BFA209 Unit Outline Corporate Reporting and Disclosure

BFA209  Unit Outline Corporate Reporting and Disclosure

School of Accounting and Corporate Governance

Faculty of Business

BFA209

Corporate Reporting and Disclosure

Semester 2 2010

Unit Outline

Debbie Wills

CRICOS Provider Code:

00586B

Unit coordinators

Unit coordinator:

Campus: e-mail:

Phone:

Fax:

Room number

Consultation hours:

Debbie Wills

Hobart

[email protected]

(+61 3) 6226 7591

(+61 3) 6226 7845

416

By appointment in Hobart or via email with 48 hour turn around during business hours (Mon -

Fri, 9.00am - 5.00pm).

© The University of Tasmania 2010

Contents

Unit description

Learning outcomes

Generic graduate attributes

Learning Outcomes/Generic Graduate Attributes Matrix

Prior knowledge &/or skills

Learning resources required

Details of teaching arrangements

Learning expectations and strategies

Assessment details

Specific attendance/performance requirements

How your final result is determined

Submission of assignments and the examination

Requests for extensions

Assessment Submission and Penalties

Academic referencing

Plagiarism

Further information and assistance

Unit schedule

The major projects

3

3

3

4

4

4

7

11

11

12

13

7

8

11

11

13

14

16

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Unit description

In this unit we look at the major ways in which Australian companies report and disclose information to external stakeholders. We identify the sources of mandatory disclosure requirements and overview the various reporting obligations that are imposed on companies by the Corporations Act and the Australian Stock Exchange

Listing Rules. We also consider the incentives that firms have to make voluntary disclosures of information and look at the nature of the information that is disclosed voluntarily. We consider how firms might manage their disclosure decisions to create certain impressions through the information voluntarily included in annual reports.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, you should be able to:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

differentiate between mandatory reporting requirements for Australian companies and the voluntary reporting decisions these companies make; identify the various sources of mandatory reporting requirements, locate examples of these in the reporting documents produced by companies, and apply these requirements to Australian companies; appraise characteristics of narrative passages included in annual reports; appraise levels of bias that might be associated with graphs in annual reports; understand how imagery might be used strategically in annual reports; and demonstrate written and graphical communication skills through the cogent discussion of ideas in a group context and the presentation of project work.

Generic graduate attributes

The University has defined a set of generic graduate attributes (GGAs) that can be expected of all graduates (see: http://www.learningsupport.utas.edu.au/generic_attributes.html

.

). By undertaking this unit you should make progress in attaining the following attributes:

Knowledge

:

you should acquire and apply technical knowledge about corporate reporting in Australia.

Communication skills:

your development of communication skills is multi-faceted in this unit. Through the completion of the major projects and the capstone assignment, you should demonstrate competent written and graphical communication skills. In the assessable discussion, you will develop the ability to present lucid arguments in an electronic discussion board situation as well as demonstrating “listening” and evaluation skills as you respond to the comments of others.

Social responsibility

:

you will acquire the ability to identify how annual report material can be manipulated to create particular impressions and be able to assess the degree with which such material is distorted and comment on the acceptability of this.

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Alterations to the unit as a result of student feedback

Alterations to unit as a result of student feedback Where appropriate, alterations have been made to this unit as a result of student feedback.

Learning Outcomes/Generic Graduate Attributes Matrix

Assessment items

1

2

3

4

5

6

Knowledge

Communication

Social responsibility

MyLO

Discussion

Project One

Project Two

Capstone

Prior knowledge &/or skills

In order to enrol in this unit, you need to have satisfactorily completed BFA103

Accounting and Financial Decision Making,

or its equivalent.

Learning resources required

There is no prescribed text for this unit. Materials will be provided to you in the form of an interactive CD, via printed media and through access to materials posted on

MyLO (the University‟s online service). These materials include narrated PowerPoint presentations, PowerPoint Slides in PDF format; some online activities; and notes to accompany each topic.

Some of the files made available through MyLO may be in Portable Document

Format (PDF). These files can be viewed from within your web browser or separately

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by using a program called Adobe Acrobat Reader. This software is already installed on the Faculty of Business laboratory machines, but can be downloaded free of charge from the Adobe site: http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep2.html

E- (electronic) resources

Learning online - for online learning and MyLO support

URL: http://www.utas.edu.au/coursesonline/

Information Technology Resources - for general IT support

URL: http://www.its.utas.edu.au/

Library services - for information on literacy support

URL: http://www.utas.edu.au/library/

MyLO

MyLO is an internet service that has been adopted by the University and will be used in this unit. MyLO may be accessed on computers in computing laboratories at the

University or on your computer at home or at work. Information about accessing and using this service, about required computer specifications, frequently asked questions, and about how to get help if you experience difficulties, is available at the following

University website: http://www.utas.edu.au/coursesonline

You are strongly advised to visit this site and become familiar with the features of

MyLO, especially if you have not used it before. You will probably be using it in other units that you are studying as well. Here are some important points about accessing our web site:

Access to MyLO

You can access your MyLO course from the Student Page on the University‟s web site:

Current Students

Quick Links MyLO

or go directly to the web address noted above:

Enter your email POP account “Username” (for example, dsmith) and your

“Password”. These are identical to the pop account/email username and password that you are given with your enrolment confirmation form.

When you enter your user name and password, click on OK and choose

“BFA209” from the list of units in which you are enrolled. o

MyLO will automatically check that your browser is properly configured.

If the MyLO „browser checker‟ window appears – scroll down to make sure you have a tick in each area shown – then close the window.

From the Unit‟s homepage click on the area you wish to access. A table of contents will appear on the left hand side of your screen. Scroll through the list until you find what you want and click the underlined topic.

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To access MyLO from your own computer you will need the appropriate software, and hardware to run that software. See

Learning Online

at http://uconnect.utas.edu.au

for computer software you will need.

Note

: Older computers may not have the hardware to run some of the required software applications. Contact your local IT support person or the Service Desk on

6226 1818 if you experience difficulties.

For further information on using MyLO self help sheets can be accessed at:

http://www.utas.edu.au/coursesonline

MyLO course tools used for this unit

Announcements– This is used to make announcements to you from time to time. You should look at these on a regular basis.

MyLO offers a “Discussion” facility, which we will use in connection with this unit.

Discussion is arranged under „Topics‟, which are as follows.

Assessable Discussion – Assessable discussions are a part of this unit. Topics have been created for each assessable discussion question.

General Discussion – There are topics for each module in which you can make postings in relation to particular aspects of a module‟s content for non-assessable discussion. For example, you may have comments to make to other group members or questions to ask of them in terms of generating discussion that will help them or may be of interest to them.

Major Projects (1 and 2) – There are two topics in which you can make postings in relation to the major projects. You may have queries that you wish to raise and can use these topics for that purpose.

Social Café – This topic is opened so that we can communicate with each other with a view to getting to know everyone in the unit. You should provide some information about yourself and what you are doing, what your interests are, etc. We are trying to create an interesting and active on-line community.

Feedback – This topic has been opened so that you can make comments, suggestions and criticisms, which are anonymous. There may be issues that need to be addressed and a „Feedback‟ Topic allows these matters to be identified so that we can respond appropriately.

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If you wish to communicate with the unit coordinator privately, you should use the

MyLO Mail facility to do this OR you can send emails to the unit coordinator at:

[email protected]

Details of teaching arrangements

Self-paced, student-focussed learning

There are NO face-to-face classes in this unit. The unit is planned to enable you to work at your own pace. Although no formal face-to-face meetings are scheduled, you should maintain regular contact with the unit coordinator through MyLO, e-mail, and telephone, and with other students through MyLO. You can expect a response to

MyLO and email queries within two working days.

Learning expectations and strategies

The learning approach in this unit reflects a student focussed philosophy, a key strategy of which is “learning by doing”. Compared with some of the face-to-face units that you may have studied, you can typically expect to spend a little less time pre-reading and problem-solving prior to working through the CD materials for each module but relatively more time subsequently consolidating that material with discussion and project work. As detailed further on in this unit outline, there are two assessable major projects in this unit and these are designed to engage you in “handson” work to facilitate your learning and understanding in this unit. These projects should be a key focus of your attention.

This unit is planned to enable you to work at your own pace. It is important, however, to work consistently through the materials and complete all the tasks. If there is any area of the work that you do not understand, please contact the unit coordinator immediately, and make sure that you do not progress to the next stage without a thorough understanding of the previous one. Each part of the unit develops themes from, and assumes an understanding of, the previous parts, so it is important that areas are not skipped. The topic schedule below has suggested dates for completion to assist your time management and there are dates at which the assessable discussions and the projects must be completed and submitted in order for you to earn marks that will count to your overall final assessment.

Encouraging you to study and learn independently is an important goal of university study. It is a feature of a

reflective approach

to learning in which you reflect on what it is you are learning and how you plan your learning strategy. It is not the aim of flexible delivery that students feel they must work through problems alone.

Throughout the unit, topics are provided for discussion with other students via the discussion facility of MyLO, and the exchange of information and ideas is a very important part of your learning development. You will gain most benefit by staying in close contact with other students and with your Unit Coordinator.

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Do not be reluctant to ask questions or contribute ideas, even if only partly formed, as these can often form a basis for very constructive interaction. Remember that the

MyLO discussions will be as interesting and useful as

you

make them.

If you need assistance in preparing for study please refer to the Learning Support website: http://www.utas.edu.au/learndev/

In general, you should do well in this unit if you:

 have a strong interest in corporate reporting, stewardship and

 governance issues; keep up-to-date with your coursework; consolidate your understanding by undertaking the on-line activities and give yourself plenty of time to complete your projects;

 prepare for and actively participate in the discussion group.

The University is committed to high standards of professional conduct in all activities, and holds its commitment and responsibilities to its students as being of paramount importance. Likewise, it holds expectations about the responsibilities students have as they pursue their studies within the special environment the University offers.

The University‟s Code of Conduct for Teaching and Learning states:

Students are expected to participate actively and positively in the teaching/learning environment. They must attend classes when and as required, strive to maintain steady progress within the subject or unit framework, comply with workload expectations, and submit required work on time.

Occupational health and safety (OH&S)

The University is committed to providing a safe and secure teaching and learning environment. In addition to specific requirements of this unit you should refer to the

University‟s policy at: http://www.admin.utas.edu.au/hr/ohs/pol_proc/ohs.pdf

Assessment details

There are three types of assessment in this unit:

Participation in the on-line discussion on MyLO

Two consolidating major projects

A capstone assignment.

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The assessment weightings and due dates are as follows:

Assessment task Date due Percent weighting

Assessment Task 1: Discussion on MyLO:

Section One

Section Two

Section Three

Assessment Task 2: Project 1

Midnight AEST:

Monday August 9

Monday September 13

Monday October 11

Midnight AEST

Monday August 30

6.66%

6.66%

6.66%

20%

Assessment Task 3: Project 2

Assessment Task 4: Capstone assignment

Midnight AEST

Monday October 4

20%

One week from receipt but no later than

9.00am AEST Monday

November 8 2010

40%

Participation in discussion (3 @ 6.66%):

For the modules in the first three sections in this unit, broad questions for discussion are posed. You are expected to engage in the discussion on each question. You may, and are expected to, move the discussion in any direction that is related to the issues raised. The unit coordinator will monitor the discussion regularly, but will not interfere, except to correct misconceptions, errors and so on. It is

your

discussion to explore in whatever directions and dimensions that you wish provided they are at least tangentially related to the module content. The discussion is relevant to achieving all of the learning outcomes in this unit and to developing your generic communication skills.

Your participation in discussion will be assessed on the following basis:

HD

Outstanding Contributor

: This person's contributions reflect exceptional preparation and reflection. The ideas offered are always substantive and provide major insights and direction for the discussion. This person challenges the group by posing additional questions that derive from the general discussion. An outstanding contributor will often play the role of “devil‟s advocate” in response to the suggestions of others.

They will be pro-active and interact with others in the discussion at various times, and keep the discussion vibrant, progressing and focussed.

CR – DN

Good Contributor

: Contributions in discussion reflect thorough preparation.

The good contributor offers ideas that are usually substantive, provide good insights and sometimes lead the direction of the discussion. Points and arguments are generally well thought out and are often persuasive. They will interact with others at various times

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throughout the discussion, aiming to build on and progress the discussion by adding new dimensions or challenging the ideas of others.

PP – CR

Adequate Contributor

: Contributions reflect satisfactory preparation. Ideas offered are sometimes substantive and provide useful insights, but seldom offer a major new direction for the discussion. Contributions tend to be more piecemeal than integrative. Arguments are sometimes presented and are fairly well substantiated and sometimes persuasive.

NN

Non-participant:

This person has offered very little or nothing to the discussion to date. Hence, there is an inadequate basis for evaluation. If this person were not a member of the group, the quality of the discussion would not be changed.

NN

Unsatisfactory Contributor:

Contributions reflect inadequate preparation. Ideas offered are seldom substantive; they provide few, if any, insights and rarely or never a constructive direction for the group. Integrative comments and effective arguments are absent. Class comments are either obvious, restate the contributions of others or restate material from the course notes, are isolated from the main discussion, or are confusing to the group. If this person were not a member of the group, valuable air time would be saved.

Your discussion is likely to be more constructive and effective if you participate when others are also discussing the topic. You cannot expect to stimulate or direct the discussion if you leave your contributions until late in the discussion. Therefore, you should monitor the discussion board regularly to see what discussion is taking place.

You should be mindful that there are set dates after which contributions to the discussion component are no longer assessable.

Key points for obtaining feedback and for ensuring that your discussion is assessed for marks that count towards your final grade are:

Discussion on:

Section One (Modules 1, 2 & 3)

Section Two (Modules 4, 5 & 6)

Section One (Modules 7, 8 & 9)

Indicative feedback provided at the end of Week:

Three

Eight

Eleven

Assessable discussion ends midnight AEST on:

Monday August 9

Monday September 13

Monday October 11

The major projects (2 @ 20%)

The major projects require you to look at specific aspects of corporate reporting and disclosure. The details for each project can be found at the end of this unit outline.

The capstone assignment

The capstone assignment draws together all elements of the unit. When you have worked completely through the unit materials, participated in the discussion,

completed

and submitted the major projects and are ready to do the capstone assignment, send an e-mail request to your unit coordinator requesting that the assignment be sent to you. Twenty-four hours is required and it will not be sent on

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weekends or public holidays. Once sent, the assignment is to be completed and submitted

within one week of receipt,

and is worth 40% of the marks in this unit.

Late submissions will not be accepted.

If you have not requested the capstone assignment by Monday November 1, the start of the second week of the examination period for Semester Two, it will be sent to you on that day. It must be returned by 9.00 am Australian Eastern Standard Time on the following Monday, November 8.

Specific attendance/performance requirements

You must achieve an overall mark of at least 50 per cent AND have participated in all of the assessable discussion AND have

completed

and submitted each item of assessment to pass the unit.

How your final result is determined

Your final grade is determined by aggregating your score on the assessable discussion activities, the two projects and the capstone assignment.

Submission of assignments and the examination

Your assignments and capstone assessment can be submitted using the MyLO mail facility or they can be emailed to the unit coordinator ( [email protected]

) before the submission deadline. Alternately they can be posted to the unit coordinator to arrive on or before the due date at the following address:

BFA209 Unit Coordinator

School of Accounting and Corporate Governance

University of Tasmania

Private Bag 86

Hobart , Tasmania Australia 7001

Receipt of your assignments in a readable form will be acknowledged by email or

MyLO mail.

Requests for extensions

Consistent with the Faculty‟s policy on late submission, extensions of time will only be granted on medical or compassionate grounds. They will not be granted because of work or other commitments. Requests for extension must be made to the unit coordinator in writing on the School‟s Application for Late Submission Form available at http://www.utas.edu.au/accg/studentres.htm

or on MyLO before the due date of the assignment. Medical certificates or other evidence, which supports the application, must be attached and must contain information which justifies the extension sought.

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Assessment Submission and Penalties

1.

(a)

(b)

(c)

2.

In this Policy

„day‟ or „days‟ excludes weekends and public holidays;

„late‟ means after the due date and time; and

„coursework‟ includes all internal non examination based forms of assessment

This Policy applies to all students enrolled in Units taught by the Faculty of

Business at whatever Campus or location.

3. Students are expected to submit coursework on or before the due date and time specified in the relevant Unit Outline. The onus is on the student to prove the date and time of submission.

4.

Students with special circumstances may apply for an extension. „Special circumstances‟ include medical or compassionate grounds but will not include work or other commitments. Requests for extensions should be

made in writing

to the Unit Coordinator on or before the due date. Students will need to provide

independent supporting documentation

to substantiate their claims.

Medical certificates or other evidence must be attached and must contain sufficient detail for the Unit Coordinator to make an informed decision. A statement or certificate from a doctor, counsellor, health professional or independent member of the community should state:

• the date the medical condition or other circumstance affected the student how the condition or circumstance affected the student‟s ability to complete the assessment task

5. Late submission of coursework will incur a penalty of 10% of the available marks for each day the coursework is late unless an extension had been granted on or before the relevant due date.

6.

7.

Coursework submitted more than five (5) days late will not be accepted.

Late work must be submitted to a staff member in the relevant School or

Faculty Office and the time of submission recorded.

8.

9.

Academic staff do NOT have the discretion to waive a late penalty.

If a student submits coursework that exceeds the prescribed length he or she will be invited to resubmit it within 48 hours. If the resubmission is late there will be an automatic penalty of 10% of the available marks plus an additional penalty of 10% for each day.

Requirements for Submitted work

Your submitted work is to be presented in accordance with the

Guide for Students -

Presentation and Submission of Assignments

issued by the Faculty of Business

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(available on MyLO). Your attention is particularly drawn to the University‟s rules on

plagiarism.

Whilst students are encouraged to work together and exchange information in this unit, submitted assignments must be the student‟s own work.

Assignments containing any plagiarised information will be subject to the disciplinary processes of the University.

Academic referencing

In your written work you will need to support your ideas by referring to scholarly literature, and other sources of information such as the accounting regulatory bodies.

It is important that you understand how to correctly refer to the work of others and maintain academic integrity. Failure to appropriately acknowledge the ideas of others constitutes academic dishonesty (plagiarism), a matter considered by the University of

Tasmania as a serious offence.

The appropriate referencing style for this unit is the Harvard referencing method.

Further information on presentation of assignments, including referencing styles is available at: http://utas.libguides.com/referencing

Please read the following statement on plagiarism. Should you require clarification please see your unit coordinator or lecturer.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a form of cheating. It is taking and using someone else's thoughts, writings or inventions and representing them as your own; for example, using an author's words without putting them in quotation marks and citing the source, using an author's ideas without proper acknowledgment and citation, copying another student's work.

If you have any doubts about how to refer to the work of others in your assignments, please consult your lecturer or tutor for relevant referencing guidelines, and the academic integrity resources on the web at: http://www.utas.edu.au/plagiarism/

The intentional copying of someone else‟s work as one‟s own is a serious offence punishable by penalties that may range from a fine or deduction/cancellation of marks and, in the most serious of cases, to exclusion from a unit, a course or the University.

Details of penalties that can be imposed are available in the Ordinance of Student

Discipline – Part 3 Academic Misconduct, see http://www.utas.edu.au/universitycouncil/legislation/

The University and any persons authorised by the University may submit your assessable works to a plagiarism checking service, to obtain a report on possible instances of plagiarism. Assessable works may also be included in a reference database. It is a condition of this arrangement that the original author’s permission is required before a work within the database can be viewed.

For further information on this statement and general referencing guidelines, see http://www.utas.edu.au/plagiarism/ or follow the link under „Policy, Procedures and

Feedback‟ on the

Current Students

homepage.

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Further information and assistance

If you are experiencing difficulties with your studies or assignments, have personal or life planning issues, disability or illness which may affect your course of study, you are advised to raise these with your lecturer in the first instance.

There is a range of University-wide support services available to you including

Teaching & Learning, Student Services, International Services. Please refer to the

Current Students

homepage at: http://www.utas.edu.au/students/

Should you require assistance in accessing the Library visit its website for more information at http://www.utas.edu.au/library/

If you have a problem

In the first instance you should discuss the matter with your unit coordinator, lecturer or tutor. However, if you do not feel comfortable approaching one of these people, or if you have a discussion and are not satisfied with the outcome, then you are encouraged to contact the major coordinator:

Accounting:

Name:

Room:

Ph: email: email:

David Kronenberg

428, Commerce Building (Hobart)

(03) 6226 2714 [email protected] [email protected]

Discussions with the major coordinator will be kept in the strictest confidence.

You are always welcome to raise issues with the Head of School, Sue Hrasky, who you can email for an appointment ( [email protected]

).

If you are on the Launceston or the Cradle Coast campus and the coordinator is not located on that campus, you may consult Trevor Wilmshurst (Launceston,

[email protected]

) or Steve Allen (Cradle Coast,

[email protected]

) with whom you can also have confidential discussions.

If you wish to pursue the matter further, a student advocate may be able to assist you.

Information about the advocates is available at: http://acserv.admin.utas.edu.au/Complaintsstudentadvocates.html

The University also has formal policies, and the following link gives you advice about the procedures that you can follow: http://acserv.admin.utas.edu.au/Complaints_Self-

Help_Checklist.html

Students with Disabilities –University & Faculty Equity Plans

Goal 1 of the University of Tasmania Equity Plan provides for: “An inclusive teaching and learning environment that values diversity, supports the pursuit of

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academic excellence and produces high quality education and employment results for all students and staff”. The University‟s Equity Plan can be accessed at: http://www.human-resources.utas.edu.au/strategic-hr-management/equity-anddiversity/equity-and-diversity-policy-and-planning-documents/building-an-inclusivecommunity

The Faculty of Business Equity Plan facilitates the University Plan at an operational level and has developed an „Action Plan‟. The Action Plan for Goal 1 lays down procedures to ensure that all students, including those with disabilities, have equal access to lecture and course materials. The School of Accounting & Corporate

Governance complies with these procedures.

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Week

Five

To

Week

Seven

Unit schedule

The following schedule pages sets out the modules and topics that make up this unit.

A suggested target time schedule is set out for those who wish to complete the course progressively throughout the semester.

Suggested schedule

Module Topics

Week One to

Three

1

2

3

Section One: Introduction

Introduction to Corporate Reporting and Disclosure in

Australia

The Nature and Use of Corporate Reports

Annual reports: definition and reporting circa 1950

Evolution of annual reports and the contemporary annual report

The role and purpose of annual reports

The usefulness of annual reports

Regulatory and Institutional Arrangements

Reporting requirements of the Corporations Act

Stock Exchange Listing Rules

The FRC, the AASB and accounting standards

Section Two: Mandatory Reporting Requirements

4

5

6

Mandatory Elements in Financial Reports

The balance sheet

The income statement and statement of changes in equity

The cash flow statement

Notes to the accounts and the Directors‟ Declaration

Other Mandatory Elements in Annual Reports

The directors‟ report

Additional disclosures required by ASX listing rules

AASB 124: Related party disclosures

Concise financial reports

Other Mandatory Reporting Requirements

Half yearly reports

Continuous disclosure requirements

General governance disclosures

Project One: due midnight AEST Thursday August 30

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Week

Nine

To

Week

Eleven

7

8

9

Section Three: Voluntary Aspects of Disclosure

The nature of voluntary disclosures

Types of voluntary disclosures

Incentives for voluntary disclosure

Social and environmental disclosures

The use of narrative in annual reports

Content choices in narratives

Linguistic styles and devices used

Readability of narratives

The use of imagery in annual reports

Creating the overall report “package”

Graphs – benefits and design principles

The use and misuse of graphs in corporate reports

Strategic use of imagery

Project Two: due midnight AEST Thursday October 4

Week

Thirteen

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Section Four: Concluding Overview

An Overview

Mandatory reporting requirements

Voluntary reporting decisions

Request capstone assignment

Submit capstone assignment within one week of receipt and no later than 9.00 am

AEST Monday November 8

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The major projects

Project One: Mandatory reporting requirements

In your folder of unit materials you will find the annual report for Leighton Holdings

Limited for 2009 and a copy of the G100‟s

Guide to Review of Operations and

Financial Condition

. We are going to use these documents to consolidate our understanding of parts of Sections One and Two of this unit. This assignment specifically addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 3 and 6 and develops the generic attributes of knowledge and communication skills.

Required:

Prepare a report in which you:

Describe what must be included in the annual reporting document of a publicly listed company in Australia in order to meet the requirements of ASIC and the

ASX. Explain, in broad terms, the role of the AASB‟s accounting standards in the reporting process (you do not need to discuss the content of any particular standard in detail). With reference to Leighton‟s 2009 Annual Report, indicate where, through page number references, Leighton has met each of the requirements that you identified above.

Evaluate the extent to which the information about activities and operations included in its annual directors‟ report and elsewhere in the annual report, if relevant, conforms with the G100‟s recommendations in its

Guide to Review of

Operations and Financial Condition

that relate to general requirements for the framework and presentation of the review (summarised in Table 1) and the essential features of the review (summarised in Table2).

Leighton‟s 2009 annual report is a concise financial report. Describe how a concise report differs for a full financial report, using illustrative material from

Leighton‟s 2009 report. Evaluate whether you feel that the concise annual report is likely to result in improved communication with less sophisticated shareholders.

Clearly justify the views that you present.

Length:

Your completed report should not exceed 2,000 words.

Assessment criteria:

The following criteria will be used in assessing this assignment:

Demonstrated understanding of the impact of the regulatory and institutional requirements influencing annual corporate reporting in Australia.

Comprehensiveness of the list of report items identified as meeting these requirements for Leighton Holdings in 2009.

(30 % of project assessment)

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Evidence of a good understanding of the general recommendations set out in the

G100‟s Guide. Demonstrated ability to align report items and characteristics with those recommendations, including the ability to identify deficiencies in style and content to make an informed judgement about conformity

(30 % of project assessment)

Evidence of understanding of the philosophy behind concise reporting and the regulatory requirements for such reports. Demonstrated ability to evaluate the impact of concise reporting as it is practiced in order to make an informed judgement about likely effectiveness

(30 % of project assessment)

Excellent presentation standards, with work submitted in a style and format appropriate to the task

(10 % of project assessment)

Due date:

midnight AEST Thursday August 30.

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Project Two: Voluntary disclosure decisions, narratives, and use of graphs

In your folder of unit materials you will find the annual reports for Leighton Holdings

Limited for 1969, 1985, 2008 and 2009. Electronic copies are also available on the unit CD. We are going to use these documents to consolidate our understanding of

Section Three of this unit. This assignment specifically addresses learning outcomes

1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 and develops the generic attributes of knowledge, communication skills and social responsibility.

Required:

Describe how the nature of voluntary content in the annual reports has changed over the reporting periods (focus on as many things as you can, including what is presented/discussed, where it is presented, how it is presented, how much is presented, whether pictures are used and so on). Speculate, with examples to support your reasoning, why you might have observed the specific changes that you did over the time periods examined.

On your unit CD in the Project Resources section you will find two text files. The first (Letter) contains the text from Leighton‟s 2009 Chairman‟s Report. The second (Note_One) contains Note One to the full financial report. It is the note that provides a summary

of significant accounting policies. You will also find a copy of “Flesh” on the CD. This is freeware that allows you to calculate readability scores. Calculate the readability score for the text from the report letter and for the extract from the notes. Explain how and why these scores might differ.

Based on the readability scores calculated, explain their implications for the users of the reports and discuss whether you feel any changes should be recommended in the narrative styles adopted. If so, explain, with justification, what actions the company might take.

Describe and evaluate, with respect to the use of good graphical guidelines, the way in which graphs have been used by Leighton in its 2008 annual report.

Compare Leighton‟s use of graphs and photographs in its 2008 report to that in its

2009 report, the first annual report prepared after the full impact of the Global

Financial Crisis was felt in Australia. Note any differences in the use of graphs and photographs in 2009 to that in the 2008 annual report for this company.

Explain whether the observed practices in the 2009 report were consistent with the usage you would have expected to see in this report.

Length:

Your completed report should not exceed 2,000 words.

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Assessment criteria:

The following criteria will be used in assessing this assignment:

Comprehensiveness of the comparative analysis of the reports over time, looking for evidence of a systematic and thorough analysis of all non-trivial changes in voluntary disclosure from one time period to another. Soundness of the reasoning used to speculate why the differences might be observed over time, together with appropriate use of examples to support your suggestions.

(35 % of project assessment)

Demonstrated ability to determine, understand and interpret readability scores and make appropriate recommendations.

(25% of project assessment)

Demonstrated understanding of principles of graphical construction and of how graphs can be misused in annual reports.

(30 % of project assessment)

Excellent presentation standards, with work submitted in a style and format appropriate to the task.

(10 % of project assessment)

Due date:

midnight AEST Monday October 4

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