€(123) million or (€123) million?

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pub_acco
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€(123) million or (€123) million?

Post by pub_acco »

It might be a silly English question, but when denoting a negative amount with a currency symbol, which notation do you use: €(123) million or (€123) million?

In annual reports, companies generally seem to prefer €(123) million, but some companies use (€123) million. It doesn't seem to depend on the country of an entity because, for example, Amazon uses $(123) while Boing uses ($123), and Unilever mixes (€123) and €(123) in one report. Looking at Part B of the IFRS book, I see IFRS 17 IE and IAS 28 Supporting Material use CU(123) while IFRS 9 IE use (CU123). Excel formats negative numbers like (€123) by default.

I'm actually confused. Is there any canonical rule for this?
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Marek Muc
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Re: €(123) million or (€123) million?

Post by Marek Muc »

it's interesting that you spotted inconsistencies even within IFRS, I guess this proves that there's no canonical rule :)
pub_acco
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Re: €(123) million or (€123) million?

Post by pub_acco »

That's likely :lol:
JRSB
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Re: €(123) million or (€123) million?

Post by JRSB »

Personally just the number in brackets because the number is negative rather than the currency...

I think it comes clearer if you say.... EPS this year was (0.4)p. ..... (0.4p) doesn't look right.

Just me.
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Marek Muc
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Re: €(123) million or (€123) million?

Post by Marek Muc »

Makes sense to me, similarly I would write €-123 rather than -€123
pub_acco
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Re: €(123) million or (€123) million?

Post by pub_acco »

I went through more annual reports and 10-Ks and found out that the overwhelming majority preferred €(123) and (1.23)% over (€123) and (1.23%), and a few companies mixed two styles, which might be caused by mistake. So I conclude it's safer to put only numbers in parentheses in a professional accounting context. Personally, €(123) is easier to read in the footnotes because (€123) isn't clearly distinguishable from parenthetical explanations.

That said, (€123) could be more popular in non-professional accounting contexts because Excel and many other non-professional applications print negative numbers as (€123) by default. This is likely because (€123) style is specified as the standard accounting negative number format in Unicode's CLDR http://cldr.unicode.org/, which is a kind of canonical standards for number formatter implementations.
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Marek Muc
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Re: €(123) million or (€123) million?

Post by Marek Muc »

wow, what an impressive analysis!
JRSB
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Re: €(123) million or (€123) million?

Post by JRSB »

that analysis sounds right
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Re: €(123) million or (€123) million?

Post by pub_acco »

;)
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