Everyone must work together to combat ‘disclosure overload’

Responding to the IASB survey released on 25.1.13 regarding financial information disclosures in financial reporting, Dr Nigel Sleigh-Johnson, Head of ICAEW’s Financial Reporting Faculty, said:

ICAEW“Finding the balance between too much financial disclosure and too little will be highly challenging, as users of financial reports have different needs.

“So-called disclosure overload will not be resolved unless it is tackled together by all the bodies who impose disclosure requirements. That way it may be possible to reduce duplication and unnecessary complexity. Making more of technological advances may also enable companies to report more effectively and clearly.

“A good starting point would be to reach a better understanding of the objective of annual reports and on who they are intended for. It is unrealistic to expect the needs of all users to be met in full by a single set of disclosures. Key information should be easily accessible to less sophisticated users, while users who want much more extensive information should have access to what they need. This may require radical restructuring of disclosures and how they are presented.”