Preparers of financial reports - Frequently asked questions about financial reporting
- Do the Australian financial services (AFS) licensing requirements apply to accountants? (opens new page)
- If ASIC's public database shows that a proprietary company has provided notice concerning financial report lodgement or audit relief, does that mean ASIC has approved the relief?
- Can a company get relief under an ASIC class order if it meets most, but not all of the conditions?
- Does ASIC consider costs and inconvenience when deciding whether to give a company relief from financial reporting requirements?
- If a company lodges a late Form 382 or Form 384, does it qualify for relief?
- When should a proprietary company that does not meet the requirements for audit relief under ASIC Class Order 98/1417 apply for individual relief?
- My company changed type during the financial year. Does the company need to prepare and lodge a financial statement?
- How do I apply for an extension of time to prepare, lodge and/or distribute a financial report with ASIC?
- Will ASIC give relief from compliance with IFRS requirements?
If ASIC's public database shows that a proprietary company has provided notice concerning financial report lodgement or audit relief, does that mean ASIC has approved the relief?
No. Most of the notifications required under class orders dealing with financial report lodgement relief or audit relief are notifications for the public record. One purpose is so that persons dealing with the company may be able to determine that the company intends to take advantage of relief under the relevant order.
Relief under the ASIC class orders is dependent upon the company concerned meeting all of the conditions of those orders. The onus is on the company and its directors to ensure that all of these conditions are met.
The fact that such a notification required by a class order appears on the public record does not mean that ASIC has considered or approved relief. Nor does ASIC inform companies that these notifications have been received and processed.
Can a company get relief under an ASIC class order if it meets most, but not all of the conditions?
No. The conditions under ASIC class orders complement each other and should not be regarded as substitutes. The conditions are part of a package and are included after careful consideration by ASIC.
A company is only entitled to rely on a class order if it fully meets all of the conditions for relief. For example, failure to meet a timing requirement contained in a class order would mean that a company does not qualify for relief under the order.
Does ASIC consider costs and inconvenience when deciding whether to give a company relief from financial reporting requirements?
Under the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), ASIC can give relief from one of the financial reporting requirements only if it is satisfied that one of three pre-conditions for relief are met. One of these pre-conditions is that compliance with a requirement of the Act would impose unreasonable burdens on the company. This takes into account the costs of compliance but regard must also be given to the benefits of compliance to users of the company's financial reports.
See ASIC Regulatory Guide 43 for more information.
If a company lodges a late Form 382 or Form 384, does it qualify for relief?
No. The company has not met the conditions of the relevant class orders and is not entitled to relief. If a company is required to lodge a Form 382 or Form 384 it must do so during the period commencing 3 months before the commencement of the relevant financial year and ending 4 months after the end of the relevant financial year. ASIC has a power to approve the late lodgement of Forms 394 and 396 under Class Orders [CO 98/98](c) and [CO 98/1417](fa).
When should a proprietary company that does not meet the requirements for audit relief under ASIC [Class Order 98/1417] apply for individual relief?
See ASIC RG 115 for more information.
My company changed type during the financial year. Does the company need to prepare and lodge a financial statement?
Yes. The reporting obligation under Chapter 2M of the Corporations Act 2001 crystallises at balance date and it is the status of the company at balance date that is relevant.
To find out what types of companies are required to prepare and lodge financial report, see our Financial Reports page.
ASIC has given class order relief in relation to entities that cease to be disclosing entities after balance date. See ASIC Regulatory Guide 68 for more information.
How do I apply for an extension of time to prepare, lodge and/or distribute a financial report?
ASIC can only give an entity reporting under Chapter 2M an extension of time to prepare, lodge and/or distribute its financial report using the relief power under s340 of the Corporations Act 2001 (the Act). Subsection 340(3) requires applications to be authorised by a resolution of the directors, be in writing and be signed by a director. Applications must outline the reasons for seeking the extension of time and state why the directors believe that one of the pre-conditions for relief set out in s342(1) of the Act is satisfied (see also ASIC Regulatory Guide 43).
Some other points to note are:
- ASIC is not empowered to give an extension of time after the deadline for lodging the financial report (as previously extended, where applicable) has passed.
- ASIC expects that entities will plan their financial reporting and audit processes to meet the reporting deadlines under the Act and that applications will normally relate to events that could not be reasonably foreseen.
- It is unlikely that the absence of directors from Australia will be a basis for an extension of time. Suitable alternative arrangements should be made to enable the financial report to be signed by a director. In any event, any application would need to be signed by a director.
- It is highly unlikely that ASIC would grant relief to enable an entity to wait for the outcome of future transactions or agreements (eg negotiations to extend loans or seek new lines of funding) before lodging its financial report.
- Where necessary, a separate application for extension of time to hold an Annual General Meeting must also be sought in accordance with s250P(2) (see also ASIC Regulatory Guide 44).
For more information, see our Applying for relief from the corporate finance provisions page.
Will ASIC give relief from compliance with IFRS requirements?
No. We will be unlikely to provide relief from compliance with the requirements of IFRS. The decision by the FRC for Australia to adopt IFRS is part of a strategy to ensure consistency and comparability of Australian financial reporting with financial reporting across the global financial markets.
Providing relief from the requirements of IFRS would not be consistent with the aims of this convergence process.