IAS1: Presentation of financial Statements

15/04/2020 1 By indiafreenotes

IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements sets out the overall requirements for financial statements, including how they should be structured, the minimum requirements for their content and overriding concepts such as going concern, the accrual basis of accounting and the current/non-current distinction. The standard requires a complete set of financial statements to comprise a statement of financial position, a statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income, a statement of changes in equity and a statement of cash flows.

IAS 1 was reissued in September 2007 and applies to annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2009.

Objective of IAS 1

The objective of IAS 1 (2007) is to prescribe the basis for presentation of general purpose financial statements, to ensure comparability both with the entity’s financial statements of previous periods and with the financial statements of other entities. IAS 1 sets out the overall requirements for the presentation of financial statements, guidelines for their structure and minimum requirements for their content. [IAS 1.1] Standards for recognising, measuring, and disclosing specific transactions are addressed in other Standards and Interpretations. [IAS 1.3]


IAS 1 applies to all general purpose financial statements that are prepared and presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs). [IAS 1.2]

General purpose financial statements are those intended to serve users who are not in a position to require financial reports tailored to their particular information needs. [IAS 1.7]

Objective of financial statements

The objective of general purpose financial statements is to provide information about the financial position, financial performance, and cash flows of an entity that is useful to a wide range of users in making economic decisions. To meet that objective, financial statements provide information about an entity’s: [IAS 1.9]

Assets liabilities equity income and expenses, including gains and losses contributions by and distributions to owners (in their capacity as owners) cash flows.

That information, along with other information in the notes, assists users of financial statements in predicting the entity’s future cash flows and, in particular, their timing and certainty.

Components of financial statements

  • A complete set of financial statements includes: [IAS 1.10]
  • A statement of financial position (balance sheet) at the end of the period
  • A statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income for the period (presented as a single statement, or by presenting the profit or loss section in a separate statement of profit or loss, immediately followed by a statement presenting comprehensive income beginning with profit or loss)
  • A statement of changes in equity for the period
  • A statement of cash flows for the period
  • Notes, comprising a summary of significant accounting policies and other explanatory notes
  • Comparative information prescribed by the standard.

An entity may use titles for the statements other than those stated above.  All financial statements are required to be presented with equal prominence. [IAS 1.10]

When an entity applies an accounting policy retrospectively or makes a retrospective restatement of items in its financial statements, or when it reclassifies items in its financial statements, it must also present a statement of financial position (balance sheet) as at the beginning of the earliest comparative period.

Reports that are presented outside of the financial statements including financial reviews by management, environmental reports, and value added statements are outside the scope of IFRSs. [IAS 1.14]

Fair presentation and compliance with IFRSs

The financial statements must “present fairly” the financial position, financial performance and cash flows of an entity. Fair presentation requires the faithful representation of the effects of transactions, other events, and conditions in accordance with the definitions and recognition criteria for assets, liabilities, income and expenses set out in the Framework. The application of IFRSs, with additional disclosure when necessary, is presumed to result in financial statements that achieve a fair presentation. [IAS 1.15]

IAS 1 requires an entity whose financial statements comply with IFRSs to make an explicit and unreserved statement of such compliance in the notes. Financial statements cannot be described as complying with IFRSs unless they comply with all the requirements of IFRSs (which includes International Financial Reporting Standards, International Accounting Standards, IFRIC Interpretations and SIC Interpretations). [IAS 1.16]

Inappropriate accounting policies are not rectified either by disclosure of the accounting policies used or by notes or explanatory material. [IAS 1.18]

IAS 1 acknowledges that, in extremely rare circumstances, management may conclude that compliance with an IFRS requirement would be so misleading that it would conflict with the objective of financial statements set out in the Framework. In such a case, the entity is required to depart from the IFRS requirement, with detailed disclosure of the nature, reasons, and impact of the departure. [IAS 1.19-21]

Going concern

The Conceptual Framework notes that financial statements are normally prepared assuming the entity is a going concern and will continue in operation for the foreseeable future. [Conceptual Framework, paragraph 4.1]

IAS 1 requires management to make an assessment of an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.  If management has significant concerns about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the uncertainties must be disclosed. If management concludes that the entity is not a going concern, the financial statements should not be prepared on a going concern basis, in which case IAS 1 requires a series of disclosures. [IAS 1.25]

Accrual basis of accounting

IAS 1 requires that an entity prepare its financial statements, except for cash flow information, using the accrual basis of accounting. [IAS 1.27]

Consistency of presentation

The presentation and classification of items in the financial statements shall be retained from one period to the next unless a change is justified either by a change in circumstances or a requirement of a new IFRS. [IAS 1.45]

Materiality and aggregation

Information is material if omitting, misstating or obscuring it could reasonably be expected to influence decisions that the primary users of general purpose financial statements make on the basis of those financial statements, which provide financial information about a specific reporting entity. [IAS 1.7]*

Each material class of similar items must be presented separately in the financial statements. Dissimilar items may be aggregated only if they are individually immaterial. [IAS 1.29]

However, information should not be obscured by aggregating or by providing immaterial information, materiality considerations apply to the all parts of the financial statements, and even when a standard requires a specific disclosure, materiality considerations do apply. [IAS 1.30A-31]

* Clarified by Definition of Material (Amendments to IAS 1 and IAS 8), effective 1 January 2020.


Assets and liabilities, and income and expenses, may not be offset unless required or permitted by an IFRS. [IAS 1.32]

Comparative information

IAS 1 requires that comparative information to be disclosed in respect of the previous period for all amounts reported in the financial statements, both on the face of the financial statements and in the notes, unless another Standard requires otherwise. Comparative information is provided for narrative and descriptive where it is relevant to understanding the financial statements of the current period. [IAS 1.38]

An entity is required to present at least two of each of the following primary financial statements: [IAS 1.38A]

  • Statement of financial position
  • Statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income
  • Separate statements of profit or loss (where presented)
  • Statement of cash flows
  • Statement of changes in equity
  • Related notes for each of the above items.

* A third statement of financial position is required to be presented if the entity retrospectively applies an accounting policy, restates items, or reclassifies items, and those adjustments had a material effect on the information in the statement of financial position at the beginning of the comparative period. [IAS 1.40A]

Where comparative amounts are changed or reclassified, various disclosures are required. [IAS 1.41]