Exploring Concerns over the historical cost measurement Essay

The recent unprecedented detonation in corporations has raised inquiry on whether the usage of historical cost measuring in the readying of fiscal statement continue relevancy and represent best estimation of describing entity as a traveling concern Company. Pressure from assorted users of fiscal statements have brought about immense challenges to accounting standard compositors to develop newer criterions, rules, methodological analysiss, tools and patterns in the country of accounting particularly on just value measuring. In recent old ages, it is arguably that the International Accounting Standards Board ( IASB ) , an accounting criterion compositor progressively favours the usage of just value measuring. This is evidenced by debut of just value measuring on assets which subsequently on extended to fair value measuring on both liabilities and equities. Therefore, this paper meant to explicate the construct of just value, analyze the extent of just value measuring versus historical cost measuring in a fiscal coverage, and sketch the statements for and statements against just value as compared to historical cost. The paper concluded with other issues and challenges in execution of just value measuring system.

The construct of just value foremost appears under IAS 16 Accounting for Property, Plant and Equipment 1982 which defined it as ‘the sum for which an plus could be exchanged between a knowing, willing purchaser and knowing, willing marketer in an arm ‘s length dealing ‘ ( IAS 16, 1982 ) . Subsequently, similar definition is extended to fair value for other assets categorization. Besides that, the term ‘buyer ‘ and ‘seller ‘ are replaced with a more generic term called ‘parties ‘ . The IASC and IASB so further the just value definition to fiscal assets, intangible assets, liabilities and equity instruments, which concluded the definition of just value as ‘the sum for which an plus could be exchanged, a liability settled or an equity instrument granted could be exchanged, between knowing, willing parties in an arm ‘s length dealing ‘ ( IFRS 2.A ) . Under the SFAS 157, just value is defined as ‘the monetary value that would be received to sell an plus or paid to reassign a liability in an orderly dealing between market participants at the measuring day of the month ‘ ( SFAS157, 5 ) . Therefore, just value equates the issue monetary value. Based on David Cairns 2006, just value measuring is a hierarchy divided into three beds. The top bed is just value measuring based quoted monetary value in active markets. If this is non available, the following option or the 2nd bed is to utilize discernible market monetary values for similar assets or liabilities. Otherwise, the 3rd bed is to utilize other rating techniques to cipher just value of assets or liabilities. When markets are comparatively perfect, just value measuring arguably adds value to fiscal statements by supplying the current market monetary values. However, during the fiscal crisis, just value measuring arguably triggers farther monetary value autumn. This is due to mark-to-market accounting consequences in immense impact to the income statement which may consequences in prostration in market assurances and that impact on the planetary fiscal system as a whole. Despite the fact, there is no individual cosmopolitan criterion that is bullet-proof. Hence, it will be more appropriate to specify a clear aim and take a measuring method that best met the aim ( Whittington, G. 2008 ) .

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Harmonizing to the IASB Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements, the aim of fiscal statement is ‘to provide information about the fiscal place, public presentation and alterations in fiscal place of an entity that is utile to a broad scope of users in doing economic determinations ‘ ( IASB Framework, paragraph 12 ) . In an attempt to make a planetary accounting criterions FASB and IASB so jointly developed a conceptual model which defined ‘the aim of general purpose fiscal coverage is to supply fiscal information about the coverage entity that is utile in doing determinations about supplying resources to the entity and in measuring whether the direction and the regulating board of that entity have made efficient or effectual usage of the resources provided ‘ ( IASB Exposure Draft 2010, paragraph RE1 ) . In short, the conceptual model spells out two chief aims of fiscal statements: 1 ) to supply information utile for economic determination devising and 2 ) to measure direction ‘s stewardship. Based on IASB Framework paragraph 24, information useful for economic determination devising must consist four qualitative features which are relevancy, dependability, comprehensibility and comparison. Measurement method, being just value or historical cost, whichever best met these features and in bend meet the aims of fiscal statement considered a more superior measuring technique.

First of all, ‘relevance ‘ standards arguably achieved through usage of just value in mensurating assets and liabilities in the fiscal statement. Fair value reflects the current economic conditions which becomes progressively utile in the current rapid altering environment. In recent old ages, there is crisp addition in belongings market particularly in Asia. Based on the Global Property Guide Index, Singapore ‘s belongings index raised drastically despite authorities attempts to stabilise the market. The monetary values of landed belongingss rose by a 6.2 % recorded in Q2 2010 and once more 7.7 % in Q3 2010 after. Therefore, if belongings continued to value at historical costs less depreciation, the net book value presented in the histories become irrelevant for determination devising as the book value varies significantly to its current market value. On the contrary, just values do capture the market monetary value at any measuring day of the month which is relevancy for economic determination devising. Back to the definition by IASB Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements, relevancy is ‘when it influences the economic determinations of users by assisting them measure yesteryear, nowadays or future events or corroborating, or rectifying, their past ratings ‘ ( IASB Framework, paragraph 26 ) . Information relevancy is affected by its nature, materiality and seasonableness ( IASB Framework paragraphs 29, 30 and 43 ) . Hence, eventhough just value measuring is preferred in footings of ‘relevance ‘ standards, the materiality and seasonableness of information demand to be considered excessively. For case, if utilizing just value measuring takes a long clip to calculate out, so historical cost evidently would be preferred because by the clip information obtained, it may non function the current market value. In footings of ‘materiality ‘ where assets or liabilities have minimum monetary value alterations throughout old ages, it is easier to utilize historical cost measuring as it assumes the just value measuring due to immaterial difference.

Another of import feature to the content in fiscal information is ‘reliability ‘ . It is arguably that historical cost measuring is more dependable merely because it has been long established and that become a tradition for cost measuring. It is besides arguably that historical cost is more nonsubjective and comprehensive which makes it easier for comptrollers to use and for hearers to verify. On the contrary, just value is more subjective and complicated, particularly when opinion is required in finding the just value of an plus or liability. The IASB Framework states that dependability comprises faithful representation, prudence, substance over signifier, neutrality and completeness ( IASB, paragraph 13 ) . Fair value protagonists argue that just value measuring represents faithful representation as assets or liabilities are quoted in a common market topographic point, which is known to everyone. However, the degree of information available to Companies or Industries may change. Besides, in existent universe phenomena, many assets and liabilities are non quoted in active market. Therefore, when rating technique such as present value of future hard currency flow is used to find just value of plus or liabilities, it involves certain grade of appraisal and opinion which subject to direction discretion and hearers credence. Hence, it is argued that unless the assets or liabilities are quoted in active market, historical cost measuring is a preferable option. In footings of prudence construct, where the market value of plus or liability is more than its transporting value, historical cost captured it at cost but just value gaining control it a market monetary value ( reappraisal upwards ) . However, when transporting value is less than its market value, damage recognised both under historical costs and just value measuring. Therefore, it is arguably that historical cost measuring greater upholds the prudence construct.

Other of import features in presentation of fiscal information are comprehensibility and comparison. Comprehensibility enhanced through clearly aggregated and classified information which allows utile determination devising to users of fiscal statement. Cost-based measuring arguably easy to understand every bit compared to fair value measuring which incorporates certain degree of complexness and to an extent creates confusion. It is arguably that preparer of fiscal statement prefers historical cost measuring where applicable. For case, IAS 16 Property, Plant and Equipment and IAS 40 Investment Properties allows option for reappraisal of non-current assets to fair values but yet, many corporations are still utilizing historical costs less depreciations. Fair value school of taught disputed this by turn outing that certain types of fiscal instruments can merely be measured at just values, i.e. the IAS39 Financial Instruments. Fair value protagonists besides argue that existent universe phenomena somehow integrated built-in complexness and if these complex information are excluded from the fiscal statement, it hindrance completeness of information which so leads to misdirecting fiscal study. Therefore, the FASB Conceptual Framework states that ‘Financial studies are prepared for users who have a sensible cognition of concern and economic activities and who review and analyse the information with diligence ‘ ( F QC30-QC32 ) . On the other manus, comparison enhanced through consistent measuring and presentation of accounting information. Any alterations in the accounting policies need to be disclosed and matching information for continuing periods should be restated utilizing the new policy, irrespective of whether it is utilizing just value or historical cost measuring. Fair value arguably allows comparison across companies in different industries. Regardless of when assets or liabilities are acquired, they are valued at the market monetary value at measuring day of the month. For illustration, a fabrication company bought 1000 portions of XYZ at & A ; lb ; 6 while a logistic company bought the same figure of portions of XYZ at & A ; lb ; 8. At the terminal of the twelvemonth presuming both these companies has the same fiscal twelvemonth terminal, they both reflects investing at current market monetary value, say at & A ; lb ; 9 each. However, if historical cost applied, fabricating company will capture the investing at & A ; lb ; 6 each and the logistic company enter its investing at & A ; lb ; 8. Therefore, just value arguably allows comparings but some oppositions argue that just value measuring disturb to the original benchmark which restrict comparing to initial purchase monetary value. The counter statement is that if just value is applied systematically, it can be benchmark against anterior twelvemonth ‘s monetary value degree which is more appropriate because it genuinely reflect the additions or loss from monetary value alteration in the coverage period.

Besides supplying relevancy, dependable, apprehensible, and comparable information, another chief aim of fiscal statements is to measure direction stewardship. It is arguably that just value measuring makes it more hard for the stakeholders to measure whether direction has used the resources available to them expeditiously and efficaciously. This is because just value recognises gain or loss from external monetary value alteration in the income statement, assorted with the internally generated trading net incomes or losingss. As a consequence, it creates volatility in the income statement. Historical cost advocate argues that direction stewardship should be justice based on internal factors merely and non external factors as the external environment is beyond direction control. However, the just value group disputed that by stating if direction made a determination to buy ( state an assets ) which devalue in future, it shows hapless direction stewardship. Hence, it is the arguably that with recent debut and execution of Statement of Comprehensive Income which records the alteration in market monetary values individually from the internally generated net incomes, it is easier for stakeholders to judge direction stewardship under just value measuring. On the other manus, just value arguably forces direction to do existent economic determination. Historically utilizing cost-based measuring, histories are capable to use. For illustration, direction may detain income net incomes through income smoothing or convey forward hereafter losingss through commissariats. However, IAS37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets states that merely specific proviso is allowed. In the instance of proviso for dubious debts, company must able to place specific debitors whom expected to default or otherwise, no general proviso for dubious debts is permitted. With just value measuring, assets or liabilities are captured at market monetary values which considered indifferent step non capable to policies use. It so forces direction to do existent economic determinations on whether to get, keep or dispose assets or to incur, owe or settle liabilities. However, the downside consequence for usage of just value measuring is it encourages abruptly sighted net incomes and ignores long term benefits which may consequences in loss of chances.

In decision, debut of just value measuring in the fiscal statements creates alternate and betterment to traditional cost accounting. It serves to accomplish the couple aims of fiscal statement which is supplying utile information and appraisal of direction stewardship. The chief unfavorable judgment of just value measuring is that it is excessively theoretical and academic to be of important practical usage. However, it is argues that in the long-run the quality fiscal information will better with clearer guidelines and greater consistence. There has been farther unfavorable judgment late that the IASB is forcing through an docket which is damaging to and against the wants of commercialism and industry. The IASB nevertheless believe that they have progressed with the general credence and co-operation of the fiscal community. The focal point of fiscal statement is to supply utile information through chiefly the balance sheet, income statement and hard currency flows statement peculiarly to investors, as suppliers of hazard capital whom demand relevant, dependable, apprehensible and comparable information to measure the built-in hazards and possible return on their investings. Fair value measuring doubtless enhanced relevancy of information through showing up-to-date, prognostic and collateral information which influences economic determinations. On the other manus, cost-based measuring proved dependability through faithful representation and prudent information which is free from material mistake and reflect true and just position. In the current dynamic environment, a displacement to fair value measuring is deemed more appropriate. The standard compositor such as IASB has shift to concentrate to fair value measuring with recent development and debut of just value measuring criterions. One of them are IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements – in order to understate the volatility of net incomes as a consequence of monetary value ( from acceptance of just value measuring ) , IASB introduced ‘other comprehensive income ‘ which is at the underside of a individual public presentation statement of comprehensive income ( or the income statement ) to enter any alterations in just value- separated from the ordinary trading net income or loss. This allows appraisal of direction stewardships through dividing internally generated net incomes against external monetary value alteration. After all, the execution and acceptance of just value systems must be measured in footings of the costs versus benefits. In add-on, it is assumingly consecutive forward when monetary values of assets and liabilities are quoted in an active market. Otherwise, for illiquid assets or liabilities where no active market in topographic point, subjectiveness came into drama. Therefore, unless assets and liabilities monetary values are quoted in active market and that benefits outweigh costs, it entreaties as challenges to standard compositors to implement full just value measuring systems.


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