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Information Needs of Users Based on Qualitative Characteristics

The objective of general purpose financial reporting is to provide financial information about the reporting entity that is useful to users of financial statements...in making decisions about providing responses to the entity (IFRS, 2013).

I need you help me to
(a) Discuss the information needs of users in terms of the qualitative characteristics of financial information.
(b) Critically evaluate how financial information can meet both investor and stewardship needs.

You may use the article, In Defense of Stewardship by David Oldroyd and Anthony D. Miller.

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Information Needs of Users

The qualitative characteristics of the conceptual framework serve to guide accounting standard setters about the qualities that make the financial statement "useful." That is the overarching goal of these qualities: to ensure that the reported amounts will be useful to the users. The way they make them useful is by insisting that the reports have the following attributes (Stice & Stice 2008; Keiso et al. 2013):
1. relevant (predictive, material, confirming)
2. faithful representation (neutral, complete, error free)
3. comparability
4. verifiable
5. timeliness
6. understandability

The first two are the "fundamental" characteristics and the last four are the enhancing characteristics. That is, if the information is not relevant and faithful/reliable, then the other four qualities matter little. If you tell the user about the square feet of the building, for which the user has no interest and makes no connection with future cash flows, ability to repay debt or whatever decision is at hand, the understandability, timeliness, comparability or the ability to verify the square feet is just not important. Basically, the user does not care about it; it is not relevant. So, the quality of the square feet data does not enhance the usefulness. Second, if the data may not be reliable for some reason (errors, bias, incomplete), then the user is not interested in the data regardless of how timely, understandable, comparable or verifiable it is. If the data is from a related party and missing half of the building, the square feet data will not be useful to the user.

Once the fundamental qualities are true, then the four enhancing characteristics make the reported data even more helpful. That is, they are not only relevant and faithful, but they are timely, understandable, subject to audit and comparable. Now, the user has what they need to use the information for their decision(s).

Critical Evaluation of How ...

Solution Summary

Your draft is 1,186 with 8 high quality references and discusses the qualitative characteristics of the conceptual framework plus critically evaluates these attributes, mentioning the one that "trumps" the others. The difficulty of applying these attributes is discussed with examples.

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