While investors and analysts are waiting for the fourth quarter result declaration to assess the impact of the economic slowdown on the corporate world and on their investments, the Satyam is pushing auditors into buying more time to complete the audit process before the results can be announced.
And it’s not just the small and medium sized companies that are delaying their results. Large companies like State Bank of India, L&T, Mahindra & Mahindra, Suzlon and Bharat Forge are deferring the announcement of their fourth quarter results to June 2009.
These companies have informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that their boards are considered declaring only the audited financial result for the year ended March 2009. Further, they have said that they won’t be publishing the unaudited results for the fourth quarter.
While some market experts feel that this is because companies do not want to hold two board meetings --- one in April for unaudited results and the other in June for audited results --- others believe it to be a result of what happened to Satyam and companies are working a bit extra to keep their books of accounts in order.
“After Satyam, auditors have come in the line of fire and so they have turned extra cautious,” said the head of a large brokerage house who did not wish to be named. “While they took 15 days to audit, they are taking more now and are doing their due diligence in a more cautious manner.”
For instance, auditors are looking into bank transactions and tallying the financial details more carefully.
Some companies take more time because they have foreign subsidiary and it takes time for the consolidation to be done, he added.
Ideally, while unaudited results for any quarter of listed companies should be declared within one month of end of the quarter, audited result can be announced within two months. However, the annual audited results have to be announced before July 1, for the full financial year between April 1 and March 31.