This paper documents a case study of true and fair view override in financial reporting by a multinational firm subject to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs). The 2009 Interim Report of HSBC Holdings plc states that HSBC departed from the requirements of IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation (IAS 32). Notwithstanding its noncompliance with the IFRSs, HSBC (2009) concluded that “the interim consolidated financial statements prepared on this basis presented fairly, and gave a true and fair view of the Group’s financial position, financial performance and cash flows” (p. 2). The purpose of this paper is to evaluate critically the accounting treatment in light of the relevant requirements of the IFRSs and the implications for professional accounting standards arising from this departure.
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