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  • Accounting Alert April 2020

How will coronavirus impact your financial statements

Besides the serious public health threat that has arisen from the outbreak of the coronavirus which started in Wuhan, China, and quickly spread to other parts of the world, it is also expected to have serious economic impacts on many businesses, including universities, travel, tourism, manufacturing, construction and the retail sector. Businesses reliant on a China supply chain are particularly vulnerable, but there could also be a knock-on effect on many other businesses down the line.

Some businesses may profit from the virus outbreak (for example, manufacturers of face masks, antibacterial cleaning products, toilet paper, etc.) and for others, the virus outbreak may have a neutral impact. In such cases, there are unlikely to be financial reporting consequences for these entities.

However, many other entities may see a significant reduction in profits for the foreseeable future until the virus is contained and the ‘panic factor’ subsides.  This article highlights the financial reporting implications for these entities on 31 December 2019 financial statements, as well as for financial statements for periods ending on or after 31 January 2020.


31 December 2019 financial statements

The coronavirus will have the following impacts on 31 December 2019 financial statements.

Impairment

IAS 36 Impairment of Assets is the accounting standard that outlines the accounting requirements for determining whether non-financial assets are impaired.

An entity shall assess at the end of each reporting period whether there is any indication that an asset may be impaired. If any such indication exists, the entity shall estimate the recoverable amount of the asset.

IAS 36, paragraph 9

At the end of each reporting period, entities must assess if there is any indication that a non-financial asset is impaired (paragraph 9), by considering a minimum list of indicators (included at paragraph 12) to determine if there in an impairment trigger. If there are any impairment triggers, an impairment test must be performed to determine whether the carrying amount of the asset exceeds is recoverable amount.

Regardless of impairment indicators, an impairment test must be performed at least once per year (at the same time each year) for goodwill, indefinite-life intangible assets and intangible assets that are not yet available for use (paragraph 10).

The coronavirus is likely to tick many of the boxes for impairment triggers relating to external factors in paragraph 12, including:

  • Changes in the market – reduction in product demand (e.g. panic-stricken travellers no longer willing to travel to virus infected areas, government imposed travel restrictions to certain countries, fewer passengers flying, etc.)
  • Changes in the economic environment (e.g. inability to secure sources of supply from China, less demand for product as customers delay purchases due to uncertainty, etc.)
  • Market capitalisation drops below net carrying amount of assets due to panic selling by investors
  • Idle assets due to reduced product demand.

 

We therefore need to determine how these impairment triggers impact financial reports for 31 December 2019 interim and annual reporting periods.

Implications:

Impairment testing needs to be performed as usual for 31 December 2019 financial reports. As noted above, IAS 36, paragraph 9, requires assessment of impairment indicators at the end of each reporting period.

Because the significant development and spread of the virus did not take place until January 2020, these issues need to be considered under IAS 10 Events after the Reporting Period as non-adjusting events. Therefore, we should not use hindsight knowledge of the coronavirus when making assumptions regarding forecasts and future cash flows for 31 December 2019 impairment tests. However, disclosure is required about the nature and financial effect of the non-adjusting event in 31 December 2019 financial reports.

Even though the coronavirus was reported to the World Health Organization on 31 December 2019, it was only announced as a global health emergency on 31 January 2020, following which national governments took action. In addition, significant measures taken by the Chinese government and private sector organisations did not take place until early 2020. It is therefore expected that at 31 December 2019, forecasts, projections and associated assumptions used for impairment testing at that date would have reflected little or no change as a result of the outbreak.

Examples of disclosure that may be necessary as a result of the coronavirus outbreak include:

  • Estimates of expected credit losses on financial assets and impairment of non-financial assets
  • Breaches of covenants in lending or other arrangements
  • Waivers of, and changes to, contractual terms of lending or other arrangements
  • Triggers giving rise to mandatory redemption or repayment of loans and other instruments at the option of the counterparty
  • Supply chain or other trading disruptions
Dealing with suspension or termination of contracts and whether these result in onerous contracts.

 

Going concern

For the going concern assessment, there is no difference between the assessment for 31 December 2019, and later financial reports. IAS 10 requires entities to consider events both before and after the reporting date.

Deterioration in operating results and financial position after the reporting period may indicate a need to consider whether the going concern assumption is still appropriate. If the going concern assumption is no longer appropriate, the effect is so pervasive that this Standard requires a fundamental change in the basis of accounting, rather than an adjustment to the amounts recognised within the original basis of accounting.

IAS 10, paragraph 15

Implications:

Entities must consider whether the coronavirus outbreak has caused a significant deterioration in economic conditions for an entity such that there is significant uncertainty about its ability to continue as a going concern, or in extreme cases, whether the financial statements should be prepared on a going concern basis.

The financial report should also include disclosure about any matters impacting going concern.

 

Impacts on 31 January 2020 and subsequent reporting dates

For reporting dates from January 2020 onwards, the outbreak of the coronavirus is no longer an event after the end of the reporting period and should be taken into account when preparing financial reports. This is because the announcement by the World Health Organization of coronavirus as a global health emergency on 31 January 2020 occurred prior to reporting date.

Impairment

As noted above, IAS 36, paragraph 9 requires assets to be assessed for impairment triggers at the end of each reporting period.

An entity shall assess at the end of each reporting period whether there is any indication that an asset may be impaired. If any such indication exists, the entity shall estimate the recoverable amount of the asset.

IAS 36, paragraph 9

Implications:

We would expect that forecasts and cash flow projections will change for many entities as a result of the virus, and this may have a significant impact on recoverable amounts of assets, particularly for the industries noted above.

 

Going concern

For the going concern assessment, there is no difference between the assessment for 31 December 2019 and later financial reports. IAS 10 requires entities to consider events both before and after the reporting date.

Deterioration in operating results and financial position after the reporting period may indicate a need to consider whether the going concern assumption is still appropriate. If the going concern assumption is no longer appropriate, the effect is so pervasive that this Standard requires a fundamental change in the basis of accounting, rather than an adjustment to the amounts recognised within the original basis of accounting.

IAS 10, paragraph 15
Entities must therefore consider whether the coronavirus outbreak has caused a significant deterioration in economic conditions for an entity such that there is significant uncertainty about its ability to continue as a going concern, or in extreme cases, whether the financial statements should be prepared on a going concern basis.

The financial report should also include disclosure about any matters impacting going concern.

 

More information please read our International Financial Reporting Bulletin and the 'Potential effects of the Coronavirus outbreak on 2020 reporting periods and onwards' article.


For more on the above, please contact your local BDO representative.

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