Thursday, October 27, 2011

Audit considerations for Japan real estate companies

According to report from Standard & Poor’s with regard to Japan’s property market:

“ Diversified real estate companies had strong condominium sales in fiscal 2010 but at the expense of margins. Companies cut selling prices to clear inventory despite unrealized losses on fixed assets. Earnings could come under further pressure in fiscal 2011 because of possible delays in construction completions or sales slippage due to the earthquake. Japanese real estate investment trusts have turned acquisitive after recapitalizing their balance sheets, and this has”

[Note: the paragraph above was quoted from Standard & Poor’s]

If you are the auditor of a real estate companies in country, where the economy is suffering from the global slow down, please take note of the marketing strategy adopted by your audit client. As evident above, certain real estated companies are cutting their selling prices of the properties developed at the expense of profit margins. In worst case scenario, the real estate may even incur a negative margin (ie. selling the property at losses).

There are a number of reasons, where a real estate developer may conduct the sales transactions in above patterns:

- to meet the cash flow/ working capital demand (i.e. to pay off debt due / repay vendors)

- to meet the analyst’ expectation on sales revenue; the drop in GP Margin might not be evidenced obviously, as the real estate companies may have earned positive GP Margin in previous quarters / from other projects (i.e. cushion effect)

- to minimize the risks that the inventory might not be sold in a slowing-down market

- to avoid the actual and economic costs of holding on to inventory

What will be the implication for the audit for the above scenario? There are risks that the real estate company may end up in a gross loss position from this project, if margin is too thin. “Provision for foreseeable losses” need to be recognised immediately.

How to estimate the “Provision for Foreseeable Losses”:

(a) Determine the remaining quantified (of properties) to be sold;
(b) Determine the projected / estimated selling prices and compare that to the cost-to-build for each property; if it’s a gross loss position, then provision need to be provided
(c) Total provision to be provided = remaining quantities x gross loss estimated

Please apply professional judgement and maintain professional susceptibility while reviewing the working prepared by client to ensure that all costs have been considered.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Implication of Bangkok's floods to Company's financials

Earlier on, Thailand Finance Minister commented that the devastating floods in Bangkok could lower Thailand's Gross Domestic Products. The floods have caused damage to equipment in the flooded industril plant.

Your audit client may have a plants / factories located in the areas affected by the massive flood. In this instance, a proper check need to be performed to assess if the audit client's plants / factories are affected.

Assuming that the plants / factories are affected by the flood, the following procedures need to be performed, including (but not limited to):

- are the machineries and equipments been damaged in the flood. Should impairment been recorded given that the machineries and equipments are damaged?
- are there any going concern issue, given that the operations are likely to be stop?
- is your audit client able to produce financials on time for reporting?
- is there any penalty on contracts with customer if audit client is not able to deliver agreed items on time?
- is your audit client able to collect outstanding debts from customers who maybe affected as well?

A thorough understanding of the floods, and how will that affect the operations are required to determine the nature and extent of audit procedures to tackle the impact of floods.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

#107- Audit tips on reviewing legal expenses

This post intend to share with our Accouting & Auditing blogs readers on a number of tips while performing the review of audit client's legal expense account, as follows:

a) Review the invoice & billing details sent by the audit client's lawyer to identify any law suits / legal cases that's against the audit client [ note: disclosure is required in the financial statement, if the exposure is material]

b) To investigate further if there's vague and inadequate descriptions on the billings from the lawyers.

c) Review the engagement letter / contract entereted into by audit client with the lawyers to find out how detailed the firms’ fee bills should be.

d) From internal control perspective, audit client should have adequate and consistent policy for reviewing legal fee bills once they came in. [ i.e. determination of the verifier and reviewers of the legal fee bills, etc]

e) Please obtain confirmation from audit client's lawyer on the on-going legal cases/ law suits to identify if there's any material exposure.