Financial Statement Presentation: The Importance of Going Concern

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| Lindsay Webber

In the world of financial reporting, the concept of going concern plays a crucial role in ensuring that financial statements provide a true and fair view of a company's financial position. While auditors often discuss going concern from their perspective, it is equally important to understand its significance from a financial reporting standpoint, especially when preparing unaudited accounts. In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of going concern and its relevance in financial statement presentation.

What is Going Concern?


Going concern refers to the assumption that a company will continue its operations for the foreseeable future, typically at least 12 months from the date of the financial statements. This assumption is fundamental to financial reporting, as it allows users of financial statements to make informed decisions based on the company's ability to generate profits, meet its obligations, and maintain its operations.

True and Fair View

Section 3 of FRS 102 focuses on providing a true and fair view of a company's assets, liabilities, equity, income, and expenses. One of the most critical aspects of this section is the going concern assumption. By incorporating the going concern principle, financial statements can accurately reflect the company's financial position and performance, allowing stakeholders to make informed decisions. This is one of those big overriding requirements that comes in and it doesn't matter if it's section 1A or full FRS102, you need to make sure you're giving a true and fair view. A lot of the time, particularly with section 1A of FRS102, people leave out a lot of disclosures because they aren't strictly required. But you always need to think and ask yourself, if I leave this disclosure out, am I giving a true and fair view of the financial position, financial performance, and cashflow of the entity? If you aren't giving that true and fair view, you should be disclosing that particular note or requirement.

The Role of Going Concern in Non-Audited Accounts

When preparing unaudited accounts, it is essential to consider the going concern assumption to ensure that the financial statements provide a true and fair view of the company's financial position. Here are some key factors to consider:

1. Assessing the Company's Financial Health: It is crucial to evaluate the company's ability to generate profits, meet its obligations, and maintain its operations in the foreseeable future. This assessment should take into account factors such as liquidity, solvency, and profitability.

2. Identifying Potential Risks: Companies should identify any potential risks or uncertainties that may cast doubt on their ability to continue as a going concern. These risks may include economic downturns, industry-specific challenges, or internal factors such as management changes or operational inefficiencies.

3. Disclosures: If there are any material uncertainties related to the company's ability to continue as a going concern, these should be disclosed in the financial statements. This transparency allows users of the financial statements to make informed decisions based on the company's financial position and potential risks.

4. Consistency: The going concern assumption should be applied consistently across all financial statements and accounting periods. This consistency ensures that users of the financial statements can compare the company's performance over time and make informed decisions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the going concern assumption plays a vital role in financial statement presentation, ensuring that financial statements provide a true and fair view of a company's financial position. Even when preparing unaudited accounts, it is essential to consider the going concern principle and its implications financial statements and disclosures. By doing so, companies can provide accurate and transparent financial information to stakeholders, allowing them to make informed decisions and contribute to the overall success of the business.

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About the Author

As a member of our Practice Support team, Lindsay’s focus is on helping practices achieve on-going best practice compliance, providing in-house training, technical assistance, and file reviews. Lindsay is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and Chartered Accountants Ireland. She trained with KPMG in Johannesburg and specialised in external audit of financial services companies. She then spent six years lecturing audit and financial reporting to under-grad and post-grad students at Rhodes University in South Africa before moving to Ireland and returning to practice in a small, and then a medium sized firm where she was an audit manager. Altogether, she has over six years external audit experience along with over six years academic experience specialising in Audit and Financial Accounting. She is passionate about combining her academic and practice backgrounds to provide technical information in a useful and practical way. Outside of her accounting qualifications Lindsay holds a PGDiploma in Higher Education from Rhodes University and graduated with distinction from the MBA course at Trinity College Dublin. She is currently working towards a Diploma in Forensic Accounting through Chartered Accountants Ireland.

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