The CRUF chairs from around the world are always focused on how we continue to keep the CRUF vibrant, diverse and attractive to new participants.
As chair of CRUF Japan, one example of how we have tried to achieve this is through a new meeting initiative called the ‘Open CRUF’. This open meeting format aims to achieve three things:
- Attract new CRUF participants to the world of corporate reporting who may not have a technical background;
- Increase recognition of the CRUF among investment professionals in Japan; and
- Identify those who might be interested in joining us and will carry on the work of the CRUF in the future.
At the Open CRUF meetings our objective is to help educate and inform investors on reporting matters using non-technical language and give a voice to those who are keen on providing feedback to standard setters on their consultations which may then influence the standards. These standard setters include global bodies such as the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) as well as local bodies such as the Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ).
I have found that the topics discussed may be daunting for those who are new to the corporate reporting debate. However, this does not mean that investors are not interested in accounting standards and other corporate reporting related matters. There are many investment professionals who are eager to learn how certain transactions are accounted for through new standards and by the different standards, such as IFRS, US-GAAP, as well as J-GAAP.
We provide a space for these professionals to learn more about the accounting standards and other corporate reporting matters. Information is provided through presentations from long-standing CRUF participants or by the technical staff from PwC Japan, who act as a Secretariat to the group. Our aim is to make the Open CRUF meetings as interactive as possible and encourage participants to raise any questions they might have without hesitation and to encourage them to discuss these freely.
Over the last year, we have held two Open CRUF meetings. The agenda for each meeting was chosen based on prior discussions of what users of financial reports tell us they want to know. The first meeting was held in July and the topic was accounting for acquisitions or disposals of subsidiaries and affiliates. The second meeting in October discussed IFRS 16 (leases) and what this means for credit and equity analysts. I would say it is essential for the investment community to be knowledgeable about these types of topics in order to be able to understand the financial statements better and to be more informed.
It has been heartening to see around thirty participants at both meetings, and the feedback from new participants was very positive with several signing up to join our regular meetings.
Open CRUF meetings help us to continue to broaden the CRUF community in Japan. The results so far have been encouraging and we are convinced that this initiative could be an effective way to pass on the legacy of CRUF and to ensure the user voice continues to influence future standards.
If you would like to attend a Japan Open CRUF meeting, please contact the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goro Kumagai is CRUF Japan chair and a member of the Capital Markets Advisory Committee (CMAC).