IOSCO issues final statement on non-GAAP financial measures

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has finalised its guidance setting out IOSCO’s expectations for issuers with respect to the presentation of financial measures other than those prescribed by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), so called ‘non-GAAP financial measures’.

The IOSCO guidance is contained in the Statement on Non-GAAP Financial Measures, which sets out IOSCO’s expectations for the presentation of such measures by issuers, including that sufficient information should accompanying non-GAAP financial measures to aid in their understanding and that the measures should be presented transparently and with disclosure of how they are calculated.

The statement provides specific expectations in the following broad categories:

Defining the non-GAAP financial measure. This encompasses providing a clear explanation of the basis of calculation, clearly labelling measures such that they are distinguished from GAAP measures, explaining why the measures are useful, and explicitly stating the non-GAAP measure does not have a standardised meaning and may not be comparable between entities.

Unbiased purpose. This requires that non-GAAP financial measures should not be used to avoid presenting adverse information to the market.

Prominence of GAAP measures versus non-GAAP financial measuress. Non-GAAP measures and their most directly comparable GAAP measures should be presented with equal prominence, or the GAAP measure given greater prominence, and non-GAAP measures should not in any way confuse or obscure the presentation of GAAP measures.

Reconciliation to comparable GAAP measures. Reconciliations should be provided between non-GAAP financial measures and their most directly comparable GAAP measure presented in the financial statements, with adjustments explained and reconcilable to the financial statements or information about how they are calculated provided.

Presentation of non-GAAP financial measures consistently over time. Measures should generally remain consistent from period to period, include comparative information, with any changes in composition explained and also reflected in comparative information and discontinued use of a non-GAAP measure sufficiently motivated.

Recurring items. Items that are reasonably likely to affect past and future periods, such as restructuring costs and impairment losses, should not be described as non-recurring, infrequent or unusual.

Access to associated information. The information that issuers provide regarding non-GAAP financial measures should be readily and easily accessible to third parties.

The statement is intended to be used by entities applying International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs) and other accounting principles.