Financial Statements Registered Companies Essay

Question:

Discuss About The Financial Statements Registered Companies?

Answer:

Introducation

The financial statements prepared by the company (BHP Billiton) is a statement which is consolidated statement and the same has been presented by the company as per the provisions and requirements of Corporation Act of 2001 and companies Act 2006 of UK as the company is also listed in UK as well. The financial statements of the company were prepared under the requirements and the relevant provisions of IFRS standards ad also relevant provisions of AASB standards as well (AnnualReport 2017).

Accounting policies which were followed by the company in its presentation of the financial statement is as follows:

  1. The company has followed the going concern basis as it would be an ongoing business operation and the management does not see any liquidation possibilities in the near future.
  2. Items of financial mature has been measured on the basis of historical cost basis in general except the assets which has bene categorized as derivatives instruments by the managements. These derivatives assets are shown and recognized in the books at their respective fair value.
  3. Some of the long term (non-current assets) which are being held for sale are carried in the books or recognized in the financial statements at their fair values after making relevant adjustments to the expected costs of disposal.
  4. Revenue generated by the company is recognized following the books at the respective fair values of the consideration which is either receivables or received by the entity. The revenue generated is recognized in the books only when the company ascertains the fact that significant risks related to the ownership of the goods concerned have been passed to the buyers.
  5. Trade Receivables of the company is taken into recognition at their fair value and afterwards the same is considered at the amortized costs by using the method of effective interest methodology after accounting or impairment charges.
  6. Inventories concerned are taken into recognition under lower of the costs involved or the net realizable value. Costs of the inventory are determined under average cost basis using the absorption cost method.
  7. Property, plant and equipment’s of the company are taken into recognition after deducting the accumulated depreciation and impairment charges from the costs. costs of the PPE has been recorded at the fair value which has been paid for the acquisition of the PPE. The costs also include the expenses incurred on bringing the PPE into operational existence(Hall 2012).
  8. Depreciation is estimated by the company by considering the useful lives of the asset concerned and residual amounts if any etc. the useful lives of the assets have been identified to be reassessed from time to time. The PPE and non-current assets excluding Land is generally assessed under the SLM method and other assets such as Mineral rights and petroleum interests etc. are depreciated under applying the units of production method etc.

The depreciation methods used are as follows:

Assets

Method

Buildings and plants/Equipment’s

SLM

Mineral rights

units of production method which is based on the rate at which depletion takes place.

petroleum interests

units of production method which is based on the rate at which depletion takes place.

Capitalized exploration costs

units of production method which is based on the rate at which depletion takes place.

Evaluation and development expenditure

units of production method which is based on the rate at which depletion takes place.

While buildings are depreciated at SLM using a life term of 25-30 years , the same for plant and Equipment is depreciated suing a life term of 3-30 years of life period.

Goodwill has been taken into recognition by the company in those cases where the fair values of the payments made for acquiring businesses and assets were found to be in excess of the identified fair value of the assets and liabilities taken over by the company. Goodwill of the company has not been amortized by the company in recent years and has been shown in the books at costs of the ascertained as stated above and after making suitable adjustments for impairment charges(AnnualReport 2017).

Operating lease assets being in use are not generally capitalized by the company and the lease payments mad e by the company are taken into the books (income statements) as operating expenses. On the other hand, the financial leases are taken into recognition as long term assets as the same are capitalized by the company as PPE. The capitalized leased assets are shown in the books at their respective fair values concerned. The interest expenses related to the capitalized leases assets are shown in the books as operating expenses(Dyson 2007).

When the company’s management comes to a determination of value regarding the mineral reserves and associated items and the development of such reserves are actioned the costs related to the capitalized exploration and expenditures made on evaluation of these assets are recognized ( termed and reclassified) as PPE. After the initial assessment all further expenses related to their development are classified as PPE(Cottrell 2012).

Accounting policies followed by the company and Estimates used- Are they flexible?

Yes. the accounting policies followed by the BHP Billiton company are quite flexible as the company mandates to change the estimates asper the Changing needs. For example, the deprecation follows the estimates of remaining life which is evaluated each year. Similarly, fair value of assets are evaluated frequently. Impairment of assets are also carried out under a frequent evaluation policy of the management and the same can be carried out more than once if the situation demands the same.

Accounting policies followed by the company and Estimates used – are these followed by competitor firms.

Yes. the same accounting policies and estimates are mostly followed by competing firms such as RIO TINTO and others.

Comparison of accounting policies and estimates which are used by the entity and its competitor firms (one of the competitors).

BHP Billiton

RIO TINTO

Depreciation Measurement

SLM method and Unit of production method.

SLM method and Unit of production method.

Impairments

Evaluated annually and if necessary evaluations are undertaken as per requirements.

Evaluated annually and if necessary evaluations are undertaken as per requirements.

Fair value measurement

Trade Receivables, financial leases and financial assets are recognized using Fair value.

Trade Receivables, financial leases and financial assets are recognized using Fair value.

Do you agree with the policies and estimates used by the entity?

The policies and estimates used by the BHP Billiton management are as per the regulatory principles and guidelines issued by corporations Act 2001, AASB standards and ASX guidelines.

Is accounting strategy adopted by the entity hiding or is it revealing in nature?

Most of the accounting items have been presented in manner which can be termed as revealing. However, the fair value measurement could have bene more revelatory. However, the general feeling is that the company has made as much as possible the revelations for general understanding (Roy 2015). For example, the company has revealed impairment charges included in he financial statements in detail for the last year. The same is presented as follows:

The general accounting policies which are adopted by the BHP Billiton management have been applied by the group entities to maintain consistency in periodical reporting and changes to the methods have not been considered in the latest reports presented. The company’s management has taken decisions to adopt all those regulatory changes and implement all the changes in the AASB standards and IFRS issues which were required to be made mandatory as of 1st July 2015. However, the company’s management has decided not to implement those standards which have bene issued but which were still not made effective before the issue of the latest financial statements (Picker 2015).

Preparation of an investigative report based on the Managements Accounting Strategy & Reporting Strategy.

To make the reporting clearer as to how different streams of the company are performing the company has included a segment based reporting. The segment based reports includes the revenue for these segments and Underlying EBITDA, EBIT and Depreciation and amortization etc which were considered during the last year. The segment reports also include the capital expenditures made during the last year and assets and liabilities of each segment has bene clearly demarcated. The company has reported the revenue and EBIDTA based on segments like petroleum ,copper ,Iron Ore ,coal ,Unallocated group (potash and nickel waste etc.) and Total Group Revenue. The segment reports have also reported the inter segment revenues which were adjusted in the final analysis. The segment reports further classified revenue and expenses based on their location wise operations. Revenue for the groups identified segments are reported and recognized following the books at the respective fair values of the consideration which is either receivables or received by the entity. The revenue generated is recognized in the books only when the company ascertains the fact that significant risks related to the ownership of the goods concerned have been passed to the buyers (Deegan 2015).

The financial report also included in detail an exceptional item which resulted in considerable amount of losses ($2450 million) on account of a failure of dam built in Brazil known as Samarco dam. The company’s subsidiary in Brazil has gone on to adjust the Samarco investment to zero which results in a loss of US$ 655 million on account of loss of equity and impairment costs of $525 million. The subsidiary also reserved a US$ 1200 million because potential obligation which are expected to arise from the failure of the dam (Hoggett 2011). The adjustment made for the last three years are shown in the folloing figure:

All these points towards the managements strategy of reporting the operational details in clearer terms and let the stakeholders and users of the financial statements be informed. All this points towards a fair approach towards reporting of accounting matters ad tells a lot about open reporting strategy which would result in more trust among the shareholders of the company.

Assess Accounting Flexibility

The accounting policies are well demarcated by the managerial policies and the same does not leave the accountants to have enough flexibility in using the same for reporting. However the accountants of the company does not have the leeway to change the accounting and reporting policies without managerial and Boards consent on their own. The accountant does not enjoy leeway and does not have a very high degree of flexibility in reporting items of important nature. Consolidation of the operations and financial statements are also done under relevant control environment and the audit committee ensures that there is enough internal control procedures in place to check the accounting transactions being reported for presentation to external users (Wyatt 2003).

For example, the valuation and estimation of the fair value of assets and derivative instruments would require the final approval of the Executive Leadership Team. The Fair value measurements are done. The fair value estimations are based on the standard valuation techniques prescribed and uses the market inputs along with dealer quotes in case of similar assets found in the market. Thus it can be concluded that the accountants are free to work within a set boundary which ensures the checks are in place of all kinds of possible personal biases and errors and willful misconduct (Wood 2005).

Evaluate Accounting Strategy

Flexibility do exist in reporting by accountants of BHP Billiton and for that purpose accountants for most of the competing firms in the sectors because of the nature of business operations. However, that would not allow the reporting to get distorted if all the issues are protected by accounting control (internal control mechanisms followed.

The industry peers seem to be following similar measurement criteria which is exhibited by RIO Tinto financial statements observed. The fair value measures are well documented and several write downs by RIO TINTO is presented with facts. For example, the RIO Tinto books show an impairment charge of US$1,655 million related to intangible assets and another US$ 194 million related to PPE were recognized for the Simandou project. The details are comparable to disclosures made by BHP.

The managers of the BHP Billiton were fully aware of the losses made by the company amounting to $6.4 billion in 2016 as compared to a $1.9 billion profit in the previous year. The immediate concern was taking a decision regarding the possibility of understanding the BHP business as a going concern and after ascertaining the ability of the firm to undertake business as a going concern the financial statements were prepared.

The CEO remuneration is fixed at a base salary plus pension benefits (25% of base salary maximum) plus performance related benefits which would not exceed 240% of the base salary. Of the performance benefits half are paid in cash and the other half is paid in the form of deferred equities (AnnualReport 2017).

At the end of each financial year the CEO and other managerial performance and concerned remuneration is measured against established standards. The same activity is undertaken by the committee of remuneration and the Board of directors. If the performance of the managerial personnel are found to be lower than the prescribed threshold level no performance bonusses are paid. In this assessment the committee of remuneration is further assisted by the sustainability committee and it is believed that even if the managers have a reason to establish higher profits for getting performance bonuses the company and its board of directors have enough checks in place to assess the financial performance and control such behavior (Weirich 2013).

The CEO pay for the last three years have been shown in the figure below:

No short term or long term incentives were accorded to the CEO in 2016 as the performance of the BHP Billiton firms is below expectations. in 2017 the CEO compensation would remain the same and the company has not decided to increase either base salary nor the % of incentives.

Evaluate the Quality of Disclosure

Disclosures made by the company’s in the financial statements are seemingly adequate. Revenue generated, expenses incurred have been accounted for in a desired manner and enough details are disseminated through the notes accompanying the financial statements. Disclosures are made in detail related to revenue recognition in the books by segment and by total, measurement of trade receivables, PPE, accounts payables, determination of depreciation and amortization, Impairment of goodwill and other intangibles.

Expenses incurred by the company in the last few years are also shown in detail including individual components. For example, the Employee benefits expenses are further sib-divided into wages and salaries paid for the last three years, social security benefits paid, shares awarded to employee pension benefits disbursed etc. other details includes expenses including lease rents, Raw materials and consumables used, royalties paid to the state and federal governments and freights and service commissions paid as well (AnnualReport 2017).

The segment based reports includes the revenue for these segments and Underlying EBITDA, EBIT and Depreciation and amortization etc. which were considered during the last year. The segment reports also include the capital expenditures made during the last year and assets and liabilities of each segment has bene clearly demarcated. The company has reported the revenue and EBIDTA based on segments like petroleum, copper , Iron Ore ,coal ,Unallocated group (potash and nickel waste etc.) and Total Group Revenue. Segment based reports are enough to understand how the same is generated and the segment reports also includes a report of the generation of revenue based on presence of the company’s operations based on various geographies.

The financial reports and accompanying reports also mentioned some of the non-IFRS based measurements used by the company to measure financial performance in recent years such as Underlying EBIDA.

Overall the quality of the disclosure is good for the BHP Billiton company. However individual components used by the company for making fair value assessment are missing in some cases and clear comparison notes are not provided.

Identify Potential Red Flags

The BHP Billiton company has written off large amounts owing to a dam failure in Brazil which it was alleged that occurred because of the company shirking its responsibility as far as corporate social responsibility is concerned. The samarco dam failure happened because of possible design failure and BHP Billiton wrote off more than $2450 million in assets costs write offs and losses which would probably arise because of damages in class action suit. The company’s subsidiary in Brazil has gone on to adjust the Samarco investment to zero which results in a loss od US$ 655 million on account of loss of equity and impairment costs of $525 million. The subsidiary also reserved a US$ 1200 million on account of potential obligation which are expected to arise from the failure of the dam (Bline & Fischer 2014).

The asset write offs because of this and losses are well explained with adequate footnotes and valuation done is explained with the help of notes. There has been a large amount of increase/decline in the value of the PPE, Trade receivables and cash and cash equivalents along with inventory in the books but the same has been well explained as to why the valuation have changed drastically. For example, the cash assets have changed from $ 6,753million in 2015 to $10,319 million in 2016. The same has been well expanded in the form of notes no 19. So, there is no real red flag as such in the financial reporting and everything is well covered by the related disclosures (Atrill & Eddie 2012).

Compliance with the Conceptual Framework

Conceptual framework if often described as a theoretical development which has been prepared by the standard setting entity like AASB and IASB to make sure the real world issues and problems can be tested against the same for validity (Roy 2015).

Conceptual framework is a theoretical framework which defines the objectives that are needed to be fulfilled by the financial statements prepared and presented by the corporate entities under AASB and ASIC and the framework helps in the interpretation of the standards put forwarded by AASB and IASB. With the application of the CF the financial statements are expected to be prepared in such a way that they would be able to fulfill the qualitative requirements that’s needed in a financial report. These qualitative requirements make sure the facts and the data reported remains verifiable by the users and thus able to disseminate the relevant data on the basis of which the users including the stockholders would be able to take the right kind of decision regarding their investments (Sterling 2012).

The BHP Billiton company has adhered to the conceptual framework and presented in a manner which makes it possible for the users to get information for the purpose of investing and related decision taking. It shall be noted that if the conceptual framework is not followed- the same would make it difficult in an uniform manner. A different set of regulation would be followed by different companies making comparison impossible for users and stockholders. As a result, the decisions regarding investing in a particular company like that of BHP Billion would be not as informative as it is now (Weygandt 2014).

As a common set of rules are present in the form of a conceptual framework the same lets the preparers of the statements understand the simple thing that the accounting practices are based on the same set of ideology for all corporates to follow and that would make it possible for the users to have an objective look at the annual reports of corporate entities fully knowing they have been prepared under similar guidelines (Whittington 2008).

The presence of the conceptual framework gives guidelines for transactions which are unusual in nature and which has occurred for the first time. Also the conceptual framework can be used to gauge the effectiveness of the accounting standards and their applicability in a changing world (Christensen & Nicolaev 2011).

For example, the adherence to the conceptual framework has been explained through the followings:

  • Revenue measurements are done as per reporting guidelines and following the due procedure. For example, the revenue is reported by considering the respective fair values of the consideration which is either receivables or received by the entity. The revenue generated is recognized in the books only when the company ascertains the fact that significant risks related to the ownership of the goods concerned have been passed to the buyers(Barker & Schulte 2017).
  • Trade Receivables of the company is taken into recognition at their fair value and afterwards the same is considered at the amortized costs by using the method of effective interest methodology after accounting or impairment charges.

The veracity of the information which are contained in the financial statements can be verified with reliability and all the detailed information are available (with regard to revenue, expenses, valuations, remuneration paid, assets disposed of and acquired) in the financial reports and notes accompanying as well (BAKER & CORTRELL 2011).

References

AnnualReport 2017, 'Annual Report, 2015-16', BHP BIliton Limited , Sydney.

Atrill, P & Eddie, M 2012, Accounting and Finance , 5th edn, Prentice Hall Financial Times, LONDON.

BAKER, R & CORTRELL, D 2011, ADVANCED FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING ,10TH ED, MCGRAWHILL IRWIN, CHICAGO.

Barker, R & Schulte, S 2017, 'Representing the market perspective: Fair value measurement for non-financial assets.', Accounting, Organizations and Society, vol 56, no. 3, pp. 55-67.

Berry, A&JR 2011, Accounting in a Business Context., South-Western Cengage Learning., OXFORD.

Bline, DM & Fischer, ML 2014, Advanced Accounting, John Wiley and Sons, Chicago.

Chambers, RJ 2012, Accounting: LAw, Theory & Ethics, McGrawHill Publications, Chicago.

Christensen, HB & Nicolaev, VV 2011, 'Does fair value accounting for non-financial assets pass the market test?', Review of Accounting Studies, vol 18, no. 3, pp. 734-775.

Cottrell, TEC&DM 2012, Advanced fiancial Accounting , 10th edn, McGrawHill - Irwin, NewYork.

Dagwell, R 2014, Corporate Accounting in Australia, 4th edn, NewSouth Publishing, Sydney.

Deegan, C 2015, Australian Fiancial Accounting , 8th edn, McGraw-Hill Education - Europe, Sydney.

Dyson, RJ 2007, Accounting for Non-Accounting Students., 6th edn, Financial Times/Prentice Hall., London.

Eisen, PJ 2013, Accounting (Business Review Series), 6th edn, Barron's Educational Series Inc.,U.S, NewYork.

Elliott, B & Elliott, J 2017, Financial Accounting and Reporting , 18th edn, Pearson Educaitonal Publishers , Harlow.

Hall, JA 2012, Accounting Information System, South Western Cengage Learning, Chicago.

Hoggett, J 2011, Company Accounting, 9th edn, John Wiley and sons, Brisbane.

Picker, R 2015, Australian Accounting Standards, 1st edn, Earnst and Young Publications, Melbourne.

Roy, H 2015, Contemporary Issues in Accounting, Pearson Publicaitons , Sydney.

Sterling, R 2012, 'A Statement of Basic Accounting Theory', Journal of Accounting Research, vol 5, no. 1, pp. 95-112.

Weirich, T 2013, Accounting and Auditing Research: Tools and Strategies, 8th edn, John Wiley & Sons; , London.

Weygandt, J 2014, Accounting for Business Decision Making, 6th edn, John Wiley and Sons INC, Chicago.

Whittington, G 2008, 'Fair Value and the IASB/FAASB Conceptual Framework Project:', ABACUS, vol 44, no. 2, p. 158.

Whittington, G 2008, 'Fair value and the IASB/FASB conceptual framework project: an alternative view', Abacus, vol 44, no. 2, pp. 139-168.

Wood, FASA 2005, Business Accounting , 10th edn, Pearson Education Ltd, HArlow-London.

Wyatt, AR 2003, 'Accounting Professionalism – They just don’t get it!', aaahq.org/AM2003/WyattSpeech.pdf, Chicago.

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