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The financial reporting implications of COVID-19 on NGOs.

Posted on 16 November, 2020 at 10:46

By Epaphras Chinyakuza

The COVID-19 outbreak has developed rapidly in 2020, with a significant number of infections. It goes without saying that this pandemic is currently wreaking havoc on the world economy, and it follows that there are some reporting implications to this nightmare that we are all going through that we believe need to be taken into consideration.


Measures taken to contain the virus have affected economic activity, which in turn has implications for financial reporting. Measures to prevent transmission of the virus include limiting the movement of people, restricting flights and other travel, temporarily closing businesses and schools, and cancelling events which has affected the implementation of some projects. The COVID-19 pandemic crisis and its economic effects mean that funding partners and other stakeholders need high-quality financial information more than ever.


Preparers of financial statements in different organisations will need to take into consideration financial reporting standards that may be significantly impacted. Consideration of the following standards will be important for preparers in order to ensure that information is reliable and all material financial information relevant to an understanding of the financial position or performance of the organisation is appropriately disclosed.

IAS 19: Employee Benefits Considerations

It is anticipated that a lot of employees are going to lose their jobs as a result of the global economic situation that is anticipated to arise as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with some organisations losing their funding. Therefore, organisations will need to take into account termination benefits that that are likely to be given to employees in compensation and accounted for accordingly in the financial statements.

IAS 21: The effects of changes in Foreign Exchange Rates Considerations

In response to Covid-19, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has issued a pronouncement allowing all organisations to transact using free funds (i.e. utilize funds in their Nostro account) which had been prohibited in 2019. This may reopen a can of worms that preparers of financial statements thought they had passed in 2019. Depending on the period of the pronouncement there may be need to reopen the functional currency issue again and organisations from this point forth need to constantly be assessing their functional currency in order to ensure that they comply with IAS 21.

IAS 37: Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets Considerations

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic some organisations may consider restructuring, reduction in size or closure which may lead to provisions that are related to retrenchments and any possible employee related obligations.

IFRS 16: Leases Considerations

In response to Covid-19, the lessor and a lessee have renegotiated the terms of a lease as and some lessors have decided to give their lessees payment holidays and/or an increase to the lease term to cover the period that the specified asset is not being used during lockdown which may result in the new payment terms requiring the lessee to perform a reassessment. Depending on the new terms of the lease, the lessee determining the measurement may need to determine a revised discount rate based on current market conditions.

IAS 16: Property, plant and equipment Considerations

As a result of COVID-19 and the measures taken to control it, property, plant and equipment is under-utilized or not utilized for a period that projects are suspended. IAS 16 Property, plant and equipment requires that depreciation continues to be charged in the income statement while an asset is temporarily idle.


IAS 1: Presentation of financial statements Considerations

Management should consider the specific requirements in IAS 1 to disclose significant accounting policies, the most significant judgements made in applying those accounting policies.  All of these disclosures might be different as a result of the impact of the virus. The extent of disclosures regarding estimation uncertainty might need to be increased. Management should consider the specific requirements of IAS 1 to disclose information relevant to an understanding of the financial statements that is not otherwise disclosed.


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