Monda Mario, Fiume Raffaele / Financial Reporting / 1-2018
There had been several international accounting principles about the accounting treatment for business combinations, over the past years. Last June 2016, the International Accounting Standards Board proposed to amend IFRS 3 Business Combinations with the aim of clarifying the definition of a business. The motivation that pushed the Board to propose the Exposure Draft was to inform that there is a diversity in practice in accounting for previously held interests in the assets and liabilities of a joint operation in two kinds of transaction, those in which an entity obtains control of a business that is a joint operation and those in which it obtains joint control of a business that is a join operation. The purpose of the following review is to identify whether the board has reached the desired objective, and leads through the historical analysis of the accounting standards concerning business combinations, the analysis of the Exposure Draft and especially the analysis of the comments letters.
Business combinations, IFRS3, Exposure Draft, Purchase Method, Screening test
Conceptual shifts in accounting: Transplanting the notion of boundary from financial to non-financial reporting
Girella Laura, Abela Mario, Ferrari Elisa Rita / Financial Reporting / 1-2018
In 1998 Miller, in his paper titled “The margins of accounting” observed that “By looking at the margins of accounting, we can understand how this influential body of expertise is formed and transformed” (Miller, 1998: 618). Drawing on this analogy, the boundaries of reporting and the ways these are defined and re-defined, as a consequence of the relationships organisations form with other entities from time to time, and their substantive nature provide insights about the business and its business model. Accordingly, an examination of reporting boundaries helps to better understand and appreciate the objective of an organisation, the logic that underlies its business model and how that is ‘reflected’ and communicated through the reporting entity’s financial statements – which may or may not align with the boundaries of the ‘organisation’. Despite the relevance of reporting boundaries as a critical aspect of the accounting discipline, it remains a relatively unexplored area in the literature. Accordingly, the aim of this work is to offer an initial overview on how the boundaries of reporting have (not) changed in response to the broadening scope of reporting to address both financial and ‘non-financial’ information (e.g. sustainability, governance and intangibles) and attempts to promote greater integration between both sets of information (IIRC, 2013). In particular, the analysis draws on the interpretative schemes of Zambon (1996) and Zambon and Zan (2000) and is combined with the concept of ‘transplantation’. The manner in which reporting boundaries are defined for both financial and non-financial reporting is investigated and compared. This comparison enables similarities and differences between the definition of the ‘reporting boundary’ to be problematised and explored for both financial and non-financial reporting.
Reporting boundaries, Financial reporting, Non-financial reporting, Transplantation
Potential of IFRS 8: Managerial “customization”, relevance of subsidiaries and separate financial statements
Cuccia Andrea / Financial Reporting / 1-2018
Nowadays companies are engaged in an increasingly competitive and global arena, where informational imbalances between companies and investors might be seen as a constraint to the correct functioning of markets. Breakdown of infor-mation by segments might be seen as an attempt to intercept different information needs about each circumscribed area of economic activities individually identified within entity-group. This paper is first intended to figure out, by resorting to practical examples, the effects of full management approach on IFRS 8 segment reporting structure. Then, in the light of the state of art arising from IFRS 8 Post-Implementation Review and the latest criticisms, in order to guarantee its useful-ness, it calls for a more awareness of the multi-faceted nature of segment reporting as a planning and control tool. Besides, merit of segment reporting is to recovery subsidiaries data elided within the consolidated financial statements. Following this perspective, separate financial statements, depicting subsidiaries in terms of in-vestments and profits and losses flowing respectively into balance sheet and in-come statements, is bound to provide a synthetic overview of all the business areas occupied by entity-group.
Customization, Breakdown, Subsidiaries, Operating segments
Global financial crisis and relevance of GRI disclosure in Italy. Insights from the stakeholder theory and the legitimacy theory
Fornaciari Luca, Pesci Caterina / Financial Reporting / 1-2018
In this study, we examine the effects of voluntary disclosure on the market value of Italian-listed companies adopting GRI guidelines, interpreting our results in the light of both stakeholder theory and legitimacy theory. From a methodological viewpoint, an index is used to measure the level of disclosure of human resources and environmental information. We consider a sample of firms listed on the Milan Stock Exchange for an eleven-year period (2004-2014). The period chosen gave us the opportunity to assess the value-relevance of environmental and social information before and during the Global Financial Crisis. We supplement the previous literature on the topic of the relationship between social and environmental disclosure and value-relevance by arguing that sustainability tools have to be evaluated, remembering that they express a notion of value in the long term and provide information to a large number of stakeholders. Our findings show that environmental information is only value-relevant during the crisis period, when the shareholder perspective comes more into line with other stakeholder perspectives because they are seeking a middle-to-long run notion of value. Finally, we find that a high level of GRI information disclosure is positively evaluated by investors; this result is important also because it was obtained in the Italian market which is largely considered inefficient, and thus it supports the urgent need to provide high-quality information in each type of market.
Social and environmental reports, Global financial crisis, Global reporting initiative guidelines, Stakeholder theory, Value relevance
Alexander David, Fasiello Roberta / Financial Reporting / 1-2018
The Italian tradition known as ‘Economia Aziendale’ is longstanding and well known in Italy. It broadly spans the 20th Century, with its apotheosis appearing in the 1920s with Gino Zappa. It is not very well-known elsewhere. Its logical conclusions for financial reporting are not applied in practice in Italy, and indeed never have been. They are not applied in the (very different) field of IFRS and European Directive requirements either. Our research question is to investigate the proposition that they significantly should be so applied. Our key area of study, therefore, is the complex and multi-faceted problem of income measurement and asset valuation, valuation issues in short. In order to properly investigate these considerations, we present a thorough survey of the theoretical development and arguments of the EA tradition, showing its logicality and usefulness, and contrasting these effects with the present-day regulatory systems. This forms the major theoretical element of the paper. In summary, therefore, the paper could be characterised as an analytical presentation of major theoretical arguments, with significant application to the real world of today and tomorrow. The EA tradition is not new. But we demonstrate its current relevance, and expose it to an international audience.
Bava Fabrizio, Gromis di Trana Melchior, Busso Donatella, Pisoni Piero / Financial Reporting / 1-2018
Following recent corporate scandals increased attention has been paid to Related Party Transactions (RPTs), since they have often played a central role in abuses and frauds. Regulators have consequently been obliged to strengthen current regulations, introducing new bans and requirements aimed at guaranteeing the substantial and economic fairness of RPTs and a proper level of transparency. This reaction is due to the high inherent risk of these transactions and because companies in crisis tend to resort to this type of operation. In Italy, the regulations on RPTs were completely revamped in 2010. The material RPTs that have to be disclosed through an ad hoc communication were defined by former regulations through qualitative criteria, whereas now a quantitative approach is used in order to reduce subjectivity. The initial results of the new regulations show that a higher number of RPTs has been disclosed to the market, thus improving transparency, but the effects of RPTs remain unreported in Income Statements. Through an online questionnaire this paper, starting from previous research, investigates potential improvements supported by independent directors involved in the RPT evaluation process. These independent Directors are uniquely placed to shed light on the experience of the initial years of application of the new Regulation, which may help lawmakers, after the lengthy initial consultation process, inevitably influenced by divergent (and non-independent) interests without the bene-fit of the hindsight that is now available. It is to be hoped that lawmakers will take note of these results and fine-tune the regulations accordingly, without necessarily abandoning the quantitative approach, in order to increase the transparency of the information made available on RPTs.
Related party transactions, Disclosure, IAS 24, Quantitative criteria
Orazio Vagnozzi / Financial Reporting / 2-2017
The existence of a gap between accounting research and accounting practice has been extensively described in literature. In order to be able to publish a research in a high-ranked accounting journal, it seems that methodological issues are more important than those related to the relevance of the topics covered. To improve research and accounting practice and to avoid the risk of accounting research becoming self-referential, every effort should be made to bridge the current gap between research and accounting practice. To this end, the development of mutual knowledge of the agenda of researchers and practitioners on the one hand, and participation in joint projects on the other, could represent possible future solutions to be pursued.
Accounting profession, Accounting research, Research impact, Impact factor
Giovanni Andrea Toselli / Financial Reporting / 2-2017
This paper represents a contribution from the point of view of a practitioner who strongly believes that it is essential to continue to invest in accounting research. The cooperation between chief financial officers, auditors and academic institutions is central not only for improving the process of accounting regulations but also for relaunching, at the same time, the industrial system (and not only it), by creating a strong feeling of trust in general economic and financial communication, thus fostering higher level of accountability.
Accounting profession, Accounting research, Research impact, Impact factor, Accountability
Massimiliano Semprini / Financial Reporting / 2-2017
Some argue that the ultimate purpose of accounting research should be to improve accounting practice, rather than simply to describe or understand or critique it. Hence a gap appears to have emerged between practitioners and academics with regards to accounting research. In order to exploit as better as possible the output of the accounting research performed by academic researchers, the accounting profession should create a point of contact; auditing networks might facilitate this link. On the other hand, research performed by academics should become “understandable” by practitioners using a different jargon and simple mathematical formulas.
Accounting profession, Accounting research, Research impact, Impact factor