The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in collaboration with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), has announced a series of actions this Thursday to try and support listed companies during the coronavirus pandemic.
Namely, the FCA has said that it will allow a delay in the publication of audited annual financial reports from 4 to 6 months from the end of the financial year. This is meant to be a temporary measure, while the United Kingdom deals with the challenges and disruption caused by COVID-19.
“We will keep its application under review. When the disruption abates we will consider how best to end the policy in a fair, orderly and transparent way,” the regulator said in its statement today.
There has been the implementation of further measures within the UK to allow companies and auditors to focus on the delivery of information to investors. This includes Companies House delaying the filing of accounts by companies, the extension of reporting deadlines for public sector bodies and more.
“We strongly recommend that listed companies review all elements of their timetables for publication of financial information in order to make appropriate use of the time available within regulatory deadlines to ensure accurate and carefully prepared disclosures,” the British authority said.
“Such timetables will likely have been set before the full implications of Covid-19 and the public policy response to it were clear. Companies should take note of the time available to them and they should feel supported in using it.”
FCA urges companies to postpone preliminary statements
Today’s announcement comes just days after the UK watchdog requested that all listed companies suspend the publication of their preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks.
As FortuneZ reported, listed companies and the audit profession are having to deal with unprecedented practical challenges during the current global pandemic. Therefore, the agency believes that expecting companies to issue preliminary financial statements in advance of their full audited statements is adding unnecessary pressure on both parties.