Question 1 [35 marks]The regulatory environment and financial reportingYou are employed in a large accounting firm which specialises in preparing general purpose financial reports for large companies that are listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). As the training manager one of your key tasks is to prepare a regular newsletter for staff involved in the preparation of the above financial reports. The purpose of the newsletter is to keep staff updated on the latest financial reporting news alerting staff of changes and developments that may impact their work and provide enough information to staff to satisfy the following:For staff to understand the nature of the news / change / development and its potential impact (so staff can decide whether they need to investigate further given the nature of their own work);Provide directions to staff of where they can access further information on the news / change / development if they wish to (including website links where appropriate).Required:Prepare a 2 page newsletter that identifies and summarises changes / developments and news in the financial reporting environment for the period from 1 May 2017 to 4 August 2017.Detailed guidelines for completing this task:1. Identification of changes and developmentsThis will involve extensive research on a number of sources over the required period. You will need to identify and consider a range of developments/changes such as:Technical issues: for example the issue of new accounting standards amendments to accounting standards updates on AASB or IASB projects in progress outcomes of AASB or IASB meetings amendments to ASX listing rules.Regulation and monitoring of financial reporting: for example ASIC reviews on financial reporting.Political influences or other potential developments. ‘Political’ does not only mean action from politicians it would also include lobbying/actions by other groups to promote their own interests for example there may be articles about companies or particular interest groups such as Group of 100 saying that if certain accounting standards are introduced this will disadvantage or have a negative impact.You will need to consider both local (Australian) and international sources and developments.The restriction of a 2 page newsletter means that you need to use your own judgment as to whether to include information about specific news items and changes / developments and how much information to include. It is not intended that you provide complete details of changes / developments (although you may consider in particular cases that more detail is needed).Given the target audience it would be assumed that they have a working knowledge of common terms and abbreviations (such as AASB IASB) so abbreviations may be used.What not to consider?You need to take care that the news / changes / developments included in the newsletter are relevant to the objective in particular that they relate directly to the preparation of general purpose financial reports for large companies listed on the ASX. The newsletter should not consider areas only indirectly related to the preparation of financial reports such as (this is not an exhaustive list):FraudAuditingTaxationOther disclosures by listed companies such as: industry disclosures required by peak organisations and voluntary disclosures in the area of corporate social responsibility.2. Potential sourcesGiven the scope of the potential influences on financial reporting you will need to research a range of sources. Below is a list of sources that may be of interest. Note that this list is not exhaustive students should search for sources outside of these. Students should not rely on any one type of source but a range of sources from each category i.e. do not just look at websites also check journals newspapers etc. Examples of possible information sources include:(a) Websites such as those of:Australian Accounting Standards BoardFinancial Reporting CouncilAustralian Securities and Investment CommissionAustralian Securities ExchangeInternational Federation of AccountantsChartered Accountants Australia and New ZealandCPA AustraliaInternational Accounting Standards BoardWebsites of large accounting firms(b) Professional publications:In the Black (CPA)Acuity (CAANZ)(c) Newspapers/journals3. Format and presentationThe following are to be observed for your newsletter preparation.The top of the newsletter must include the title (you need to decide what to call your newsletter) and details of the period the newsletter is considering.The newsletter should not read as one continuous ‘essay’. It must include headings and sub-headings that assist in identifying the nature of news / changes / developments and help to guide the reader and also enable the reader to distinguish between items of interest and the relative importance of changes.You must refer the reader to specific sources (including website links where appropriate) so that they are able to obtain more detailed information of the news / change / development. If you include direct quotations in your newsletter you need to include in-text citations using the APA referencing format.The newsletter must be printed in minimum font set at 11 points (you may wish to use different formatting (such as larger fonts) for headings etc. Apart from minimum font size there are no specific requirements in relation to line spacing margins etc. However you should note that simply reducing line spacings or margins to ‘fit more in’ may impact on the presentation and effectiveness of the newsletter.There is no specific ‘word limit’. The newsletter must be no longer than 2 pages. In cases where the newsletter exceeds the 2 page limit only the first 2 pages will be marked.Do not attach actual articles/printouts of web sources etc to your assessment. You are only required to include details of these in the bibliography (see section 4 below).Don’t be afraid to be creative. The effectiveness of a newsletter is impacted by how interesting the readers find it.4. Bibliography and referencingThis assessment must include a bibliography using the APA referencing style rather than a reference list (this should not be part of your newsletter and is to be given on a separate page). A bibliography includes all materials used/read in the preparation of your assignment not just those referenced or cited within the paper. The reason a bibliography is required (rather than a reference list) is that this will provide an insight into the range of your research activities which is part of the criteria for assessment. It is expected that the bibliography will be quite long. The bibliography needs to include specific articles or readings that you have actually accessed – not just a general link to a website or newspaper etc. Therefore if you use a source such as the AASB website please reference every article that you have read separately. You should only include sources that are related to the area. For example if you look at a particular publication but most of the content relates to taxation or auditing issues it would not be appropriate to include these articles in your bibliography as these are not directly related to the area of interest.When citing electronic sources please also include the date accessed. If you are unsure how to cite and reference your readings check the APA referencing guide here: APA referencing guide.Please be reminded that plagiarism is regarded as a serious issue within the University system with severe consequences for students who have been found to have deliberately plagiarised the minimum penalty being zero for the assignment. All students should ensure that they are familiar with the plagiarism policy and referencing requirements before commencing assessment tasks.
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