Thursday, November 23, 2023

The Imperative of the Statement of Profit and Loss in Non-Revenue Generating Entities

In the intricate world of financial reporting, one document stands out—the Statement of Profit and Loss. However, the narrative takes an interesting turn when a special purpose vehicle (SPV) dedicated to a non-revenue generating project opts to withhold its Profit and Loss statement. This article delves into this unique scenario, explores the underlying purpose of the Statement of Profit and Loss, and dissects the arguments put forth by the company's management.

Background: SPV for a Rail Project

This is no ordinary company. It functions as an SPV with a precise mission—to construct a rail project. Notably, the revenue services, including train operations, fall under the jurisdiction of the Indian Railways. The construction of the rail project unfolds in multiple phases, introducing an additional layer of complexity to its financial reporting.

Historical Approach: Expenses and Capitalization

In retrospect, the company adhered to a routine of preparing a Statement of Profit and Loss, highlighting expenses like employee benefits, depreciation, and administrative costs. Intriguingly, all expenses directly linked to the project were capitalized—viewed as investments in the project's value. However, a pivotal shift occurred in the financial year 2021-2022 when the company chose to conceal its Profit and Loss statement. The rationale? The management asserted that, being a non-revenue generating entity, the concept of profit or loss is irrelevant unless expenses directly contribute to the project's construction.

Purpose of the Statement of Profit and Loss: Unveiling Financial Performance

Now, let's unravel the purpose of the Statement of Profit and Loss. This financial document plays a crucial role in showcasing a company's financial performance over a specific period. It offers a snapshot of the revenues earned and the expenses incurred, ultimately revealing whether the company made a profit or incurred a loss during that time frame.

Legal Framework: The Companies Act, 2013

Moving into the legal realm, the Companies Act, 2013, is unequivocal about the obligation to present financial statements at every annual general meeting. These statements encompass a balance sheet and a profit and loss account. However, if the company operates not for profit, an income and expenditure account is required instead of a profit and loss account.

Accounting Standard: Ind AS 1

Adding another layer to the regulatory landscape is the Accounting Standard known as Ind AS 1. It delineates guidelines for presenting financial statements, emphasizing a complete set. This set includes a balance sheet and a statement of profit and loss, a combination that must be presented at every annual general meeting.

Insights from the Experts: Advisory Committee's Guidance

The Expert Advisory Committee (EAC) steps into the picture, providing valuable insights:

  • Not all construction-related expenses qualify for capitalization.
  • Capitalization depends on the nature of expenses in relation to construction or acquisition activities, aligning with Ind AS 16.
  • A strong emphasis on the obligation for companies to present a complete set of financial statements, which includes the statement of profit and loss as per Ind AS 1.

EAC's Stance on Revenue Generation: A Key Clarification

Crucially, the Committee dismisses the notion that the company, being non-revenue generating, should be exempt from preparing the Statement of Profit and Loss. It underlines that the absence of revenue doesn't justify the non-preparation of this crucial financial statement.

Conclusion: The Imperative of the Statement of Profit and Loss

In summary, the company is legally bound to prepare a Statement of Profit and Loss. The management's argument, suggesting the company doesn't generate revenue, is deemed invalid. The Expert Advisory Committee asserts that no specific exemption exists for companies from preparing this statement. The message is clear: presenting a comprehensive financial picture, irrespective of profit or loss, is non-negotiable, and the Statement of Profit and Loss is a key tool in achieving this transparency.