Including estimates of the future in today's financial statements
AbstractThis paper explains why the question is how, not if, today's financial statements should include estimates of the future. Including such estimates is not new, but their use is increasing. This increase results primarily because standard setters believe asset and liability measures that reflect current economic conditions and up-to-date expectations of the future will result in more useful information for making economic decisions, which is the objective of financial reporting. This is why standard setters seem focused on fair value accounting. How estimates of the future are incorporated in financial statements depends on the asset and liability measurement attribute, and on financial reporting definitions of assets and liabilities. The present definitions depend on identifying past transactions or events that give rise to expected inflows or outflows of economic benefits and, for inflows, control over the expected benefits. Thus, not all expected inflows or outflows of economic benefits are recognised. Note disclosures can help users understand recognised estimates, and can provide information about unrecognised estimates. Including more estimates of the future in today's financial statements would result in an income measure that differs from today's income, but arguably provides better information for making economic decisions.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 208.
Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
financial statements; fair value; financial reporting;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
- G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
- M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Accounting - - - Accounting
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2007-06-18 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2007-06-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2007-06-18 (Business Economics)
- NEP-CFN-2007-06-18 (Corporate Finance)
- NEP-HIS-2007-06-18 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-MAC-2007-06-18 (Macroeconomics)
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- Mary Barth & Wayne Landsman, 2010. "How did Financial Reporting Contribute to the Financial Crisis?," European Accounting Review, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 399-423.
- Jannis Bischof & Ulf Brüggemann & Holger Daske, 2012. "Fair Value Reclassifications of Financial Assets during the Financial Crisis," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2012-010, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
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