Unlocking Investment in Infrastructure. Is current accounting and reporting a barrier?

B20 Report - Unlocking Investment in Infrastructure

Encouraging infrastructure investment poses many challenges for governments and developers – and none as urgent or as complex as how to finance it. Over the next 15 years, the gap between available funds and demand for infrastructure development around the world could be as much as US$500 billion annually.

In light of the importance of infrastructure and other long-term investment for the global economy, the B20 (a forum through which the private sector produces policy recommendations for the annual meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) leaders) created an infrastructure and investment taskforce, which developed actionable recommendations for the G20. As a result of one of these recommendations, the six largest international accounting networks formed a panel to analyse existing accounting and corporate reporting practices, and suggest improvements that would help the corporate reporting model provide a broader perspective of business performance that is more conducive to long-term investment.

The Panel identified recommendations relating to the following three areas:

  • using corporate reporting to achieve a longer-term focus;
  • continuing to improve financial reporting through ongoing accounting standards development; and
  • encouraging improved alignment of regulatory risk calculations with the actual risk profiles of infrastructure investments.

The Panel concludes that – for the most part – changes to accounting principles would not increase the attractiveness of long-term infrastructure investments, but supports the IASB's ongoing work to improve financial reporting.