The challenge chief financial officers face globally

Only 55% confident in degree of compliance in corporate reporting; in S'pore, it's 82%: Poll

Chief financial officers (CFOs) around the world are losing confidence in corporate reporting due to pressure from audit committees, a reporting overload and the complexity of regulatory environment, according to a new survey.

It found that only 55 per cent of CFOs across the world are confident in the degree of compliance in corporate reporting, down from 84 per cent last year.

Yet 82 per cent of CFOs in Singapore expressed confidence in the degree of compliance.

The survey by advisory firm EY polled 1,000 CFOs from firms with annual revenues of more than US$500 million (S$690 million) across 25 countries, including 40 in Singapore.

Mr Chiang Joon-Arn, EY's Asia-Pacific financial accounting and advisory services leader, said: "(In Singapore), the regulatory, taxation and enforcement regimes, which have less punitive outcome and less overbearing oversight, create a relatively more comfortable environment for Singapore respondents to operate in."


ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE

Corporate reporting needs to be all things to all people - relevant, timely and cost effective.

CFOs need to step back and evaluate what they are producing and address concerns over confidence and effectiveness quickly... Corporate reporting will serve its intended purpose only if the CFO is confident of its value.

MR CHIANG JOON-ARN, EY's Asia-Pacific financial accounting and advisory services leader, on the purpose of corporate reporting

CFOs also see the volume and pace of big data as a key challenge of today's corporate reporting environment, the survey showed, with 100 per cent of those polled here citing this as a major issue.

Mr Chiang said: "National investments into infocomm technology as well as the fluency of our work force have created greater awareness among local CFOs on the use of big data.

"These translate into a more pressing desire and demand for Singapore CFOs to fully comprehend how best to leverage the benefits of data for both financial reporting and business operational needs."

In Singapore, 80 per cent of CFOs say demand for information is on the rise, and they find themselves having to issue reports more frequently, while recent reporting also demands more rigorous coverage of topics such as corporate social responsibility and management intelligence.

Mr Chiang said: "Corporate reporting needs to be all things to all people - relevant, timely and cost effective.

"CFOs need to step back and evaluate what they are producing and address concerns over confidence and effectiveness quickly... Corporate reporting will serve its intended purpose only if the CFO is confident of its value."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2016, with the headline 'The challenge chief financial officers face globally'. Print Edition | Subscribe