business segments

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Separately identifiable parts of the business operations of a company or group whose activities, assets, risks, and returns can be clearly identified. Companies are obliged to disclose in their annual report and accounts certain financial information relating to business segments (see segmental reporting). Although Statement of Standard Accounting Practice 25 provides guidance as to what comprises a business segment, many inconsistencies appear in the information provided by companies. Standard setters have recognized that companies are not keen to improve segmental reporting because they fear they could suffer some competitive disadvantage. International Financial Reporting Standard 8, Operating Segments, which became effective from January 2009, extends the requirement for segmental reporting.

Subjects: Accounting.

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