in relation to dismantling, closure and decontamination of various site, and the calculation for these requires assumptions on application of environmental legislation, available technologies and consultant cost estimates. Since these factors are subject to changes in the future, updates need to be made periodically. in Note 18, three main categories are provision for restoration and rehabilitation, provision for legal customer claims(legal fees) and provision for restructuring.
3.3 Employee benefit employment benefit such as long service leave would require estimation on future salary, discount rate and the years that the employee may work for our company. Other actuarial assumptions are applied when calculating defined benefit plans for employees.
3.4 Estimation of useful lives of assets basing on historical experience, management made the estimation of the useful lives of assets .The condition of the assets is assessed at least annually and considered against the remaining useful life, adjustments are made accordingly.
3.5 Ore reserve and resources estimates This is the estimation of the amount that can be extracted economically and legally from the entity’s mining properties, the calculation is based on the geological judgments and other factors such as foreign exchange rates, commodity prices and the size and grade of the ore body.
4 Company’s current accounting practice—judgments in applying accounting policies Judgments in applying accounting policies were disclosed in Note 2 under ‘Significant accounting estimates and judgments’. Two significant accounting judgments are identified in Note 2, being ‘impairment of non-financial assets other than goodwill and intangibles with indefinite useful lives’, and ‘Taxation’.
4.1 Impairment of non-financial tangible assets Our company take into account the relevant factors, such as business performance, technology, economic and political environments and future business expectations when assesses the impairment of all assets. management decides that the recoverable amount of the asset is determined if an impairment indicator exists. for the financial period ended 30 June 2012, management regarded that the indicators of impairment were significant enough so that assets have gone through impairment tests and recoverable amounts were determined.
4.2 Taxation Our company is subject to income taxes in Australia and jurisdiction where foreign operations apply. While ultimate tax on transactions and calculations are uncertain, judgments is required in assessing whether deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities are recognized on the balance sheet and the application of certain income tax legislation. Because there is risk and uncertainty involved in making judgments, there is a possibility that the amount of tax assets and liabilities recognized on the balance sheet would be impacted if there are changes in future circumstances, resulting in a change to income statement. Judgment is also exerted when determining whether deferred tax assets should be recognized, and it is based on that highly considerable likeliness that the tax losses can be recovered by sufficient future taxable profits.
5 Comparisons between company’s current accounting practices and accounting standard requirements It is important that our disclosures are in compliance with the requirements in Australian Accounting Standard Board. After the explanation of AASB101 and the examination of the note to our financial statements, the following points should deserve attention from the board:
5.1 Disclosure compliance Our financial statements disclose and only disclose the critical judgments about the application of accounting policies, and major sources of estimation uncertainty inherent in assets and liabilities, the information provided is appropriately tailored to our company’s circumstances, for example, our company is subject to income taxes, therefore the policies of calculation of income taxes, recognition of deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities are disclosed in note 1 to the financial statements. Since we are material company, ore reserve is highly relevant to our operating activity, therefore the estimation for ore reserve is disclosed in note 2 listing the factors we took into account when preparing the financial statements.
5.2 Content of disclosure the potential gap between our company’s current practice and accounting standard is that some other disclosures about judgments can be included in the notes, such as the judgments in the classification of leases as finance or operating. Although this figure is not material as shown in the financial statements, leased assets are relevant to our operating activity and should be included.
4.3 Manner of disclosure Another gap is that in AASB 101 critical judgments and major sources of estimation uncertainty should be considered separate categories, in our company’s note to financial statement, these two items are placed under the same note 2.
6 Conclusion and recommendation
After the comparison between our company’s current accounting practice and the requirements in accounting standard, to better satisfy the ASIC reviewers, the following points can be noted when preparing for the financial statements:
6.1 Improvement in contents we can included some other judgments we used in applying the accounting policies, such as the classification of assets ( whether a non-financial asset held of sale, or class of financial asset), classification of leases as operating or financial leases, and going concern judgments. The lease assets amount might not be as material as others, but these are relevant to material company like us and therefore the judgment involving in choosing the accounting policies should be disclosed, and so does going concern, it is believed that the reasonable disclosures of management’s judgment on going concern can assist users in making financial decision.
6.2 Improvement in structure Critical judgments should be separately identified from the estimation uncertainties, and should be disclosed in separate notes. This is because in AASB 101 it makes clear distinction between judgments and estimations. Not only the content but also the structure and manner of presentation are critical in achieving true and fair disclosures.