External VS. Internal Audit in the Accounting of Complex Contractual Instruments: A Survey on EU Firms

  •  Massimiliano Celli    


This article aims at ascertain if external and independent audit can improve the reliability of IAS/IFRS financial statements with regard to the accounting of complex contractual instruments such as swing contracts for the sale and purchase of energy commodities. To this end, first of all the standard contents of the contracts at stake will be identified, based on those usually recurring in corporate practice. Then, it will be ascertained whether such contracts subtend an industrial usage only, so that the pertinent arrangement has to be accounted as a standard purchase/sale transaction, or whether the counterparts are pursuing financial intendments, since in such assumption the swing contract must be accounted as a financial instrument in accordance with IFRS 9/IAS 39. Conclusively, the modalities will be analysed which are used by a number of European companies whose typical activity is the purchase/sale of energy commodities, to account such kind of contracts. The survey aims at verify if the accounting modalities chosen by companies whose financial statements are subject to an external and independent audit (voluntarily or mandatorily pursuant to the applicable laws) are more compliant with the principle of faithful representation than those which are not subject to an external and independent audit.

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