Contingent Assets Meaning, Explanation and FAQs

The table below shows the treatment for an entity depending on the likelihood of an item happening. The key principle established by the Standard is that a provision should be recognised only when there is a liability i.e. a present obligation resulting from past events. Contingent assets are possible assets whose existence will be confirmed by the occurrence or non-occurrence of uncertain future events that are not wholly within the control of the entity. Contingent assets are not recognized, but they are disclosed when it is more likely than not that an inflow of benefits will occur. However, when the inflow of benefits is virtually certain an asset is recognized in the statement of financial position because that asset is no longer considered to be contingent.

  • Both generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) require companies to record contingent liabilities.
  • The key principle established by the Standard is that a provision should be recognized only when there is a liability i.e. a present obligation resulting from past events.
    An employee was injured at work in 20X8 due to faulty equipment and is suing Rey Co.
  • Once you have viewed this piece of content, to ensure you can access the content most relevant to you, please confirm your territory.

Contingent liabilities are liabilities that depend on the outcome of an uncertain event. An estimated liability is certain to occur—so, an amount is always entered into the accounts even if the precise amount is not known at the time of data entry. Contingent assets are not recorded even if they are probable and the amount of gain can be estimated. Only if the company wins the court case & gains from it, the contingent asset will actually be realized. Detailed guide on interpreting and implementing IFRS, with illustrative examples and extracts from financial statements.

Future operating losses

Then in the next year, the chief accountant could reverse this provision, by debiting the liability and crediting the statement of profit or loss. This is effectively an attempt to move $3m profit from the current year into the next financial year. IAS 37 defines and specifies the accounting for and disclosure of provisions, contingent liabilities, and contingent assets.

  • And similarly, the ICAI has also published Accounting Standard 29 to deal with the same.
  • In case of uncertain events where the company is not in control of the events, there might be times when some of the contingent assets are not included.
  • This is because there will not be a one-off payment, so Rey Co should calculate the estimate of all likely repairs.
  • In the event of an audit, the company must be able to explain and defend its contingent accounting decisions.
  • Therefore, many companies utilized so-called “big bath provisioning” in order to smooth profits.

The conversion from the bond to stock can be done at certain times during the bond’s life and is usually at the discretion of the bondholder. Convertible bonds allow holders to convert their bonds into stock at a specified price, thus participating in some of the upside of the company. As a result, convertible bonds carry lower interest rates than traditional bonds.

Recognition and disclosure of contingent assets

Some examples of the incidents would include insurance claims, litigations, and pending disputes. So, the liabilities rising during those situations will be known as contingent liabilities. A business accounting journal is used to record all business transactions. Each business transaction is recorded using the double-entry accounting method, with a credit entry to one account and a debit entry to another.

ICAS report on IAS 37 and decommissioning liabilities

Gains from the expected disposal of assets shall not be taken into account in measuring a provision. The future operating losses can be avoided by some future actions, for example – by selling a business. In other words, if there is no past event, then there is no liability and no provision should be recognized.

A business may disclose the existence of a contingent asset in the notes accompanying the financial statements when the inflow of economic benefits is probable. Doing so at least reveals the presence of a possible asset to the readers of the financial statements. IAS 37 defines and also specifies the accounting for and disclosure of the provisions, of all the contingent liabilities, and all the contingent assets. A provision here is described as a liability of uncertain timing or amount.

Contingent liabilities are not recognised, but are disclosed unless the possibility of an outflow of economic resources is remote. The time value of money
If the time value of money is material (generally if the potential outflow is payable in one year or more), the provision should be discounted to present value initially. Subsequently, the discount on this provision would be unwound over time, to record the provision at the actual amount payable. The unwinding of this discount would be recorded in the statement of profit or loss as a finance cost. The final criteria required is that there needs to be a probable outflow of economic resources. There is no specific guidance of what percentage likelihood is required for an outflow to be probable.

Disclosure of a Contingent Asset

Anticipated mergers and acquisitions are to be disclosed in the financial statements. A contingent asset is a potential economic benefit that is dependent on some future event(s) largely out of a company’s control. In such cases, an entity need not disclose the information, but shall disclose the general nature of the dispute, together with the fact that, and reason why, the information has not been disclosed. A contingent asset is a possible asset arising from past events that will be confirmed by some future events not fully under the entity’s control.

A company involved in a lawsuit that expects to receive compensation has a contingent asset because the outcome of the case is not yet known and the dollar amount is yet to be determined. An obligating event is an event that creates a legal or constructive obligation and, therefore, results in an entity having no realistic alternative but to settle the obligation. If a court is likely to rule in favor of the plaintiff, whether because there is strong evidence of wrongdoing or some other factor, the company should report a contingent liability equal to probable damages.

Key definitions [IAS 37.10]

Contingent asset accounting policies for GAAP, meanwhile, are mainly outlined in the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 450. The amount of the obligation cannot be measured with sufficient reliability. Restructuring is a plan of management to change the scope of business or a manner of conducting a business.

Contingent liabilities means liabilities that depend on the outcome of an uncertain event must pass two thresholds before they can be reported in financial statements. First, it must be possible to estimate the value of the contingent liability. If the value can be estimated, the liability must have a greater than a 50% chance of being realized. Qualifying contingent liabilities are recorded as an expense on the income statement and a liability on the balance sheet. If the contingent loss is remote, meaning it has less than a 50% chance of occurring, the liability should not be reflected on the balance sheet. Any contingent liabilities that are questionable before their value can be determined should be disclosed in the footnotes to the financial statements.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *