Directors responsibilities for financial reporting

This publication has been prepared to assist directors, to understand and fulfil their responsibilities in relation to financial reporting. It has been specifically prepared for members of ACCA and CA ANZ to provide to directors who do not have a financial background to assist them in understanding their responsibilities.


While directors have a wide range of responsibilities, this paper focuses on directors' responsibilities in relation to financial reporting. The appendices sets out common requirements across different sectors and jurisdictions and includes references and resources which outline some of these requirements.

There may well be more specific requirements to meet. Requirements for listed companies are generally more extensive and Stock Exchange listing requirements and corporate governance codes also provide more detailed requirements. We have not included full details of these requirements in this paper.

Although such requirements and codes are not mandatory for non-listed companies and other entities, they can provide useful best practice guidance.

The paper is structured around the following five questions:

  1. Who is responsible for financial reporting?
  2. Why are directors responsible for financial reporting?
  3. What are directors responsible for in relation to financial reporting?
  4. How do directors discharge their financial reporting responsibilities?
  5. When do directors discharge their financial reporting responsibilities?

Being a director is a big responsibility. Directors have primary responsibility for the provision of useful and meaningful information for investors and other users of the financial statements.

While directors are not expected to be accounting experts, they do need to be engaged and seek explanation to support the accounting treatments chosen and, where appropriate, challenge the accounting decisions applied in the financial report.

As a director it is also important that you seek advice where a treatment does not reflect your understanding of the substance of an arrangement. We explore how you can fulfil your responsibilities for financial reporting throughout this paper.