Business and investors to thrash out accounting issues

CORPORATES AND INVESTORS will be able to plough through contentious accounting issues with a new service offered by the regulator.

The Financial Reporting Council will launch the Financial Reporting Lab on 14 October; it will operate as an enabling service, allowing businesses, their investors and advisors to come up with solutions to accounting anomalies or variances showing up in financial reporting.

“It [will be] a safe environment for companies and investors to identify bugbears in reporting and come up with a grounded and pragmatic solution,” said lab spokeswoman Alison Thomas.

She continued: “We facilitate dialogue and encourage them to innovate in their reporting, where we act as a sounding board.”

The corporate and investment communities are already interested in using the service, Thomas added. Quoted entities will be able to use the lab.

While discussions between parties will be confidential, the lab hopes to report on the lessons learned – and changes made to company reporting – when appropriate.

Wider accounting issues could be discussed through an industry-by-industry approach, suggested Thomas.

However, it will be unable to ‘pre-clear’ sets of accounts from further investigation that are subject to discussions. The lab will sit within the current regulatory framework rather than change it.

A steering group – currently unnamed – will guide the lab’s strategy.

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