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REFLECTION

Australia and the rest of the world are currently experiencing something that none of us have witnessed before: the social and economic repercussions that are occurring due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. This coronavirus has impacted not only the economy, but global industries, multinational corporations, small and medium-sized organisations, all the way through to freelancers and casual workers in the hospitality and entertainment industries. The effects have been significant not only for the public and private sector, but the everyday lives of all Australians.

Together, the Australian Accounting Standards Board and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board have pooled together their human resources and expertise, and have worked tirelessly to respond to the pandemic in regards to the accounting and auditing implications for financial reporting. We have acted quickly to provide guidance to all Australian entities that are experiencing hardship and a change in business circumstance due to these unforeseen times, and the feedback we have had not just domestically, but at the highest level internationally, has reinforced our position as proactive thought leaders that are truly committed to the standard-setting and guidance process.

In the report that follows, we detail exactly what our response has been to issuing guidance, FAQ documents, and the collation of both industry and government resources as we seek to provide as much support as possible to our stakeholders.

Figure 2.1. The Impact of Coronavirus on Financial Reporting and the Auditor's Considerations Image of the cover page of publication produced titled The Impact of Coronavirus on Financial Reporting and the Auditor's Considerations

1. The Impact of Coronavirus on Financial Reporting and the Auditor’s Considerations, is an FAQ setting-out a number of key questions and considerations that should be asked by preparers and auditors of financial statements

Figure 2.2. The Impact of COVID-19 on Going Concern and Related Assessments Image of the front page of publication produced titled The Impact of COVID-19 on Going Concern and Related Assessments

2. The AUASB website details resources available to auditors regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their assessment and reporting obligations

The importance of our joint documents and ongoing website resources cannot be understated. As Standard-setters, the guidance we provide auditors and accountants impacts the confidence of investors in understanding the true financial position of public and private entities both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, which has undoubtedly shifted those positions in a majority of industries.

As we face an economic future that, at the time of publication, looks to be uncertain, the AASB and AUASB will continue its commitment to providing a structure for assessing and reporting entity performances, with the aim of providing transparency and clarity in financial reports to the benefit of both retail and institutional investors, as well as foreign direct investors and trade partners.

While 2020 has presented us with an unprecedented challenge, we hold high hopes that in 2021 the economy and the people of Australia will be able to move forward in a positive and productive way.