An analysis of the financial reporting compliance of South African public agricultural companies

Doctoral thesis OPEN
(2015)
  • Subject: Financial statements - South Africa | Corporations - South Africa - Accounting | Agricultural industries - South Africa

M.Com. (International Accounting) This minor dissertation assesses the extent to which South African public companies that are engaged in agricultural activities are complying with the recognition, measurement and disclosure requirements of IAS 41, Agriculture, as well as whether they are providing any additional voluntary disclosures about their biological assets. Sixteen large South African public companies with material holdings of biological assets in their statements of financial position were selected for analysis. The study used the last published annual financial statements for reporting periods beginning before 1 January 2013 in order to assess compliance with IAS 41 prior to the implementation of IFRS 13. The financial statements of these companies were analysed to identify the existence of both the compulsory disclosures listed in IAS 41, as well as the extent of any voluntary disclosures relating to their biological assets. The results of the analysis show that the majority of South African agricultural companies are using fair value to measure their biological assets at initial recognition as well as at the end of each reporting period. None of the companies, however, is using the quoted price in an active market as the fair value for these assets, implying that companies need to incur additional costs to obtain fair valuations which comply with the requirements of IAS 41. While companies also state that they are using fair value to value their agricultural produce, none of them is providing any further information on how the fair values for their agricultural produce ar e calculated. Most of these companies are complying with the compulsory disclosure requirements of IAS 41, and are also providing certain of the recommended disclosures listed in IAS 41. In total, companies with material holdings of plants as biological assets are complying more fully with the compulsory disclosure requirements of IAS 41 than those with livestock. These companies are also providing more detailed voluntary disclosures about their biological asset holdings than the companies with material holdings of livestock as biological assets. The study concludes that the measurement methods used by companies to value their biological assets and the nature and extent of both compulsory and voluntary disclosures of these assets are sector-specific. This is consistent with the findings of previous research. This study contributes to the existing literature by providing a baseline on the financial reporting of agricultural entities in South Africa prior to the implementation of IFRS 13.
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