NZX-listed companies maintained high disclosure standards while the NZX and the Financial Markets Authority cut them some slack to recognise the impact Covid-19 would have on preparing their accounts, PwC's chief risk officer, Karen Shires, says.
The exchange gave companies a one-month extension to report their results as the country adopted lockdowns and border closures to try and halt the spread of the pandemic.
Equity and debt issuers were given an additional 30 days to prepare and release results announcements and an additional two months to prepare and release annual reports.
The NZX also temporarily relaxed the rules around capital raisings to enable entities to raise funds quickly - generally from wholesale or institutional investors.
Shires said that a PwC analysis on the impact of Covid on those stocks with March and May balance dates showed high standards of disclosure were applied.
"In trying circumstances it appears that they have done a good job," she told the Herald.
Most companies who were recipients of the Government's Covid-19 wage subsidy had treated it as "other income" and Shires said all had clearly articulated the role that the subsidy had played.
"It's true that some companies' profits have been boosted by the wage subsidy," she said.
PwC tracked 14 NZX companies with March or May balance dates.
"Generally, businesses have done a good job of the telling the story," she said.
"They have taken on board the commentary from the NZX and the FMA, who said in April that it was very important to articulate what happened.
"We have generally seen that. Of the 14 reports, 10 had very detailed notes around the impact of Covid-19."
Shires said Z Energy led way in terms of the depth of disclosure in its result for the year to March, which she said set a benchmark.
Company accounts over March, April and May bore the brunt of Covid-19.
Asset impairments came into sharper focus, and Shires said companies had gone the extra distance to explain where the sensitivities lay.
She said auditors were attuned to the possibility that companies could use Covid-19 as a cloak to obscure other problems.
"We have not seen that, and any auditor will have been very cautious and skeptical around that," she said.
"Some entities have actually gone to some lengths to explain certain things that happened, pre-Covid, and the things that have happened since, to make sure that they could distinguish between them," she said.
"In the past there has been a theory that if you have had a bad year, then make sure it was really bad, but we have not seen that either.
"It seems to be far more balanced in terms of how entities have approached the impact of Covid-19."
The property companies, in their valuation reports, have highlighted that there was less transactional activity in the market and therefore a lot more uncertainty in their valuations, she said.
Separately, the new accounting standard IFRS16 had caused more than a few headaches, and has in some cases had an impact on companies' bottom lines.
The standard means entities now have to put all their lease commitments on to their balance sheets so that they are treated as assets.
Shires says there has been a lot of "pushback" over IFRS16, which she said can affect the way companies treat asset impairments.
"Clearly any increase in liabilities can increase your debt covenants," she said.
"Impairment testing has become significantly harder."
"It's been quite a problematic standard, and it can affect bottom-line profits."