The institute’s remarks come in response to the company law review consultation document, Modern Company Law for a Competitive Economy: Developing the Framework.
The institute warned against making electronic publishing compulsory in the short term, but urged companies to ‘explore the benefits of electronic filing, with a view to possible mandatory regulations being put in place in the longer term’.
Bryan Rankin, convener of the Business Law Committee said: ‘We agree that boththe preliminary statement and the full annual report should be included oncompany websites immediately on publication. This will help companies providecurrent information to all shareholders.’
ICAS recommends the use of a ‘restricted’ section on company websites for financial information with which the auditor has been involved. This will enable users to know which sections have been audited and which remain unaudited.
‘The boundaries associated with the paper versions of financial reports blur when they appear on a website. When the financial report is no longer paper based, and the auditor’s report is unable to refer to relevant page numbers, it can be unclear to readers what financial information has been audited,’ added Rankin.
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