18 Jun /19

IFRS, Swiss GAAP FER, OG? Financial Translations for Switzerland

IFRS, Swiss GAAP FER, OG? Financial Translations for Switzerland
IFRS, Swiss GAAP FER, OG? Financial Translations for Switzerland

The Swiss capital market enjoys a special reputation in the global financial arena – not least as a result of Article 47 of the Swiss Banking Act. This is known in Germany as banking confidentiality, but Switzerland calls it bank client confidentiality because it is only the client and not the bank itself that is protected. The law protects the economic privacy of national – and often also international – investors, unless an additional intra-national agreement exists.

A second feature that sets Switzerland apart is its linguistically fragmented market with four national and official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although English is not one of these native languages, it is the most important foreign language in all exchanges with international banks and clients.

This makes translations vital to ensure clear and legally compliant communications. In the business world, professional translations with a focus on finance play a major role.

International financial reporting – an opportunity to excel in the translation industry

It is not just Switzerland’s linguistic diversity that makes global financial communication difficult, but also the complex financial terminology used in banking and on the stock exchanges. There are skilled financial translators specialising in the linguistic requirements of the various business models – be it banking corporations, cantonal banks, stock exchange banks, investment banks or asset management banks. Translations for the financial sector also overlap with a number of other business disciplines, such as law, compliance, human resources and investor relations, as legal translations of contracts, codes of conduct, guidelines and audits, HR documents and stock portfolios are at least as important as the translation of annual reports for listed companies. Additional challenges relating to the financial industry include developments in the areas of FinTech, cryptocurrency, AI and big data.

Very few translators have the opportunity to focus on a single subject area and become experts in it, but it is precisely such experienced language specialists with an eye for detail that should be used for highly sensitive topics such as these. EVS Translations has around 95 specialised in-house translators at your disposal. Read what makes them excel here.

IFRS, Swiss and German GAAP – national vs. international accounting standards

According to Article 958d of the Code of Obligations, financial accounting must be in one of the national languages or in English. If a company decides to publish its annual report in German or English, for example, it is highly likely that it will be translated into English, German, French or Italian for stakeholders and shareholders as well. Financial reports follow various financial accounting models, which ensure standardisation and facilitate comparison. These models vary from country to country, with Switzerland reporting in accordance with the Swiss GAAP FER. At the same time, there are international standards – IFRSs (International Financial Reporting Standards). The preferred accounting standard is essential for the translation process. When choosing a translation company, you should make sure that it has extensive OG/HGB/IFRS/GAAP terminology databases. It is also important that Swissisms are recognised and translated correctly. For example, ‘assets’ and ‘liabilities’ are ‘Aktiva’ and ‘Passiva’ in German, but ‘Aktiven’ and ‘Passiven’ in Swiss German.

Does your company operate in Switzerland and are you looking for a reliable and secure language service provider for your financial communications? With one of the largest in-house translation teams in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) – including native German, French and Italian speakers – EVS Translations provides scalable translation solutions.

We are happy to advise you. You can reach us at +49 (0) 69 82 97 99 99 or use our contact form.