Divya Gokulnath: Byju’s cofounder Divya Gokulnath claims media reports on FY21 financials were misleading

Byju’s cofounder Divya Gokulnath said on Tuesday that the coverage of the edtech major’s financial results were sensationalised to focus only on the company’s losses after
it released its audited financials last week.

Taking to the professional networking site LinkedIn, Gokulnath compared Byju’s results with the release of the Bollywood movie Brahmastra.

“I am sure you would have ‘seen’ our results. But have you seen the complete picture? Because just like for movie reviews, sensationalism results in more clicks than truth in this age of 280-character reading attention spans,” Gokulnath
wrote in a post.

Though Gokulnath said she never had any problems with the stories written about Byju’s – with most of the reports actually being positive – she did have an issue with the headlines. “But some of the headlines are another matter. It’s easy to forget that we are 18 months post FY21, and that Byju’s has grown more than four times in this span. Or that our ‘widening losses’ in FY21 have been cut to half in FY22,” she added.

Gokulnath further tried to vindicate her stand by taking examples from five different headlines reported in the media and a point-by-point rebuttal of what those headlines should actually have been.

ET was the first to report that
Byju’s revenue from operations for the financial year ended March 2021 was readjusted to Rs 2,280 crore even as the company incurred massive losses of Rs 4,588 crore, up from just Rs 262 crore in the previous fiscal.

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most-valued startup Byju’s readjusted its unaudited revenues for FY21 following two key changes sought by its official audit firm, Deloitte Haskins & Sells. One, the nature of revenue recognition was changed. If the company sold a three-year course, for example, it had been accounting for the whole payment as revenue in the same fiscal year. The auditor said it should be deferred over the period.

The figures marked a significant drop of 48% from the projected revenue of about Rs 4,400 crore cited in the unaudited results of Think & Learn Pvt Ltd, which runs the edtech firm that has been facing intense scrutiny over its accounting practices in recent months.

“While the audit delay was there, the narrative of fraud was wrong… there was no misreporting as you suggest… I have been on calls with many investors and nobody is concerned as they do not care about FY21 numbers but are looking at FY22 and FY23 number,” Raveendran told ET.

Last month, the
ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) sent a communication to Byju’s asking it to explain why the financial accounts for FY21 were not submitted till now.

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