The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today said listed companies could have an extra two months to publish their financial results.
In a joint statement with audit regulator the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), the FCA said: “Companies and their auditors currently face unprecedented challenges in preparing and auditing financial information.”
Other changes announced include the introduction of modified audit opinions where auditors have been unable to gather the necessary audit evidence to complete the audit in full.
More financial statements that include disclosures that management is aware of material uncertainties related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt upon the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.
Changes to timetables for publication of financial information that had been set before the full implications of coronavirus were clear.
The three regulators said they “strongly encourage lenders and other parties” to take a bigger picture view when responding to potential breaches of covenants arising directly from the coronavirus pandemic.
“The common goal that the financial system should be a source of strength for the real economy during this challenging period,” the statement said.
The regulators also urged investors not to make negative inferences where companies chose to delay their results.
“We urge market participants not to draw undue adverse inferences when companies make use of the extra time our temporary relief gives them, for a great many companies it will be a sensible decision to make in unprecedented times,” they said.
Other measures included the delaying of filing of accounts with Companies House, the postponement of audit tenders and the postponement of audit partner rotation.