Consultation into improvements to the reporting of intangibles launched

News types: Consultation Announcement, Corporate Reports

Published: 6 February 2019

Possible improvements to the reporting of factors that are important to a business’ generation of value are discussed in a consultation launched by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) today.
There are frequent calls to reform the accounting for intangible assets, partly in response to the move to a knowledge-based economy. This paper considers the case for radical change to the accounting for intangible assets and the likelihood of such change being made in the near future. 
It suggests that:
  • relevant and useful information could be provided without the need to recognise more intangible assets in companies’ balance sheets;
  • such information could cover a range of factors, broader than the definition of intangible assets in accounting standards, that are relevant to the generation of value;
  • improvements could be made on a voluntary basis within current reporting frameworks (such as the strategic report); and
  • participants in the reporting supply chain could collaborate to bring about improvements.
Paul George, Executive Director for Corporate Governance and Reporting at the FRC, said,

“It is unrealistic to expect the value of a business to be fully represented in its balance sheet; there is always likely to be a gap between the balance sheet total and the market capitalisation of a company.
The paper suggests several ideas for expanding the information provided, both quantitative and qualitative, to improve users’ assessment of corporate value.”

The deadline for responses to the consultation is 30 April 2019.