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Prepare financial statements for external purposes

PO 10 is linked to Paper F3, Financial Accounting, Paper F7, Financial Reporting, and Paper P2, Corporate Reporting

Financial statements are one of the mainstays of the accountant in business, prepared according to relevant regulations, accounting standards and other guidelines, depending on the type of organisation. However, with stakeholders increasingly including not only other finance professionals, experienced investors and business analysts but also the general public, it is crucial that statements can be understood by all users. Additionally, information used to prepare final documents must be verifiable as whole and accurate.

There’s more to compiling financial statements and accounts than simply arriving at the final figures. Other relevant activities might include: 

  • preparing supporting schedules and notes, and statements of affairs
  • checking that documents and files of transactions recorded in the books have been posted accurately
  • analysing historical data to show year-on-year or month-to-month changes in various financial positions
  • selecting key information and drafting relevant interpretations for cover statements for bank reports.

The next step is to answer the challenge questions.

Explain your role in the preparation of financial statements

  • Be specific about where your responsibilities sit in the overall business process – for example, where you obtain information and figures from, how you decide to use them and what happens after you have posted to the relevant ledger.
  • Also consider any periodic reports you compile for management, or to support the FD or partner’s monthly or quarterly presentation to management.

How have you ensured that the statements you have prepared meet all necessary requirements?

  • Reflect on how you verify that figures you use or present are whole and accurate; this could take the form of simple checklists, double-checking that previous transactions have been recorded properly or reconciling with bank accounts.

How have you used supporting (possibly non-financial) information to make these more easily understood by users?

  • Show how you have avoided (or explain) jargon, or used case studies to illustrate certain financial positions.
  • Graphs and charts may provide useful illustrations of revenue or expenditure trends to managers with a lighter grasp of the financials.

Last updated: 13 Jun 2013