Publishing graphs to present a true and fair view

Graphs are designed to help readers understand what’s going on at a glance. They serve a variety of purposes in reports, statistics and presentations. In a report they illustrate what’s being talked about. In statistics they underscore the details, and in presentations they’re used as a simple and coherent way of getting complex information across. The problem is that you often come across graphs that are inappropriate or even wrong.

The test is quick and easy: Enter the term “2016 annual report” (or “Geschäftsbericht 2016”) in your search engine, download one of the many PDFs that are listed, look through it for graphics, and read the accompanying paragraph of text. The findings are sobering. The publicly accessible annual report of a large cooperative in Switzerland includes the following chart:

At first glance everything seems in order. Net proceeds from sales of goods and services and gross profit are increasing, and are presented graphically. Dark blue is used to indicate the year under review. There’s a brief text introducing the graphs and explaining how the result came about.

Only a closer look through the lens of the International Business Communication Standards (IBCS) reveals that the graphics need correcting. They fail to present the facts accurately in various respects.

  • The figures shown above the bars in the right-hand chart indicate a 19.51% increase in gross profit since 2012. The bars themselves, however, show an increase of around 137%. You can prove this optical misrepresentation by measuring the bars: while CHF 99.4 million in 2012 are represented with 2.4 cm, CHF 118.8 million in 2016 take up a whole 5.7 cm.
  • The scales for the graphs for net proceeds and gross profits aren’t identical.
  • On neither graph does the y-axis begin at zero.

Correcting the charts in accordance with IBCS, a completely different picture emerges.

In these examples the representation errors have been corrected. The following year can likewise be represented in accordance with IBCS (a white bar with a black frame). A dividing line gives a clear visual indication that the future development has to be differentiated from current or previous developments. The correct relationships are clearly visible.

Essentially IBCS requires that the true and fair view principle also be applied to business graphics. This means that colours, symbols and other graphical elements must have a meaning. The representation must be formally correct so that the reader does not draw any wrong conclusions.

IBCS defines a visual language and enables appropriate visual and verbal communication. It also ensures that the same facts are presented uniformly all over the world. For example, the prior year is always grey, the current year black, and forecasts hatched or shaded.

We’d be glad to show you how to design business graphics correctly for meaningful communication.

Contact Us

Michael Gniffke
Leader Business Software Integration, PwC Switzerland
+41 58 792 47 74

IFRS News March 2018

Our latest IFRS News contains some information about transition requirements when applying IFRS 9, 15, 16 and 17, IFRS Interpretations committee agenda decisions and more.

Adopting IFRS or preparing a transaction document? You may be subject to different transition requirements when applying IFRS 9, 15, 16 and 17

Read more about the issue and and the impact – IFRS News – March 2018

IFRS Interpretations committee agenda decision on the presentation of interest revenue for certain financial instruments

The IFRS Interpretations Committee has concluded that the line item “interest revenue” can contain only interest income on assets that are measured at amortised cost or fair value through other comprehensive income (subject to the effect of applying hedge accounting to derivatives in designated hedge relationships).

IFRS News – March 2018

Cannon street press

The March 2018 IASB Update has been published and the work plan updated.

IFRS News – March 2018

Disclose – PwC’s online magazine

Reading our latest issue of Disclose you’re sure to get an adrenaline rush as we investigate a topic with particularly close connections to sport: high-performing organisations.

Also in this edition of the Disclose you can read more about “IFRS: the impact of IFRS 15 on your financial statements prepared under the Swiss Code of Obligations”.

Intensive Course on IFRS 2018

June 2018 | Swissôtel | Zurich

Does your company report in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), or are you responsible for preparing the financial statements in compliance with IFRS? Is your company considering a move to IFRS? Or do you simply want to extend or to refresh your IFRS expertise? Then PwC’s intensive course on IFRS is right for you.


Our module based IFRS course will help you deal with IFRS professionally and apply the standards competently by giving you:

  • a solid basic understanding of the most important IFRS/IAS standards and of recent developments
  • detailed knowledge of the content of these standards and how they are applied.

You will learn how IFRS facilitates transparent external reporting. But you will also find out how to use it as a helpful instrument that supports you in assessing the financial position of your company and in recognising priorities. The course shows you how to put the theory into practice.

Dates and Topics

The course will be held in four modules, each lasting one day from 8:30 am to approx. 6 pm, in English.

Monday, 4 June 2018
Module 1: Revenue (IFRS 15), Share based payments and others

Tuesday, 5 June 2018
Module 2: Leases (IFRS 16), Taxes, Pension, Foreign exchange rates

Monday, 11 June 2018
Module 3: Consolidation & Business combinations

Tuesday, 12 June 2018
Module 4: IFRS 9 Financial instruments


All modules are specially designed for finance specialists and users of IFRS. In class you have presentations, group work, case studies and sharing sessions to expand and apply what you have learned.

Presenters and instructors

The course is presented by experienced PwC IFRS specialists.

Register here


Module 1: CHF 1,300 including VAT
Module 2: CHF 2,500 including VAT
Module 3: CHF 3,600 including VAT
Module 4: CHF 4,500 including VAT

For further information please visit our website Intensive Course on IFRS


David Mason
PwC ACS Leader
+41 58 792 9490

Gesa Mannigel
PwC Assurance Director
+41 58 792 2454

IFRS News January 2018

Our latest IFRS News contains some information about the US Tax reform, IFRS IC decision, cryptocurrency and more.

US Tax reform – accounting under IFRS

President Trump signed into law on 22 December 2017 extensive changes to the US tax system. These changes are substantively enacted for accounting purposes in 2017 and should be reflected in the financial statements at 31 December 2017.

IFRS News – January 2018

IFRS IC decision on interest and penalties related to income taxes

The IFRS Interpretations Committee (IC) issued an agenda decision in September 2017 on interest and penalties related to income taxes.

IFRS News – January 2018

IFRS Blog: Accounting for Cryptocurrency

Guest blogger Gary Berchowitz, PwC Partner discusses the issues of the month: What is cryptocurrency? So what’s the accounting issue? What is wrong with today’s accounting?

IFRS News – January 2018

Cannon street press

The January 2018 IASB Update has been published and the work plan updated.

IFRS News – January 2018

Read last quarter’s IFRS News issue from October 2017

Read more

Disclose – PwC’s online magazine

Reading our latest issue of Disclose you’re sure to get an adrenaline rush as we investigate a topic with particularly close connections to sport: high-performing organisations.

Read more about “IFRS: the impact of IFRS 15 on your financial statements prepared under the Swiss Code of Obligations” in our latest Disclose 27 issue here.

Far-reaching consequences of disruptive innovations for the Liechtenstein financial market

The Liechtenstein financial market has demonstrated its ability to adapt in recent years by keeping pace with changing framework conditions. Financial industry stakeholders manage more assets today than before the outbreak of the financial crisis. Liechtenstein remains as attractive as ever as a location for private banking and wealth management. The Principality of Liechtenstein is not the only country in which the financial sector is undergoing fundamental change. Digitisation is the main driver of this transformation, and banks are the hardest hit. More and more so-called “digital disruptors” are offering banking services without actually choosing to adopt a banking model themselves.

The challenge of digitisation

Customer behaviour and expectations have evolved. New competitors (e.g. FinTechs) and new technologies (e.g. blockchain) are provoking a fundamental shift in the business model of banks. Digitisation offers new opportunities, but also generates risks. Traditionally structured banks operate an integrated business. They sell products that they have developed themselves via their own distribution channels. All transaction and support services are provided internally. In contrast, new technologies enable a high degree of standardisation to be achieved, leading to a fragmentation of the value chain. According to the PwC Global FinTech Report 2017, 82% of the study participants questioned want to enter into partnerships with FinTech companies within the next three to five years. 77% expect blockchain technology to have become a part of their company’s productive system environment by 2020. Banks in Liechtenstein will not be able to escape this development. They need to carefully analyse the strategic options for action before putting appropriate measures into practice.

Attractive framework conditions

The government is supporting technological change by means of its “Impuls Liechtenstein” programme and the “Regulatory Laboratory” set up within the Financial Market Authority Liechtenstein (FMA). The FMA pursues a forward-looking regulation policy in line with European law. The team of experts from the Regulatory Laboratory advises financial intermediaries at the interface between regulations and the market. At statutory level, modifications have been made to banking legislation which permit the needs-based approval of service providers. Furthermore, there are specific statutory provisions applicable to payment and electronic money institutions. In addition, service providers and organisations benefit from private initiatives which help to establish extensive networking within the FinTech industry in Liechtenstein.

Healthy prospects

There are healthy prospects for overcoming the technological transformation. Liechtenstein as a financial centre has significant expertise in the field of finance, responds rapidly thanks to its short decision-making channels, and is capable of implementing practical solutions. This creates stability and legal certainty. These are good basic conditions to ensure its continued survival in a competitive environment in such fast-moving times. In the future, financial intermediaries will however be required to prove their ability to adapt more than ever before.


Claudio Tettamanti
PwC | Partner | Market Leader Liechtenstein
Office: +423 233 10 02
Mobile: +41 79 696 45 89
PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH
Austrasse 52 | Postfach | FL-9490 Vaduz

Discontinuation of LIBOR – are you ready?

In July 2017 it was announced that LIBOR will be phased out by 2021. Because globally securities of more than $350 trillion are based on the LIBOR reference rate, its discontinuation will be a paradigm shift in the financial industry impacting the whole value chain of banks from retail to treasury to trading. Market participants should adapt to those upcoming changes in an early stage to be prepared and benefit from the new market environment.


Read paper


Do you have any questions? Please get in contact with us:

Christian Schmitt
Advisory Partner

Manuel Plattner
Advisory Director

Sebastian Gerigk
Senior Manager Advisory

Non-performing loans: Leveraging the right strategy to optimise your company’s balance sheet

The market for non-performing loans (NPLs) has been growing continuously over the past decade because credit quality has been deteriorating across the globe. While there have been positive signs in some markets, such as the EU as a whole, there are still some countries, such as Italy, Portugal and Greece, which are increasingly struggling with NPLs.

• This white paper aims to give you an overview of how you can assess and address your potential challenges relating to NPLs, from NPL strategy to operations, IT, people and change. We summarise our observations, experience and understanding of financial companies’ activities to optimise their NPL management. A key point is elaborating approaches to assess your NPL landscape (portfolio processes, KPIs, staff readiness, etc.), the subsequent NPL strategy design and its implementation.

• We outline our recent experiences with NPL actors in Europe, which have helped us gain a solid understanding of the needs of the NPL market and stakeholders’ expectations and how these interact and interdepend as well as how banks, and other market participants should approach NPLs. We extend the view beyond the simple management of NPLs to implications of current regulation (the European Central Bank’s guidance and IFRS 9) and how these create opportunities that can help institutions improve their overall business.

• We present potential solutions to the challenges of NPL, which we have gathered from our work. We lay out how well-defined quantitative and qualitative long-term objectives under appropriate portfolio segmentation and with specifically developed strategy options and early warning indicators (EWIs) as well as a decision tree for the strategy options and well-trained/experienced staff are all key elements to reduce NPLs successfully.

In this way, we hope to provide you some ideas to help you build expertise in your business to improve NPLs and general loan management. Implementing the suggested options (strategically and operationally) can increase profitability by means of a strategic NPL reduction accompanied by maximum recovery. We also point out the main risks of selecting the wrong strategy and how they can disadvantage your company. We present two case studies to help you understand what the risks are and how taking the right action can make a substantial difference. Finally, we link the NPL market’s and investors’ expectations to individual institution’s activities. This ties into the wider economic impact of the current NPL situation in Europe and the NPL market situation.

Read the full white paper here

Contact Us

Patrick Akiki
Advisory Partner
Tel. +41 58 792 2519

The road to success in wealth management

Enabling client centricity

The basic point of view expressed in this paper is that banks and wealth managers urgently need to consider how they align their strategy and operating model to the two prevailing distinct client segments – Global Active and Local Affluent. Maintaining their right to win and growing required them to respect their clients’ behaviours and focus on their needs in a much more consistent and sustained way. Clients must be the basis of all strategic and organisational decisions.

Why does the focus need to change? Basically because in an increasingly industrialised financial services sector and fast changing regulatory requirements and technological possibilities, wealth managers have to find ways of reconciling apparently contradictory customer needs.

Read the full paper


PwC Switzerland is the Center of Excellence for Wealth Management.
Please do not hesitate to get in contact with our experts:


Dr. Marcel Tschanz
Partner, Head of Wealth Management Switzerland
+41 58 792 20 87

Dr. Sebastian Hersberger
Wealth Management Center of Excellence Switzerland
+41 76 519 49 35

Kristof Trautwein
Wealth Management Center of Excellence Switzerland
+41 79 257 80 19

Regulatory developments (TCFD)

Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

The G20’s Financial Stability Board (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was convened to address concerns that companies are not sufficiently disclosing the impacts that climate change poses to their strategy, businesses and financial plans. Without adequate disclosure markets cannot function efficiently and risks are not appropriately priced.

Broadly climate risks can be divided into:

  • Transition risks such as climate policy (e.g. a carbon tax) or technological shifts (e.g. the rise of electric vehicles) which impact demand and costs of supply; and
  • Physical risks such as the impacts of more frequent/extreme weather events on assets, operations or supply chains.

The TCFD’s recommendations were launched in June 2017 and presented to the G20 Summit on 7–8 July. The report’s scope covers all companies with listed equity/debt in the G20.

Additionally, to address where concentrations of risk might lie, the scope also includes asset managers and asset owners e.g. pension funds, so covering the whole investment chain. Shareholders and other capital providers are increasingly looking to understand the resiliency of the companies they are invested in or lend to. Major institutional investors have publicly called for companies to make disclosure of climate risks a priority or face shareholder action.

TCFD recommendations and implications
The TCFD structured its recommendations on climate-related disclosures around four thematic areas:

  • Governance: extent of board and senior management oversight on the issue;
  • Strategy: risks and impacts on strategy, business and forward looking scenario analysis;
  • Risk Management: how climate risks are identified, assessed, managed and integrated into existing risk management frameworks; and
  • Metrics and Targets: how is performance on climate risk being measured.

The TCFD recommends disclosure in mainstream annual reports. It is a major shift away from sustainability reports where climate issues typically currently reside. This means that functions such as Finance and Investor Relations as well as the Audit Committee need to understand the financial implications of climate change and be in a position to explain whether such implications are material and how this is being governed, managed and disclosed.

Strategy functions will also need to consider how to incorporate such implications into long term plans. The TCFD recommends that companies conduct forward-looking scenario analyses to understand how their businesses will be impacted by climate change.


Stephan Hirschi
PwC ADV Consulting | Adv Consulting TIS
+41 58 792 2789

Raphael Rutishauser
ADV Consulting | Adv Consulting TIS
+41 58 792 52 15


Asset & Wealth Management Revolution: Embracing Exponential Change

Change in the asset and wealth management industry (the ‘AWM industry’) is now accelerating at an exponential rate. Although the industry is set for growth over the next ten years, asset and wealth managers must become business revolutionaries, even disruptors, if they’re to survive and prosper.
Now is the time for action.

Four interconnected trends will drive the AWM industry’s revolution. Between them, they will squeeze industry margins, making scale and operational efficiency far more important, and meaning that all firms need to integrate technology in all areas of the business and develop a clear strategy for the future.

These four transforming trends are:
1 Buyers’ market
2 Digital technologies: do or die
3 Funding the future
4 Outcomes matter

It’s difficult to predict how quickly these trends will play out. But they’ve been under way for some time and are accelerating. The difference is that firms must act now to fully understand them and adapt their business strategies accordingly.


Read the full report



Jean-Sébastien Lassonde
Partner, Swiss Leader Asset & Wealth Management
Tel: +41 58 792 81 46