Business / Corporate

Results delayed as coronavirus holds up Japanese firms’ accounting

Jiji

An increasing number of publicly traded companies are putting off the release of financial statements for the business year that ended March 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They face difficulties in tallying up financial data overseas. Japan's emergency declaration over the virus is also hampering work as the measure has prompted many companies to have their employees work from home.

Construction machinery company Komatsu Ltd. put off the release of its financial report from April 30 to May 18 due to a delay in inventory-related work overseas.

Electronics and machinery firm Hitachi Ltd. will push back its release date from late April to mid-May at the earliet.

Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. and machine tool maker Tsugami Corp. postponed their announcements due to the impact of lockdowns abroad.

Asahi Broadcasting Group Holdings Corp. and Seibu Holdings Inc. delayed their release dates following last week's emergency declaration in Japan.

"Work will take more time than expected" due to a decreased number of workers showing up at the office, a Seibu official said.

The impact on auditors is also serious as they face difficulties in checking inventories in person due to restraints on going outside and the spread of teleworking.

"The thorough implementation of preventive measures against the virus is constraining accounting and auditing work," said Masahiko Tezuka, chairman of the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

A survey by the Japan Association for Chief Financial Officers showed that 75 percent of senior corporate officials in charge of accounting hare seeing an impact on their work from the coronavirus outbreak.

"It's impossible to finish work only with teleworking," one respondent said.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange usually calls for listed companies closing their books in March to release their results by May 15, but plans to allow postponement this time.

Such companies, however, need to complete accounting work at least two weeks before general shareholders' meetings that usually take place in late June.

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