We established the forerunner to the PwC Telecom Industry Accounting Group in the summer of 2000. Our objective then was to provide a forum for discussion and to develop, in conjunction with the industry, practical solutions to emerging industry accounting issues.
At the top of our agenda was the proliferation of new fibre networks and how one might account for purchases and sales of fibre capacity under IRUs. This was followed by dealing with the implications of the end of the dot com bubble, and particularly addressing the impact of changes in expected future cash flows on asset carrying values. Skip forward over a decade and there are clear parallels today.
The link between creating customer and shareholder value is becoming increasingly entwined. This has led to significant auction activity, roll outs of new technology and diversification into new areas such as broadcast content and cloud computing. As companies are dealing with more revenue streams, challenges are being presented to the finance teams as to how to capture and measure this data accurately. Cost efficiency is also paramount - companies are considering whether assets should be leased or purchased. There is also a rise in work sharing arrangements - both formal and informal - and further consolidation in the industry continues to be expected. Investors are also looking for more relevant information from companies as to what they are planning and measuring their success.
Our response as TIAG is to continue to engage with the industry to understand your priorities in accounting and reporting, to facilitate dialogue with the standard setters and, where appropriate, to offer our own observations.