Brexit

Intangible assets - disclosure of impairments

Businesses are currently facing a number of challenges, such as uncertainty surrounding Brexit and a sluggish economy. The retail sector in particular is experiencing a higher level of impairments (and, for some, going concern issues) as they contend with slow sales, high business rates and plenty of competition. Tougher economic conditions generally lead to increased risks of impairment, particularly for intangible assets such as goodwill. 

In the technical findings from the Financial Reporting Committee’s 2017/18 Corporate Reporting Review, published in October 2018 (FRC technical findings 2018), impairment was one area highlighted where additional information was often requested and disclosures did not always contain all the required information.

When writing this report the latest 2017 and 2018 financial statements of 20 UK listed companies were selected at random for review of the impairment-related disclosures, focussing on intangible assets. It was ensured that a variety of industries such as retail, IT services and tourism and leisure were included.

Brexit Disclosures

As the Brexit uncertainty continues, we look at how Brexit has been disclosed in a sample of FTSE 350 annual report and accounts.

As things currently stand, ‘exit day’ is still scheduled to be on 29 March 2019, although the likelihood of this date slipping appears to be increasing. The Government has issued the statutory instrument (SI 2019/145), Accounts and Reports (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, which effectively cuts the UK’s ties with the EEA (European Economic Area). The changes proposed will be made to the Companies Act 2006 and secondary legislation, making EEA states third countries under UK law. The Government has also issued another SI The Statutory Auditors and Third Country Auditors(Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 dealing with statutory auditors and third country auditors. 

The Government has issued a number of additional pieces of guidance on how companies should operate in the event of a no-deal Brexit occurring on 29 March, on topics ranging from competition, insolvency and intellectual property, to the recognition of professional qualifications.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have published letters for auditors and accountants to share information in case there is no deal for leaving the EU by Friday 29 March 2019.

It remains to be seen when these changes will actually come into force, and if further discussions with the European Union will change proposals that have been made. Needless to say our technical team will follow developments closely and ensure legislation and commentaries on the Croner-i Tax and Accounting platform are updated as soon as possible.