Deloitte goes virtual for Financial Reporting Plus conference (Sponsored)

Nov 30, 2020
The first virtual Deloitte Financial Reporting Plus conference will cover a variety of economic, financial reporting, tax, and operational issues in a highly focused 90-minute webinar on 2 December.

Attendees at the first virtual Deloitte Financial Reporting Plus (DFRP) conference will be treated to a clear and concise signposting of some of the key issues facing financial professionals in today’s volatile and uncertain world. From Brexit to climate risk and the new world of work, taking in tax updates and financial reporting along the way in the space of just 90 minutes, this year’s DFRP promises to be a lively and informative event.
“We’ve been running the conference for 20 years, and it has become something of an institution in Deloitte,” says Deloitte’s Head of Technical Accounting, John McCarroll. “It has evolved quite a bit in recent years. We have moved out of the purely financial and tax reporting space over the years. We now include economic updates and other more general topics that are of interest to accounting professionals. People’s expectations of conferences like this have changed, and we changed along with that.”

The conference grew in popularity over the years, and it had moved to the Convention Centre Dublin with accompanying events in Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Belfast to accommodate engagement with over 1,000 professionals.

That changed this year, of course. “It was clearly not an option to hold an event in the Convention Centre or elsewhere this year,” McCarroll explains. “We had to adapt to the current environment and host the event virtually. We had a lot of debate about how best to present quality content given the current lockdown restrictions. We decided that the best approach was to distil it down into one and a half hours of targeted content in a webinar format.”

The broad theme of this year’s event, which will take place on Wednesday 2 December, is the unprecedented wave of change and disruption hitting people this year. “That’s the reality of the world we now live in,” he says. “Our aim is to give people a perspective and insights on the key issues facing us at present.”

Unsurprisingly, given the timing of the event, the first item on the conference agenda is Brexit. “It was at the forefront of everyone’s mind until COVID-19 came along,” says McCarroll. “Now it’s back to the fore again as the transition deadline looms. It’s still a major issue. Amanda Tickel, our Global Brexit Lead, who will discuss the shape of any proposed future relationship, will present the session. It will be potentially chaotic for companies to manage the situation, and Amanda’s presentation will look at what people should be doing to prepare for the new situation in a short timeframe. Amanda will be joined by Raoul Ruparel, who is a former UK government advisor on Brexit. His political perspective should be very interesting.”

Deloitte Financial Reporting Advisory Director, Michelle Byrne, has the unenviable task of dealing with the impact of COVID-19 in just 15 minutes. “That’s going to be very interesting,” says McCarroll. “There are many accounting and reporting issues to deal with. Michelle will focus on the key areas, such as impairment and going concern. She will also look at other impacts in areas such as leases, government assistance and grant aid.”

Also under consideration will be the confluence of COVID-19 and IFRS 9. “IFRS 9 is pro-cyclical, and losses will be recognised on this occasion far faster than they were in the last crisis,” McCarroll notes.

Next on the agenda is climate risk. “Climate change hasn’t gone away,” he adds. “Just as companies are dealing with COVID-19 and Brexit, they are finding that the rubber is really starting to hit the road on climate risk. People have been setting out their aspirations to date. Now they have to say what they are going to do as well as set out the potential impacts on the business. Our Audit and Assurance Sustainability Director, Jack Lee, will look at climate risk from the financial reporting standards perspective in terms of the current considerations on numbers, and what the requirements are likely to be in the future.”

Financial reporting and company law have been core themes of the conference from the very beginning. “These may not seem as pressing or topical as other issues, but they are no less important. This is very much a technical signposting session and our National Director of Financial Reporting Services, Oliver Holt, will cover a huge amount of material in a short space of time,” says McCarroll.

Tax is another hardy annual. “A lot is happening in that space. Tom Maguire, our Tax Policy Partner, is a recognised thought leader in the area. He will look at some significant changes to our tax code, including domestic transfer pricing and other recent developments. These are complex changes, but attendees can look forward to a colourful and lively presentation that brings the subject to life.”

The final session of the day will see Deloitte Consulting Partner, Valarie Daunt, address the issue of working in a finance team. “Valarie has done a lot of work in this space and will focus on what the new world of work looks like. It has evolved rapidly over the last six months, and the future is here already. She will give her perspective on future trends and the likely impact of robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies.”

McCarroll is looking forward to the virtual DFRP. “The advantage of going virtual is that it will allow us to reach a much larger number of people very effectively. The conference usually runs for four hours, but we have distilled it down into a highly focused 90-minute format covering a wide variety of economic, financial reporting, tax, and operational issues. Attendees typically include everyone from audit committee chairs to trainee accountants from every industry type in Ireland, and this year’s event should appeal to those involved in the finance function at any level.”

(This article is sponsored by Deloitte.)