A restatement is the revision of already issued financial statements pertaining to one or more companies to correct errors with material inaccuracy happened as a result of non adhering and complying with the General Accepted Accounting Policies (GAAP), accounting mistakes, fraud or clerical errors and affecting part of the total financial statement which may require a completely new audit which may impact the future financial statements as well.
The issuance of restated financial statementsFinancial StatementsFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company's management to present the company's financial affairs over a given period (quarter, six monthly or yearly). These statements, which include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flows, and Shareholders Equity Statement, must be prepared in accordance with prescribed and standardized accounting standards to ensure uniformity in reporting at all levels. is necessary so that the stakeholders get the correct picture of the company and make their decision making accordingly. It is also essential to report the errors and consider them in the statement if they are material.
Examples of Restatement
Molson Coors Brewing Company intimated its stakeholders in February 2019 that it would be issuing restatement of the financial year 2016 and 2017. The auditors discovered material discrepancies in respect of deferred tax liabilities for income tax. The company understated income tax expenseIncome Tax ExpenseIncome tax is levied on the income earned by an entity in a financial year as per the norms prescribed in the income tax laws. It results in the outflow of cash as the liability of income tax is paid out through bank transfers to the income tax department. and deferred tax liability.
It resulted in falsely increasing the net profit by $400 million for the year 2016. Later the company accepted that it had understated the tax amount yet to be paid in its balance sheetBalance SheetA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders' equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner's capital equals the total assets of the company. by $248 million. The equity valuation of the company got overstated by an equal amount. The company share price fell by nearly 6.4% upon its disclosure.
Types of Restatement
Based on errors level, we can classify the restatement statement into the following categories:
Step #1 – Non-Reliance Restatement
It is issued when there are mass errors found in the earlier period statements and thus making it tough to rely on the previous as well as current financial statements. An 8K item 4.02 has to be filed, and the opinion by auditors must refer to it. It is also called a re-issuance statement.
Step #2 – Revision Restatement
It is issued when there is a material error in the past financial statement, but the degree of error is not undermining the credibility of financial statements of another period. Only the past financial statement is required to be restated. Unlike non-reliance restatement, item 4.02 is not necessary.
Step #3 – Out of Period Adjustments
If the degree of error is not that much to affect the reliability of any period’s financial statement, then it doesn’t require any restatement. Its effect can be taken collectively by incorporating the same in the current financial statement along with a disclosure note for it as it will affect the comparability.
As per the GAAP the following three types of errors if found material has to be corrected and a restatement to be issued:
- Accounting ErrorAccounting ErrorAccounting errors refer to the typical mistakes made unintentionally while recording and posting accounting entries. These mistakes should not be considered fraudulent behaviour first-hand as this can happen with anyone and by anyone.
- Non-Complying with GAAPGAAPGenerally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are the minimum standards and uniform guidelines for the accounting and reporting. These standards prohibit firms from engaging in unethical business activities and enable for a more accurate comparison of financial reports to investors.
- Fraud or Misrepresentation
If any of the above errors are found then, it has to pass the materiality test. Materiality is judged by analysing whether the error found will significantly impact the stakeholders in their decision making or not. Not all errors need to be restarted by issuing restatements to its users. Apart from the factor of significant errors, there can be other causes as well, which may require restatement. These are:
- Changes in GAAP: If any change in respect of accounting methodsAccounting MethodsAccounting methods define the set of rules and procedure that an organization must adhere to while recording the business revenue and expenditure. Cash accounting and accrual accounting are the two significant accounting methods. which may be required in the current financial statement and if applied retrospectively would impact the prior period statement as well, the comparison statement needs to be restarted.
- Changes of Reporting Entity: If the ownership type or structure of any company is changed in the current period and it has a significant impact in reporting or disclosure pertaining to the financial statement, the comparative statement of the prior periods needs to be restarted.
The impact of restatement may vary depending on the level and degree of errors. It is observed in the past that the market responds more harshly to the re-issuance statement as compared to the revision statement. Its cause also decides the market sentiments. If it is issued because of integrity or operational issues, the stakeholder’s trust is hit harder. Apart from all these restatements generally result in higher audit fees as the auditor has to spend extended hours to analyse the impact and nature of restatement to ensure that the audit quality is high.
The restatement may undermine the company valuations or exhaust the accounting or legal resources and may dilute the company’s image in front of its stakeholders. We must take preventions to avoid any nightmare because of issuing restatement:
- Engage qualified and smart accounting professionals.
- Implement strong and effective internal controlsInternal ControlsInternal control in accounting refers to the process by which a company implements various rules, policies, or procedures to ensure the accuracy of accounting and finance information, safeguard the various assets of the business, promote accountability in the business, and prevent the occurrence of frauds in the company. within the organization;
- Exhibit a culture of conservatism and integrity.
- Impact the goodwill of the companyGoodwill Of The CompanyIn accounting, goodwill is an intangible asset that is generated when one company purchases another company for a price that is greater than the sum of the company's net identifiable assets at the time of acquisition. It is determined by subtracting the fair value of the company's net identifiable assets from the total purchase price.;
- Undermine the valuation of the company;
- Decrease the credibility of the company;
- Limit the funding to the company;
- Hamper the operation of the company;
This article has been a guide to What is a Restatement & its Meaning. Here we discuss types of restatement along with examples, types, rules, and impact. You can learn more about from the following articles –