Appeal for making companies’ financial statements public

10-06-2020

We, representatives of non-governmental organizations and experts in open data, appeal to the State Tax Service of Ukraine, the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine and the Ministry of Digital Transformation to publish and regularly update financial statements of companies in open data formats.

On January 1, 2018, the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Accounting and Financial Reporting in Ukraine” regarding Improving Certain Provisions” No.2164-VIII entered into force. Under this law, financial statements of enterprises can not be classified as a trade secret, confidential information, and the restricted information, except as provided by law. Financial reporting is not subject to restrictions on the dissemination of statistical information.

Holders of data on financial statements of companies (all legal entities) are the State Tax Service, the State Statistics Service of Ukraine and the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. Under the current legislation, it is the information of public interest, so it should be published on the data.gov.ua portal and provided at the request of legal entities and individuals under the procedure stipulated by the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information”.

However, there are some significant problems:

  • financial statements of companies are not published in the format of open data by data holders;
  • financial reporting data of enterprises are leaked and sold in the shadow market, creating conditions of distorted competition for services or startups along with unequal access to information for society as a whole;
  • there is currently no unified practice in providing data on financial statements in various regional departments of the State Tax Service of Ukraine: some of them provide it upon request, while others do not provide this information.

Financial statements of companies are the information of public interest, so it should be made public in the format of open data. This principle is enshrined in the Directive 2013/34/EU. Ukraine has undertaken to comply with this requirement (paragraph 830 of the Action Plan on Implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU).

European countries, in particular the United Kingdom, have a successful experience in publishing financial statements of companies and can, therefore, serve as a great example for Ukraine to follow.

Publication of open data on financial statements will have a positive effect on the state, in particular:

  • improving the transparency and openness ratings of the state. Using the example of the Prozorro system that has received many international awards, Ukraine can become a leading country in the field of open data and share experiences with other countries;
  • raising the credibility of Ukraine as a digital state in the international arena;
  • promoting the development of the economy (creating open data-based products). As a result, the budget will be filled;
  • helping to comply with international FATF standards and providing support for the OECD to fight the laundering of proceeds and terrorism financing;
  • improving Ukraine’s investment attractiveness;
  • reducing the number of schemes in public procurement: facilitating the AMCU search for tenders with schemes by identifying front organizations that do not have the necessary financial capacity (direct requirement of para.4, part 1 of Art. 16 of the Law of Ukraine “On Public Procurement”);
  • improving the quality of management decisions both at the state level and at the business level.

There is no need to create additional resources to publish financial reporting data, as there is a state open data portal data.gov.ua.

Business associations support the publication of companies’ financial statements in the format of open data for the following reasons:

  • the data of a particular company is of interest primarily to its counterparties to assess the risk of cooperation and avoid unfair counterparties (according to PWC, 36% of those who committed the most significant economic crimes or frauds are the third parties (counterparties)
  • potential employees can check the employer’s financial position
  • data by industry and region are of interest to both entrepreneurs (assessment of the profitability of companies in the sector, the competitive environment, etc.) and journalists and analysts (from economic to anti-corruption investigations).
  • the publication of open data will help eliminate corrupt data abuse (in particular, the leakage and sale of data in shadow markets).

Therefore, we call on:

the State Tax Service and State Statistics Service to publish and regularly update the financial statements of companies in machine-readable formats, and the Ministry of Digital Transformation to promote the publication of this information in open data formats (as the body responsible for open data policy).

the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to include financial statements of companies in the list of open data sets defined by the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No.835 of 2015.

For our part, we are ready for constructive cooperation to reform Ukraine’s open data policy effectively and provide expert and informational support for publication of companies’ financial statements.

Signatories of the appeal:

  1. Better Regulation Delivery Office
  2. YouControl
  3. Transparency International Ukraine
  4. OpenUp
  5. Bihus.Info
  6. Civil movement “Chesno”
  7. Clarity Project
  8. Slidstvo.info
  9. Anti-Corruption Action Centre
  10. NGO “Electronic Democracy”
  11. Oleksiy Ivankin, Opendatabot
  12. EIDOS
  13. Andrii Hnap, Waste Ukraine Analytics
  14. Dmytro Hadiuchka
  15. NGO “Council of competition and consumers protection”
  16. SE “Prozorro”
  17. Yevhen Vorobiov, financial crime analyst, LL.M. (financial law), Leiden University (Netherlands)
  18. Aliona Hrynko, analyst and journalist

The appeal is open for signature. Let us know if you would like to join: y.reshitko@brdo.com.ua or +380509979360

 


This material is prepared by the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO), an independent expert and analytical center funded by the European Union under the FORBIZ project and within the framework of EU4Business Initiative.

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