Analysts fear IFRS clouds accounts

Big Four firm KPMG has warned that although analysts have developed a deeper
understanding of IFRS, the new standards are making it more difficult to
interpret accounts.

In a report, ‘On the threshold of IFRS’, KPMG found that less than half (47%)
of the 100 analysts it surveyed believed that IFRS would give them greater
insight into a company’s true financial position, with 54% saying that a firm
definition of operating profit under IFRS was something that needed to be

‘It is interesting to see that analyst enthusiasm about what IFRS can do for
them appears to have fallen,’ said Mark Vaessen, CEO of KPMG’s international
financial reporting group. ‘Achieving consistency without ending up with
detailed rules is a challenge for all involved. Those companies that do not
conform to best practice could find that their non-conformity becomes very
visible, and may suffer as a result.’

The KPMG report also found, however, that the new standards were less likely
to cause market turmoil and analysts were more confident in their knowledge of

Last year over half of the analysts polled expected some market turmoil, but
this year that has fallen to 27%.

Merger and acquisition accounting remained the main area analysts were
concerned about, with 54% admitting that their knowledge in this area was weak.

The presentation of the income statement was felt to be the best understood,
with over four-fifths of the respondents claiming good understanding.

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Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.