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An assessment of the comparability of financial reporting by South African long-term insurers

dc.contributor.advisorVon Wielligh, S. P. J.
dc.contributor.authorVan den Berg, Johannes Petrus
dc.contributor.otherStellenbosch University. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. School of Accounting.en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned2012-08-27T11:33:07Z
dc.date.available2012-08-27T11:33:07Z
dc.date.issued2004-12
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49834
dc.descriptionAssignment (MAcc )--Stellenbosch University, 2004.en_ZA
dc.description.abstractENGLISH ABSTRACT: Existing long-term insurance financial reporting practices are heavily based on regulatory foundations. Although the reporting requirements of the long-term insurance industry are unique, there is currently no comprehensive, up to date Financial Reporting Standard in South Africa for long-term insurers. The demand for increased disclosure in the financial statements of long-term insurers increases the importance of the basic accounting principles for these companies as embodied in the Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements, namely comparability, relevance, accuracy and understandability of financial reporting. The SAICA Long-Term Insurance Interest Group discussed the withdrawal of AC121 Disclosure in the Financial Statements of Long-Term Insurers and the replacement thereof by way of other guidance. Ultimately the Accounting Practices Committee has firmly stated that it will not tolerate the ongoing implementation of AC121 because it contradicted a number of other accounting statements and indeed overrode those statements. With this in mind and taking into account the program of harmonising South African accounting standards with International Accounting Standards, it insisted that AC121 be withdrawn and replaced by guidance notes only. The current lack of authoritative South African guidance on financial reporting by long-term insurers results in the potential compromise of the basic qualitative characteristics of comparability and relevance in their financial statements, as certain disclosures are voluntary rather than required. The aim of the research was to assess the impact of the lack of authoritative South African financial reporting guidance relating to South African long-term insurers on the basic financial statement characteristic of comparability. A literature study was undertaken and a checklist for disclosure in the long-term insurance industry was drawn up. The objective was to highlight areas of noncomparable disclosure for which financial reporting standards should be created in order to provide guidance on financial reporting by South African long-term insurers and, where possible, to suggest guidance. Financial statements of selected South African long-term insurers were reviewed and "measured" against the checklist in order to make an assessment of comparability. Currently the disclosure of industry-specific items differs significantly amongst long-term insurance companies in South Africa. The comparability test (on information disclosed in the 2002 annual reports of the selected companies) and the research done on industry-specific items identified by this test indicated the extent of this non-comparability within the South African long-term insurance industry. In view of the recent withdrawal of AC121 and the results of the comparability test, there is reason to believe that each long-term insurer in South Africa discloses what it believes is right and what it believes the industry is required to disclose. This results in significant non-comparability between the financial statements of South African long-term insurers. The author recommends that a long-term insurance industry accounting statement in the AC500 series should be issuéd, which should provide the appropriate guidance not only to preparers of financial statements, but also to other users of financial statements in the long-term insurance industry, until such time as the international accounting project relating to long-term insurers is complete. Some work will be required to update and/or amend a "new AC121" for the AC500 series.en_ZA
dc.description.abstractAFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die huidige praktyk vir finansiële verslagdoening van langtermynversekeraars berus grotendeels op 'n regulatoriese grondslag. Hoewel die vereistes vir verslagdoening van die langtermynversekeringsbedryf eiesoortig is, bestaan daar tans in Suid-Afrika geen omvattende hedendaagse Finansiële Verslagdoeningstandaard vir langtermynversekeraars nie. Die vraag na groter openbaarmaking in die finansiële state van langtermynversekeraars verhoog die belangrikheid van basiese rekeningkundige beginsels vir hierdie maatskappye soos vervat in die Raamwerk vir die Voorbereiding en Aanbieding van Finansiële State, naamlik vergelykbaarheid, relevansie, akkuraatheid en verstaanbaarheid van finansiële verslagdoening. SAIGR se Langtermynversekering Belangegroep het die onttrekking van RE121 Openbaarmaking in die Finansiële State van Langtermynversekeraars en die vervanging daarvan deur middel van ander riglyne bespreek. Uiteindelik het die Komitee vir Rekeningkundige Praktyk nadruklik bepaal dat dit nie die voortgesette implementering van RE121 verder kan onderskryf nie, omdat dit teenstrydig is met 'n aantal ander rekeningkundige standpunte en in werklikheid daardie standpunte ter syde stel. Met dien verstande en met inagneming van die harmoniseringsprogram om Suid-Afrikaanse rekeningkundige standaarde in harmonie met Internasionale Rekeningkundige Standaarde te bring, is daarop aangedring dat RE121 onttrek en slegs deur rigtinggewende riglyne vervang word. Die heersende gebrek aan gesaghebbende Suid-Afrikaanse riglyne oor finansiële verslagdoening deur langtermynversekeraars lei tot die potensiële kompromie van die basiese kwalitatiewe eienskappe van vergelykbaarheid en relevansie in hul finansiële state, aangesien sekere openbaarmaking vrywillig eerder as verplig is. Die doel van die navorsing was In bepaling van die impak wat die gebrek aan gesaghebbende riglyne vir Suid-Afrikaanse finansiële verslagdoening met betrekking tot Suid-Afrikaanse langtermynversekeraars op die basiese kenmerk van vergelykbaarheid van die finansiële state het. In Literatuurstudie is onderneem en In toetsstaat vir openbaarmaking in die langtermynversekeringsbedryf is opgestel. Die doelwit was om die soeklig te laat val op terreine waar openbaarmaking nie vergelykbaar is nie, waarvoor standaarde vir finansiële verslagdoening geskep moet word ten einde riglyne te verskaf oor finansiële verslagdoening deur Suid-Afrikaanse langtermynversekeraars en om waar moontlik, voorstelle hiervoor aan die hand te doen. In Oorsig van finansiële state van geselekteerde Suid-Afrikaanse langtermynversekeraars is onderneem en aan die toetsstaat "gemeet" ten einde die vergelykbaarheid te beoordeel. Teenswoordig verskil die openbaarmaking van bedryfspesifieke items aansienlik tussen langtermynversekeringsmaatskappye in Suid-Afrika. Die vergelykbaarheidstoets (volgens inligting wat in die 2002-jaarverslae van die geselekteerde maatskappye verstrek word) en die navorsing wat gedoen is oor bedryfspesifieke items wat deur hierdie toets geïdentifiseer is, toon die omvang van hierdie nievergelykbaarheid binne die Suid-Afrikaanse langtermynversekeringsbedryf. In die lig van die onlangse onttrekking van RE121 en die resultate van die vergelykbaarheidstoets, is daar rede om te glo dat elke langtermynversekeraar in Suid-Afrika opbenbaar wat volgens sy oortuigings reg is en wat hy glo van die bedryf verlang word om te openbaar. Dit lei tot beduidende nie vergelykbaarheid tussen die finansiële state van Suid-Afrikaanse langtermynversekeraars. Die skrywer beveel aan dat 'n rekeningkundige standpunt vir die langtermynversekeringsbedryf in die RE500-reeks uitgereik word, wat die toepaslike riglyne behoort te voorsien nie net aan diegene wat finansiële state voorberei nie, maar ook aan ander gebruikers van finansiële state in die langtermynversekeringsbedryf, tot tyd en wyl die internasionale rekeningkunde projek met betrekking tot langtermynversekeraars afgehandel is. 'n Sekere mate van werk sal nodig wees ten einde 'n "nuwe RE121" vir die RE500 reeks by te werk of dit te wysig.af_ZA
dc.format.extent118 p.
dc.language.isoen_ZAen_ZA
dc.publisherStellenbosch : Stellenbosch Universityen_ZA
dc.subjectFinancial statementsen_ZA
dc.subjectInsurance -- South Africa -- Accountingen_ZA
dc.subjectInsurance companies -- South Africaen_ZA
dc.titleAn assessment of the comparability of financial reporting by South African long-term insurersen_ZA
dc.typeThesisen_ZA
dc.rights.holderStellenbosch Universityen_ZA


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