Rockin’ it!

“Chair Hoogervorst of #IASB quotes #Dylan !!” announced an over-excited tweet earlier this year.

As the “quoting” consisted merely of observing that “the times, they are a-changin’ and we all need to adapt, the IASB included,” we can fairly conclude that even a single exclamation point would have been an excessive response, let alone two. In fact, given how Hoogervorst’s citation of the song was purely gratuitous – unlinked for instance to any attempt to draw on its status as the “archetypal protest song” – you might conclude eye-rolling would be a more appropriate reaction (he certainly didn’t put as much zest into it as into his peerless citation of George Clooney a few years ago). But then I did some digging, and to my surprise, I came across other lesser-known, but much more exclamation-worthy popular music citations in previous Hoogervorst speeches. See for yourself (!!)

Chair Hoogervorst quotes David Bowie The central part of the Better Communication theme will be to take a fresh look at the Primary Financial Statements, including providing more and better structure to the income statement and the cash flow statement. The result should be better-formatted primary statements that provide better information without investors having to dig into endless pages of notes disclosures. I foresee that for much of the clutter in the statements, we will soon be pronouncing ashes to ashes and funk to funky. This is reasonable, as we on the IASB all know that Major Tom is, to put it bluntly, a junkie…

Chair Hoogervorst quotes Jay-Z There is no question that the world of corporate reporting will remain imperfect for the foreseeable future, and while the IASB can bring about positive change in some areas, there is little or nothing it can do in many others. In fact, I calculate that there are almost a hundred aspects of reporting in which the IASB’s ability to effect change is limited. But in this as in all things we must look on the bright side. I expressed sympathy to an acquaintance the other day that is having girl problems, telling him I feel bad for you son. For my own part however, I told him, I got ninety nine problems, but a bitch, if you’ll pardon the term, ain’t one.

Chair Hoogervorst quotes Elton John All these developments in world of financial reporting create opportunities, but they also cause confusion and anxiety. With all this information being requested and provided, will we still be able to see the wood for the trees? Isn’t financial reporting in the classical sense becoming less and less relevant? Many of us would have liked to have known and worked with IFRS in a simpler technological time, but for my own part, I was just a kid. Ah well, wondrous past days of simplicity in financial reporting, your candle burned out long before your legend ever did.

Chair Hoogervorst quotes the Beatles Increasingly, preparers present their investors with alternative performance measures, which are not based on IFRS Standards. This information is easier to consume by users, but it almost always paints a rosier picture than reality and can be highly misleading. In my opinion, there is nothing you can know from such measures that isn’t known, nothing you can see that isn’t shown, nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be. Users, you don’t need alternative performance measures. It’s easy. All you need is love. All you need is love. All you need is love, love. Love is all you need. And, if I may add, IFRS compliance.

Chair Hoogervorst quotes Katy Perry There is now an increasing interest in integrated reporting with its focus on long term value creation and a greater emphasis on connectivity, for example on how external developments affect a company’s strategy.  This evolution provides a strong motivation for the IASB to move somewhat outside its traditional area of activity. Such movement may be not only productive, but pleasurable. As a point of comparison, a young lady of my acquaintance, describing her own adventures, told me: I kissed a girl and I liked it, the taste of her cherry chap stick. She kissed a girl, as I understand the matter, just to try it. Of course, all progress comes with some uncertainty, whether regarding the reaction of stakeholders, or the hope that her boyfriend don’t mind it.

Chair Hoogervorst quotes Public Image Limited (!!!!) Some have suggested that our recent standards are over-complicated. Well, I understand it’s complicated. You think I know? Well I’m overrated. A simple thing, a simple nothing. I’m aggravated but not castrated. I thank you for your time and look forward to your questions.

Chair Hoogervorst quotes Beyonce We receive much positive feedback on our work, and while of course we always appreciate this, we may sometimes wish for more. Kind words on an exposure draft are welcome, and yet I often remark to stakeholders that if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it. Once again, if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh…

While the opinions expressed are solely those of the author; the most memorable passages above are in fact the work of others. Hey, happy holidays!

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