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Background
You have been asked to take a ride on Financial Reporting Railways to The Presentation Observation Station (the Station). At the Station, you will find the financial reports of railway companies from around the world. Once you’ve arrived at the station, your role is to observe and gain insights into the presentation of the balance sheets for some of these companies.

To find the railway companies’ financial reports, the conductor directs you to the internet café in the Station. Once you arrive at the café, you receive a menu of select rail companies. Select at least three for each of the US and European companies and go to their websites. You may also research any railway companies “off the menu” as well, if you prefer. Locate their financial reports, specifically the balance sheet. Keep in mind that for some of the European railways, their reports might not be in English; however, that shouldn’t prevent you from making necessary

811_Financial reports.jpg

Required

Obtain and review balance sheets for three rail companies in Europe whose financial statements are prepared using IFRS. Obtain and review the balance sheets for three rail companies in the US whose financial statements are prepared using US GAAP. Compare the following:

• The IFRS balance sheets to the US GAAP balance sheets.

• The IFRS balance sheets to each other.

Answer the following problems:

• Are the IFRS balance sheet classifications presented the same as US GAAP balance sheet classifications?

If different, which presentation do you believe is better? Describe why.

• Are the IFRS balance sheet classifications the same between each of the companies?

• What does IAS 1 require for a particular presentation format or order of items on the balance sheet?

Does this agree with your observations? Discuss any differences.

• Do you believe that one presentation format for balance sheets must be required of all companies throughout the world? Describe why or why not.

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