Financial reporting implications of disasters
Financial Reporting Alert 17-6
This issue highlights some of the financial reporting implications of disasters for entities reporting under U.S. GAAP.
North America has been affected by a series of natural disasters in recent weeks, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and two significant earthquakes that struck Mexico within a span of 12 days. Disasters can also take other forms, such as the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C.
In addition to tragic loss of life, disasters can cause widespread damage and destruction of property and varying degrees of business activity disruption in affected regions and, in some cases, other areas of the world. Some entities may have principal operations in the affected area, while others may have ancillary operations or interests in the affected region. Other entities may be affected as a result of relationships with major suppliers physically located in the affected region. In addition, insurance entities may experience significant losses as a result of a disaster.
A number of financial reporting implications can arise as a result of a disaster. Such implications can include the accounting for asset impairments, income statement classification of losses, insurance recoveries, and additional exposure to environmental remediation liabilities. This Financial Reporting Alert identifies potential implications and applicable authoritative guidance. The financial reporting implications discussed in this Financial Reporting Alert are not intended to be all-inclusive but as a starting point for thinking about the issues that might arise.
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Financial Reporting Alerts highlight up-to-the-minute accounting, regulatory, or other developments that may require immediate action by our professionals and clients or that may affect current financial reporting and disclosure.