What are half-yearly reports and why companies should publish them

Half-yearly reports are reports published by entities to demonstrate their performance over the past six months. They help existing and potential investors monitor the company’s performance on a regular basis. Further, they allow organizations to compare their results with their peers in the same industry and better analyze their strengths and weaknesses. They enable companies to make better projections by helping identify growth patterns, in turn identifying opportunities and risks

The legal requirement

As per Regulations 20 and 23 of SEBI (Portfolio Managers) Regulations, 1993, registered portfolio managers are required to submit a half-yearly report consisting of portfolio management activities to SEBI. This report is required to be submitted twice a year, for the period ending 31st March and 30th September. Further, they should be submitted within 30 days of the period to which they relate.

These reports should consist of compressed unaudited financial information comprising;

  1. Consolidated income statement;
  2. Consolidated statement of changes in equity;
  3. Consolidated cash flow statement; and
  4. Related explanatory notes.  

While these are the mandated elements of a half-yearly report, companies also increase the scope of half-yearly reports and include other variables to showcase their performance, establish a sense of transparency, and enhance their credibility.

Apart from the SEBI regulations, the Indian Accounting Standard 25 (AS 25) also lays down the guidelines for interim reporting. It prescribes the minimum content of these reports and the principles for the recognition and measurement of the company’s performance. Thereby companies that are undertaking half-yearly reporting need to comply with both the SEBI regulations and the AS 25.

The need for half-yearly reports

Although not many companies are currently publishing half-yearly reports, this segment of reporting has been gaining continuous momentum. On January 5, 2020, the financial express reported that the Government of India is planning the reporting norm for unlisted companies and this includes half-yearly reporting. This is because as the number of active unlisted companies rises, the problems associated with such entities, financial and otherwise, also rise. While listed companies are sanctioned by SEBI to publish both annual and quarterly reports, unlisted companies are not legally required to publish any information. Therefore, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs is considering mandating half-yearly reporting for this category of companies. However, the threshold beyond which unlisted companies should furnish such information is still under consideration.

Stated below are the main objectives of half-yearly reporting;

  1. Thorough evaluation – For analysing the company’s progress and earnings progression, the sole study of its annual data is not sufficient. Half-yearly reporting can help thoroughly evaluate companies’ performances.
  2. An estimate of annual performance – Based on the company’s half-yearly performance, its annual performance can be estimated. However, this does not hold true for companies that have fluctuating demand.
  3. Identification of turning points – Half-yearly reporting can help point out outliers that the company can recognize and leverage.
  4. Insights into management performance – The initiatives taken by the company’s management can be laid out in the half-yearly report enabling easy evaluation of the management’s performance.
  5. An addendum to the annual report – Half-yearly reports help in the periodic analysis and thereby serve as an addendum to annual reports.

The increasing complexity of business functions coupled with the fast-decision-making requirements of the investors has made annual reporting inadequate. Half-yearly reporting can also help companies identify fraudulent activities faster and when companies report regularly, investors tend to trust them more.

Conclusion

While it is recommended that companies start publishing half-yearly reports before being legally bound to do so, what is important to note is that it is not an easy task to do. As the period of reporting is shorter, there is a high possibility of the report containing inaccurate information. Also, most businesses incur expenses in one period but are able to reap the benefits of the same only in the succeeding period. This, if not properly explained in the report, can leave the readers with a misleading perception. Therefore, it is extremely important for companies undertaking this kind of reporting to communicate their message flawlessly for creating the desired impact.

Report Yak is a business reporting design agency that conceptualizes, creates content, and designs annual reports, quarterly reports, half-yearly reports, CSR reports, ESG reports, and impact reports for corporations.

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