Guiding principles - CRUF

Guiding Principles

Accounting standards that govern the preparation of corporate reports should be principles-based and comprehensible to the financially literate. These standards should not result in outputs that are at odds with economic reality.

Such standards should be based on the presumption that the stated principles are faithfully applied. Therefore standards should avoid unnecessary detailed prescription and not unduly restrict companies in presenting meaningful results that are in accordance with those principles.

Corporate reports should report economic reality.

Accounting standards should require compliance with their spirit rather than their letter so that preparers are required to disclose economic ‘substance’ rather than accounting or legal ‘form’.

Users want transparent and comprehensive disclosures.

Corporate reports should be prepared with the objective of providing a fundamental source of information for investors and creditors on which to base their decisions.

Corporate reports should provide information that is clear, understandable, consistent and relevant.
No single primary statement should take precedence. Not all information that is relevant for users of corporate reports has to be reflected in the primary financial statements. Some information, such as contextual and non-financial information may best be presented outside the primary financial statements. Accounting standards should not discourage companies from presenting additional information that is useful to users.
The purpose of the cash flow statement should be to identify and explain cash inflows and outflows over the period. Further, the cash flow and accompanying notes should provide insights into the drivers of maintainable cash flows as well as the trends over time of these drivers.

The cashflow should be capable of comparison and reconciliation with the profit and loss and balance sheet. The impact of acquisitions and disposals on these cashflows should also be clear.

The purpose of the balance sheet should be to reflect the capital invested in the business along with capital adequacy, compliance with legal covenants and stewardship.

The purpose should not be to determine the entity’s fair value. Further information regarding the values of individual assets and liabilities (including assumptions and sensitivities), should be provided in the notes.

The purpose of the profit and loss statement should be to identify the returns generated from the capital invested in the business.

The profit and loss and the accompanying notes should clearly differentiate and analyse relevant information, such as: operating performance from financing activities; recurring from non-recurring activities; value changes from trading activities.

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