A Quick Guide to Impact of COVID-19 on Financial Reporting
Author: Santosh Maller
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been rightly described as an unprecedented human, economic and financial crisis facing the world. This pandemic has resulted in widespread economic uncertainty and disruption of businesses.
COVID-19 has and will have far reaching implications on financial reporting. These circumstances would potentially present entities with several challenges when preparing their financial statements for year/quarter ended 31 March 2020. This book, covers some of the key financial reporting implications that companies need to consider and also, possible approaches that may be considered while dealing with the same up-keeping in view of the business objectives, financial covenants and the accounting standards.
The key aspects impacted by COVID-19 for financial reporting are: asset impairment; inventory valuations and write downs; revenue recognition; debt covenants and debt servicing; foreign exchange accounting and losses/gains due to extreme volatility; litigation resulting from contractual defaults, invocation of force majeure clauses and potential exposure; insurance claims for losses during shutdown period or loss of lives; and going concern.
The companies shall ensure that they provide sufficient disclosures in the notes to the financial statements with information about the entity that's useful to existing and potential investors, creditors, lenders, and other stakeholders. This book highlights the existing financial reporting requirements under Companies (Indian Accounting Standards) Rules, 2015 and Companies (Accounting Standards) Rules, 2006 that should be considered when addressing the financial effects of COVID 19 while preparing annual financial statements and possible audit approaches that can be considered relevant.
The role of auditors at this stage would be under increased scrutiny as the auditors have a public interest obligation to complete the audit work in accordance with professional standards and ethics requirements. Under the current circumstances, auditors must recognise that the manner in which they conducted the audits in the past may need significant modification to address the challenges and uncertainties arising out of the impact of COVID-19. Additionally, irrespective of the challenges and uncertainties, there should not be any dilution in the reporting or non-compliance with the auditing standards in carrying out the audits.
This book is an attempt to cover the requirements of the accounting standards and auditing standards, with illustrative examples and COVID-19 related extracts from published financial statements of companies.