Determining the Acceptability of General Purpose Frameworks
Jurisdictions that Do Not Have Authorised or Recognised Standards Setting Organisations or Financial Reporting Frameworks Prescribed by Law or Regulation
- As explained in paragraph A10, when an entity is registered or operating in a jurisdiction that does not have an authorised or recognised standards setting organisation, or where use of the financial reporting framework is not prescribed by law or regulation, management identifies an applicable financial reporting framework. Practice in such jurisdictions is often to use the financial reporting standards established by one of the organisations described in paragraph A8.
- Alternatively, there may be established accounting conventions in a particular jurisdiction that are generally recognised as the financial reporting framework for a general purpose financial report prepared by certain specified entities operating in that jurisdiction. When such a financial reporting framework is adopted, the auditor is required by paragraph 6(a) to determine whether the accounting conventions collectively can be considered to constitute an acceptable financial reporting framework for a general purpose financial report. When the accounting conventions are widely used in a particular jurisdiction, the accounting profession in that jurisdiction may have considered the acceptability of the financial reporting framework on behalf of the auditors. Alternatively, the auditor may make this determination by considering whether the accounting conventions exhibit attributes normally exhibited by acceptable financial reporting frameworks (see paragraph 3 below), or by comparing the accounting conventions to the requirements of an existing financial reporting framework considered to be acceptable (see paragraph 4 below).
- Acceptable financial reporting frameworks normally exhibit the following attributes that result in information provided in financial reports that is useful to the intended users:
- Relevance, in that the information provided in the financial report is relevant to the nature of the entity and the purpose of the financial report. For example, in the case of a business enterprise that prepares a general purpose financial report, relevance is assessed in terms of the information necessary to meet the common financial information needs of a wide range of users in making economic decisions. These needs are ordinarily met by presenting the financial position, financial performance and cash flows of the business enterprise.
- Completeness, in that transactions and events, account balances and disclosures that could affect conclusions based on the financial report are not omitted.
- Reliability, in that the information provided in the financial report:
- Where applicable, reflects the economic substance of events and transactions and not merely their legal form; and
- Results in reasonably consistent evaluation, measurement, presentation and disclosure, when used in similar circumstances.
- Neutrality, in that it contributes to information in the financial report that is free from bias.
- Understandability, in that the information in the financial report is clear and comprehensive and not subject to significantly different interpretation.
- The auditor may decide to compare the accounting conventions to the requirements of an existing financial reporting framework considered to be acceptable. For example, the auditor may compare the accounting conventions to IFRSs. For an audit of a small entity, the auditor may decide to compare the accounting conventions to a financial reporting framework specifically developed for such entities by an authorised or recognised standards setting organisation. When the auditor makes such a comparison and differences are identified, the decision as to whether the accounting conventions adopted in the preparation of the financial report constitute an acceptable financial reporting framework includes considering the reasons for the differences and whether application of the accounting conventions, or the description of the financial reporting framework in the financial report, could result in a financial report that is misleading.
- A conglomeration of accounting conventions devised to suit individual preferences is not an acceptable financial reporting framework for a general purpose financial report. Similarly, a compliance framework will not be an acceptable financial reporting framework, unless it is generally accepted in the particular jurisdictions by preparers and users.