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This assignment requires a consideration of accounting theory concepts with critical analysis with application to General Purpose Financial Reporting by corporations. Students are required to prepare a comprehensive report directed to an Australian ASX Top 100 listed corporation detailing a critical analysis of the effectiveness of the corporation to meet the obligations of the conceptual framework of accounting.

Positive Accounting Theory

The language of business finance and numerical figures is considered as accounting. The initiation of the accounting was mainly considered in Middle East however flourished in the Europe. The conceptualization of the subject has taken into consideration several numbers of factors which are seen to be based on issues of recording expenditures and trading goods. The discussions of the study will focus on the evaluation of the Positive Theory and Normative Theory and will relate the same with Suncorp Group Limited. Some of the other discussions of the study will include present issues in company through annual Report and Issues in company through PESTEL. The study on the Conceptual Framework will include Characteristics, Enhancing, Comparability, timeliness (Sampaio & González, 2017).

Positive accounting theory can be defined as typically used theory in the collection of data and bookkeeping that takes the objective approach. The positive accounting theory uses the company’s physical transaction history that analyses and discerns the consequences of the expenses (Deegan, 2013). The positive accounting theory considers the actual real-world transactions and assesses how the companies are accounting those transactions (Mattessich et al., 2014). The theory pursues to understand the financial outcome of the accounting decisions.

The positive accounting theory in case of Sun Corp states that the political cost is related to the adoption of the accounting policies with the objective of increasing the accounting profits. Sun Corp often delays in applying the necessary changes in the accounting policies so that it can avoid the political cost.

The normative accounting is largely found in the company’s business or marketing plan that takes the subjective approach. On the basis of the theoretical principles, it aims to characterize what the financial outlook of a business must look like (Dyckman & Zeff, 2015). Consequently, by considering the normative accounting as the significant conclusion, the theory aims to use the independent morality in the bookkeeping practice. The Normative Accounting theory can be applied for Sun Corp Ltd as the framework of AASB to identify the informative requirements of the investors for undertaking economic decision. The theoretical framework of the Normative Accounting Theory serves as the input to equity valuation theory. The normative accounting theory helps the investors in valuing the equity of Sun Corp Ltd (Beattie, 2014). 

Suncorp Group Limited is viewed as leading total financial service provider of Australia some of the main services include finance, insurance, and banking (Suncorp Group, 2018). For over 50 years the company has backed the Australian industry, societies, government, business and households. The company delivers a wide variety of solutions which not only provides the extraordinary benefits for its customers but also for its societies and future generations.

Normative Accounting Theory

Suncorp Group Limitedis listed in the ASX top 100 companies and in the year 2018 the company increased its footprints to more than 5,500 highly skilled and trained staff, that supports the workforce of more than 4000 specialist’s financial service providers that work from the network of as high as 250 areas across Australia.

The specialized team at Suncorp brings together strong portfolio of banking & wealth and insurance solutions from across our many brands including Suncorp, AAMI, GIO, Apia and Shannons (Suncorp Group, 2018). The company provides its customers with the unmatched ability of collecting, processing, treating and various range of services related to Banking, Finance and Insurance.

Taking into the account the issues of Suncorp Group Limited from the annual report it is understood that the collection margins witnessed a declining pressure all through the year that was mainly because of the wide range of changes in the industry particularly in the area of Insurance and commodity market (Suncorp Group, 2018). The downward pressure is largely due to the changes in the Australian banks pertaining to accounting standard AASB 9 – Financial Instruments. The program led to a significant rise in the needed acceptable quality of Finance, Insurance and Banking service that in return resulted in direct increase in the cost of processing to attain the compliance with the grade of higher quality. The commodity pricing was considered as softer during the financial year of 2018 leading to recovery in the fourth quarter but not up to the level that was earlier experienced.

On analyzing the annual report of Suncorp Group Limited further issues was noticed in the collection margins as the company experienced a negative impact on the ramp up cost that was related to the major contracts in Brisbane City Council, Container and Deposit Scheme in New South Wales and Central Coast. The EBITDA margins of Suncorp Group Limited reduced slightly because of the mix volumes of current Finance, Insurance and Banking services.

Another key issue that is identified from the annual report of Suncorp Group Limited is the stricter Banking service norms issued by the Government for Australian banks pertaining to accounting standard AASB 9 – Financial Instruments. The stricter standards relating to mixed paper and mixed plastics products has created complexities for the company at the processing stage. As per the annual report it is also inferred that the likelihood that Labor will enact its policy platform to remove tax breaks for property investors will have a significant impact on the various types of the banking services offered by Suncorp. There are large number of systems for maintaining the automated process generating dates of due dates of loans offered to the customers.

About the Company

The annual report of Suncorp Group Limited highlights another issues as over the past few years the company has witnessed a seasonal trend that emerges from the injury during the Christmas and New Year period. The number of factors that are identified for this issue is that the company faces a sudden rise in the number of cars on road which is coupled with the busiest time of the year in Finance, Insurance and Banking service for the industry. For Suncorp Group Limited, this continues to be the area of key focus for the company to assure that investors and customers enjoys equal benefits.     

The PESTEL analysis is regarded as the strategic tool to assess the macro environment of Suncorp Group Limited Any changes in the macro environmental factors can result in direct effect on the company.

Political Factors: The political factors are vital in ascertaining the factors that can create an impact on the Suncorp Group Limited long-term profits (Chiapello, 2017). The Australian banks pertaining to accounting standard AASB 9 – Financial Instruments has created stricter norms for Finance, Insurance and Banking services. Apart from the Government’s regulations there are other factors prior to entering into or investing in certain markets;

  1. Taxation rates and incentives
  2. Industry safety regulations both in the commercial and professional sectors.
  3. Work regulations of commercial and professional services
  4. Trade regulations of commercial and professional services
  5. Political stability and importance of commercial sector in a nation’s economy.

Economic Factors: Economic factors for Suncorp Group Limited includes the inflation and growth in the economy, consumer spending and competitive advantage of the firm (Zalengera et al., 2014). This also includes;

  1. Exchange rate and stability of a host nation
  2. Intervention of the government in the free market
  3. Quality of infrastructure in the host nation.
  4. Rate of employment and inflation rate

Social Factors: There are certain social factors that the Suncorp Group Limited analyses are;

  1. Demographics and extent of skill in the population
  2. Hierarchy and class structure in the community
  3. Cultural gender roles and social conventions
  4. Health and environmental consciousness

Technological Factors: Technology is quickly disrupting numerous industries around the world (Bush, 2017). The technological factors that impacts the Suncorp Group are;

  1. Recent development in technology that effects the competitors of Suncorp Group Limited
  2. Impacts created on the cost structure in the commercial industry
  3. Effect of value chain in the commercial sector

Environmental Factors: Different markets has different norms that can affect the profitability of the company (Policy, 2016). The recent change in the Australian banks pertaining to accounting standard AASB 9 – Financial Instruments has not only impacted the cost structure but also negatively affected the collection margins of the company. Apart from this the other factors includes;

  1. Finance regulations in the host nation
  2. Banking service in commercial service sector
  3. Attitudes towards Insurance products
  4. Laws that controls Finance, Insurance and Banking service

Legal Factors: There are some legal factors that Suncorp Group leadership should take into account at the time of entering into the new market. This includes the following;

  1. Health and safety law
  2. Protection of data
  3. Law relating to employment
  4. Corporate Law relating to banking

The characteristics as per the conceptual framework of accounting is seen with its listing under the “Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)”. It needs to be further seen that the financial statements of the company are prepared as per the “section 205G(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)”. The principal activities of the company need to be evaluated as per the services ranging in the areas of Finance, Insurance and Banking service. The application of the characteristic framework also needs to be relevant with services offered in the handling of Transactional Accounts, Savings Accounts, Home Loans, General Insurance, Car Insurance, Home Insurance, CTP Car Insurance, Health Insurance, Travel Insurance and House & Home Loan service providers across Australia. As per the statement of compliance the financial statement of the company is seen to be prepared according to “Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB)” and “Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)”. The preparation of the consolidated financial statement is further seen to eb based on the various type of the judgements which are seen to include the assumptions and estimated based on the application of policies related to accounting (Ovaskainen et al., 2017). In addition to this, the characteristic evaluation has also found that Suncorp Group Limited uses historical estimates based on the various types of the experiences under reasonable factors. The underlying estimates are further seen to be depicted as per the assumptions which are considered for review on an ongoing basis (Baumgartner, 2014). Some of the areas of loopholes in the characteristic conceptual framework may take place during the comparison of the financial report with other accounting standards. It needs to be also seen that the various types so the other issues in the framework may generate differentiating accounting figures such as “liability adequacy test, provisions for impairment, contract liabilities, impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets” and valuation of different types of financial instruments (Cajaiba-Santana, 2014).

Issues in the Company

Some of the main areas for the enhancement in the conceptual framework of the company needs to be taken into account as per better estimates of the various types of the financial figures. It needs to be also seen that some of the other necessary steps which needs to be taken are based on enhancing the judgements of provision of “liability adequacy test, provisions for impairment, contract liabilities, impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets” and valuation of different types of financial instruments. Additionally, the increasing nature of the frequency of conducting the audit will be also able to significantly contribute to the reliability of the financial data. This will include conducting the audit on quarterly basis instead of annual basis.

The company has some of the other scope of improvement in terms of managing the risks which are seen to be inherent as per the operations. Suncorp Group Limited needs to ensure the compliance with the various types of the legal and regulatory procedures as per the policies formulated by the company. It also has the significant scope of improvement in the conceptual framework in terms of putting an augmented focus on design, implement and manage various types of ongoing risks associated to the company. Some of the additional measures taken by the company needs to be incorporated as per the execution of the framework by considering the Suncorp Group Limited policies for the respective Functions (Lewandowski, 2016).

In general comparability of Financial Information is associated to that quality, which exist at the time when the users of the financial users are able to depict the similarities and infer the differences. These are seen to be related to number of differences pertaining to effect of a particular transaction, events occurring at a time and assessment of single reporting entity. As present Suncorp Group Limited is considered to follow the prescribed accounting standard as per “Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB)” and “Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)”. This serves the purpose of increased comparability of the information as per the accounting standards followed in various parts of the world. The comparability of the financial information in this particular aspect relates to the various types of the consideration of comparing the financial information with other various such companies in the same industry (Sheppes et al., 2014). This includes companies dealing with handling of Transactional Accounts, Savings Accounts, Home Loans, General Insurance, Car Insurance, Home Insurance, CTP Car Insurance, Health Insurance, Travel Insurance and House & Home Loan service providers across Australia. This includes competitors such as Sims Metal Management and Bingo Industries. There have been no concerning issues identified in terms of comparability. This is due to the fact that all the similar players in the industry are depicted to following the same conceptual framework. Moreover, such a universally accepted form of the accounting policy for Suncorp Group Limited has allowed it compare the financial statement with other divisions of the company situated in a different country (Zhang & Andrew, 2014).

PESTEL Analysis

The consideration of the timeliness factor for the company has been depicted with publishing consolidated financial statement annually. The disclosure of the some of the other relevant information related to the timeliness factors needs to be understood with various types of financial assets. Collecting of relevant information about processing and offsetting the requirements for Finance, Insurance and Banking service (Fan & Savedoff, 2014). In addition to this, some of the other consideration of the necessary information pertaining to the company can be directly inferred with the collecting and processing the information on an annual basis. The timeliness factor needs to be further considered in terms of disclosing annual fixed payments and estimating annual requirement for renewal of accounts. The estimation of the timeliness factor for the disclosure of the information has been depicted as per evaluating the Post Collections Performance for loans (Macve, 2015).

Conclusion

The main issue for the company has been seen with stricter norms for Finance, Insurance and Banking service for pertaining to accounting standard AASB 9 – Financial Instruments. This has significantly affected the EBITDA. The main issues for the Australia’s Banking industry have faced several challenges with following far stricter standards. This has also negatively impacting the cost for registration process in the districts and filing of other relevant documents related to Transactional Accounts, Savings Accounts, Home Loans, General Insurance, Car Insurance, Home Insurance, CTP Car Insurance, Health Insurance, Travel Insurance and House & Home Loans.

The inference on the conceptual framework has shown that the company has not faced any major issues as per universal comparison of the reports. This is evidenced in form of increased comparability of the information as per the accounting standards followed in various parts of the world. The comparability of the financial information in this particular aspect relates to the various types of the consideration of comparing the financial information with other various such companies in the same industry. In addition to this, consideration of the timeliness factor for the company has been depicted with publishing consolidated financial statement annually.

Reference List 

Baumgartner, R. J. (2014). Managing corporate sustainability and CSR: A conceptual framework combining values, strategies and instruments contributing to sustainable development. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 21(5), 258-271.

Beattie, V. (2014). Accounting narratives and the narrative turn in accounting research: Issues, theory, methodology, methods and a research framework. The British Accounting Review, 46(2), 111-134.

Bush, T. (2017). PESTLE analysis: everything you need to know (2016). Available in: https://pestleanalysis. com.

Cajaiba-Santana, G. (2014). Social innovation: Moving the field forward. A conceptual framework. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 82, 42-51.

Chiapello, E. (2017). Critical accounting research and neoliberalism. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 43, 47-64.         

Deegan, C. (2013). Financial accounting theory. McGraw-Hill Education Australia.

Dyckman, T. R., & Zeff, S. A. (2015). Accounting research: past, present, and future. Abacus, 51(4), 511-524.

Fan, V. Y., & Savedoff, W. D. (2014). The health financing transition: a conceptual framework and empirical evidence. Social science & medicine, 105, 112-121.

Lewandowski, M. (2016). Designing the business models for circular economy—Towards the conceptual framework. Sustainability, 8(1), 43.

Macve, R. (2015). A Conceptual Framework for Financial Accounting and Reporting: Vision, Tool, Or Threat?. Routledge.

Mattessich, R. V., Hopwood, A. C., Ijiri, Y., Accounting, C. N., & Moonitz, M. (2014). counting theory and its history, see Mattessich. The History of Accounting (RLE Accounting): An International Encylopedia, 438.

Ovaskainen, O., Tikhonov, G., Norberg, A., Guillaume Blanchet, F., Duan, L., Dunson, D., ... & Abrego, N. (2017). How to make more out of community data? A conceptual framework and its implementation as models and software. Ecology Letters, 20(5), 561-576.

Policy, P. (2016). What is pestle analysis.

Sampaio, P. G. V., & González, M. O. A. (2017). Photovoltaic solar energy: Conceptual framework. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 74, 590-601.

Sheppes, G., Scheibe, S., Suri, G., Radu, P., Blechert, J., & Gross, J. J. (2014). Emotion regulation choice: A conceptual framework and supporting evidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(1), 163.

Suncorp Group. (2018). Who we are. [online] Available at: https://www.suncorpgroup.com.au/about [Accessed 11 Dec. 2018].

Zalengera, C., Blanchard, R. E., Eames, P. C., Juma, A. M., Chitawo, M. L., & Gondwe, K. T. (2014). Overview of the Malawi energy situation and A PESTLE analysis for sustainable development of renewable energy. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 38, 335-347.

Zhang, Y., & Andrew, J. (2014). Financialisation and the conceptual framework. Critical perspectives on accounting, 25(1), 17-26.

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