Presentation of Financial Statements


Comprehensive summary of IAS 1 designed to enhance your financial reporting knowledge.


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 This Standard prescribes the basis for presentation of general purpose financial statements to ensure comparability both with the entity’s financial statements of previous periods and with the financial statements of other entities. It sets out overall requirements for the presentation of financial statements, guidelines for their structure and minimum requirements for their content. [IAS 1.1]

IAS 1 applies to all general purpose financial statements that are prepared and presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs). [IAS 1.2]

General purpose financial statements are those intended to serve users who are not in a position to require financial reports tailored to their particular information needs. [IAS 1.7]

Financial statements are required to be presented fairly as set out in the framework and in accordance with IFRS and are required to comply with all requirements of IFRSs.

The financial statements must “present fairly” the financial position, financial performance, and cash flows of an entity. Fair presentation requires the faithful representation of the effects of transactions, other events, and conditions in accordance with the definitions and recognition criteria for assets, liabilities, income, and expenses set out in the Framework. The application of IFRSs, with additional disclosure when necessary, is presumed to result in financial statements that achieve a fair presentation. [IAS 1.15]

IAS 1 requires an entity whose financial statements comply with IFRSs to make an explicit and unreserved statement of such compliance in the notes. Financial statements cannot be described as complying with IFRSs unless they comply with all the requirements of IFRSs (which include International Financial Reporting Standards, International Accounting Standards, IFRIC Interpretations, and SIC Interpretations). [IAS 1.16]

Inappropriate accounting policies are not rectified either by disclosure of the accounting policies used or by notes or explanatory material. [IAS 1.18]

IAS 1 acknowledges that, in extremely rare circumstances, management may conclude that compliance with an IFRS requirement would be so misleading that it would conflict with the objective of financial statements set out in the Framework. In such a case, the entity is required to depart from the IFRS requirement, with detailed disclosure of the nature, reasons, and impact of the departure. [IAS 1.19-21]

Financial statements are required to be prepared on a going concern basis (unless entity is in liquidation or has ceased trading or there is an indication that the entity is not a going concern).

The Conceptual Framework notes that financial statements are normally prepared assuming the entity is a going concern and will continue in operation for the foreseeable future. [Conceptual Framework, paragraph 4.1]

IAS 1 requires management to make an assessment of an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. If management has significant concerns about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the uncertainties must be disclosed. If management concludes that the entity is not a going concern, the financial statements should not be prepared on a going concern basis, in which case IAS 1 requires a series of disclosures. [IAS 1.25]

Accrual Basis of Accounting

IAS 1 requires that an entity prepare its financial statements, except for cash flow information, using the accrual basis of accounting. [IAS 1.27]

An entity is required to retain presentation and classification from one period to the next.

The presentation and classification of items in the financial statements shall be retained from one period to the next unless a change is justified either by a change in circumstances or a requirement of a new IFRS. [IAS 1.45]

Each material class of similar assets and items of dissimilar nature or function is to be presented separately.

Information is material if omitting, misstating, or obscuring it could reasonably be expected to influence decisions that the primary users of general-purpose financial statements make on the basis of those financial statements, which provide financial information about a specific reporting entity. [IAS 1.7]*

Each material class of similar items must be presented separately in the financial statements. Dissimilar items may be aggregated only if they are individually immaterial. [IAS 1.29]

However, information should not be obscured by aggregating or by providing immaterial information, materiality considerations apply to the all parts of the financial statements, and even when a standard requires a specific disclosure, materiality considerations do apply. [IAS 1.30A-31]

* Clarified by Definition of Material (Amendments to IAS 1 and IAS 8), effective 1 January 2020.

Assets and liabilities, and income and expenses, may not be offset unless required or permitted by an IFRS. [IAS 1.32]

At least 1 year of comparative information (unless impractical).

IAS 1 requires that comparative information to be disclosed in respect of the previous period for all amounts reported in the financial statements, both on the face of the financial statements and in the notes unless another Standard requires otherwise. Comparative information is provided for narrative and descriptive where it is relevant to understanding the financial statements of the current period. [IAS 1.38]

-Statement of financial position is required to be presented if the entity retrospectively applies an accounting policy, restates items, or reclassifies items, and those adjustments had a material effect on the information in the statement of financial position at the beginning of the comparative period. [IAS 1.40A]

Where comparative amounts are changed or reclassified, various disclosures are required. [IAS 1.41]