Not-for-profit groups launch IFRS campaign

An unprecedented campaign, which will see some of the country’s biggest
charities lobby against accounting standards for the first time, has been
launched against an international standard that they claim will drastically
reduce the transparency of company accounts.

The 75 charities, which include Save the Children, Global Witness, CAFOD and
the International League for Human Rights, fear that the standard on segmental
reporting would reduce the ability of the general public to see what companies
are doing in certain countries.

Co-ordinated by the Publish What You Pay Coalition, the charities want to
hold on to the current geographical reporting model.

‘Accountability of corporations is vital if we’re to hold governments to
account for what they do with the cash they receive,’ said Henry Parham, the
group’s international co-ordinator. ‘That’s why we’re asking for disclosure of
information that is vital for the stakeholders of all corporations.’

‘There has never been such a letterwriting campaign before for the IASB,’
said Richard Murphy, the accountant responsible for authoring the group’s
submission to the IASB. ‘Any stakeholder, apart from a financial analyst, would
be interested in the information we are asking for.’

The coalition wants to know where a company operates, revenues in that
country on an intra-group and third-party basis, how much value it adds to the
local economy, its profits and how much tax it pays.

Murphy argued that multinational companies already know this information for
tax purposes, so it would not be an additional burden.

Despite the size of the lobby group, it could still struggle to influence the
IASB, which is notorious for sticking to its guns.

Elizabeth Hickey, director of technical activities at the IASB, said: ‘I
don’t understand the concern, because there will be presentation of segmental
information, which may involve geographical representation.’

It is expected the matter will be discussed at the IASB’s July board meetin

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