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Including estimates of the future in today's financial statements

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  • Mary Barth

    (Stanford Graduate School of Business)

Abstract

This 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary Barth, 2006. "Including estimates of the future in today's financial statements," BIS Working Papers 208, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:208
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bo??tjan Jazbec, 2002. "Real Exchange Rates in Transition Economies," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 482, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    2. Vladislav Flek & Lenka Marková & Jiøí Podpiera, 2003. "Sectoral Productivity and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation: Much Ado about Nothing?," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 53(3-4), pages 130-153, March.
    3. Coricelli, Fabrizio & Jazbec, Bostjan, 2004. "Real exchange rate dynamics in transition economies," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 83-100, March.
    4. Egert, Balazs & Drine, Imed & Lommatzsch, Kirsten & Rault, Christophe, 2003. "The Balassa-Samuelson effect in Central and Eastern Europe: myth or reality?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 552-572.
    5. Christoph Fischer, 2004. "Real currency appreciation in accession countries: Balassa-Samuelson and investment demand," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 140(2), pages 179-210, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jens Wüstemann & Sonja Wüstemann, 2010. "Why Consistency of Accounting Standards Matters: A Contribution to the Rules-Versus-Principles Debate in Financial Reporting," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 46(1), pages 1-27.
    2. Demerjian, Peter R., 2011. "Accounting standards and debt covenants: Has the “balance sheet approach” led to a decline in the use of balance sheet covenants?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 178-202.
    3. Ehalaiye, Dimu & Tippett, Mark & van Zijl, Tony, 2017. "The predictive value of bank fair values," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 111-127.
    4. Marco Fasan & Carlo Marcon, 2014. "Accounting Tradition and other drivers of the Fair Value choice: An Opportunistic Management perspective," Working Papers 13, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    5. Diane M. Mayorga & Baljit K. Sidhu, 2012. "Corporate Disclosures of the Major Sources of Estimation Uncertainties," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 22(1), pages 25-39, March.
    6. De George, Emmanuel T. & Li, Xi & Shivakumar, Lakshmanan, 2016. "A review of the IFRS adoption literature," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67599, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Francesco Baldi & Lenos Trigeorgis, 2009. "Assessing the Value of Growth Option Synergies from Business Combinations and Testing for Goodwill Impairment: A Real Options Perspective," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 21(4), pages 115-124.
    8. Rodríguez Bolívar, Manuel Pedro & Navarro Galera, Andrés & Alcaide Muñoz, Laura, 2015. "Governance, transparency and accountability: An international comparison," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 136-174.
    9. 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.
    10. Michael Bromwich & Richard Macve & Shyam Sunder, 2010. "Hicksian Income in the Conceptual Framework," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 46(3), pages 348-376.
    11. Mary Barth & Wayne Landsman, 2010. "How did Financial Reporting Contribute to the Financial Crisis?," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 399-423.
    12. Mary E. Barth, 2015. "Financial Accounting Research, Practice, and Financial Accountability," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 51(4), pages 499-510, December.
    13. repec:wsi:rpbfmp:v:20:y:2017:i:01:n:s0219091517500060 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Badia, Marc & Duro, Miguel & Penalva, Fernando & Ryan, Stephen, 2017. "Conditionally conservative fair value measurements," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 75-98.
    15. Blacconiere, Walter G. & Frederickson, James R. & Johnson, Marilyn F. & Lewis, Melissa F., 2011. "Are voluntary disclosures that disavow the reliability of mandated fair value information informative or opportunistic?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 235-251.
    16. Brian Bratten & Monika Causholli & Urooj Khan, 2016. "Usefulness of fair values for predicting banks’ future earnings: evidence from other comprehensive income and its components," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 280-315, March.
    17. Geoffrey Whittington, 2010. "Measurement in Financial Reporting," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 46(1), pages 104-110.
    18. Igor Goncharov & Sander Triest, 2014. "Unintended Consequences of Changing Accounting Standards: The Case of Fair Value Accounting and Mandatory Dividends," Abacus, Accounting Foundation, University of Sydney, vol. 50(3), pages 341-367, September.
    19. Emmanuel T. De George & Xi Li & Lakshmanan Shivakumar, 2016. "A review of the IFRS adoption literature," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 898-1004, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    financial statements; fair value; financial reporting;

    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; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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