View from City Road: The ASB aims to try harder

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The Independent Online
The Accounting Standards Board's bid to clean up companies' accounting has not met with whole-hearted approval - ask takeover specialists about banning pre-acquisition provisions, or property companies about taking profits on disposals from the investment portfolio to the profit and loss account.

But the critics can take comfort from the fact that the ASB yesterday admitted it may not be right all the time. It is reviewing the standard on cash-flow statements, the first it issued, and is prepared to make changes if comments from companies and users justify it.

Changes are likely. While the standard is a great improvement on the old funds-flow statement, it still requires effort and expert knowledge to unravel the key figures. Amending the presentation and other aspects - notably the meaningless analysis of the movement on short-term investments, or the arbitrary distinction between cash and cash equivalents - can only improve that.