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Annual report - 2018 financial statements and review of the 2016-2017 financial statements: the AMF's recommendations
14 December 2018

Annual report - 2018 financial statements and review of the 2016-2017 financial statements: the AMF's recommendations

The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) has published, before the close of the annual accounting period, its recommendations for preparing the 2018 financial statements and annual reports. The aim of these recommendations, which are very closely aligned with the priorities published by ESMA, is to raise awareness among listed companies, their audit committees and their statutory auditors of areas of focus specific to each period end.

The AMF’s recommendations: topics for 2018

For the most part, the topics presented this year are in line with those discussed in 2016-2017 and focus on three main areas.

New standards that have entered or will soon enter into force: IFRS 9, 15 and 16

IFRS 9 on financial instruments and IFRS 15 on revenue entered into force on 1 January 2018, followed by IFRS 16 on leases, which will apply from 1 January 2019.

With regard to revenue and financial instruments, the AMF emphasises certain points that raised questions at the time of application, for example the agent versus principal assessment and the identification of performance obligations for IFRS 15 and the determination of a significant increase in credit risk for IFRS 9. The AMF highlights the information to be presented in the financial statements with respect to the transition but also more generally regarding application of these standards.

With regard to leases, the AMF mainly highlights the importance of providing market participants with explanations about the future impact and the status of the work before this standard is applied.

The importance of relevant and proportionate information

In general, the issue of the presentation, readability and relevance of financial statements is of great importance to the AMF. This year, it focused on consistency between the financial statements and other financial disclosures.

Non-financial information and alternative performance measures

Regulatory requirements and the importance of non-financial information to the market are also underscored with a focus on certain recommendations made in the AMF’s 2016 report on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the European Commission’s guidelines. The AMF also took this opportunity to note some of the major points in its Position DOC-2015-12 when alternative performance measures are used in financial communication.

The AMF’s review of the financial statements

This recommendation also includes a presentation of the conclusions of the AMF’s review of financial statements between October 2017 and September 2018. In that regard, 76% of the reviews finalised during this period led the AMF to make recommendations or suggest areas of improvement.

In addition to its reviews, this year the AMF discussed accounting analyses with five issuers in advance of the publication of their financial statements. The AMF remains available to listed companies and their statutory auditors to discuss any issues related to financial disclosures and, more specifically, to application of IFRS, including in advance of the publication of their financial statements.