Contingent Assets and Liabilities IAS 37

With help of our notes, students can know the meaning of contingent assets in the best way. Any case with an ambiguous chance of success should be noted in the financial statements but do not need to be listed on the balance sheet as a liability. Suppose a lawsuit is filed against a company, and the plaintiff claims damages up to $250,000. It’s impossible to know whether the company should report a contingent liability of $250,000 based solely on this information.

Contingent assets also crop up when companies expect to receive money through the use of a warranty. Other examples include benefits to be received from an estate or other court settlement. Anticipated mergers and acquisitions are to be disclosed in the financial statements.

  • A provision is a liability of uncertain timing or amount, meaning that there is some question over either how much will be paid or when this will be paid.
  • This accrual account permits the firm to immediately post an expense without the need for a quick cash payment.
  • Contingent liabilities are not recognised, but are disclosed unless the possibility of an outflow of economic resources is remote.

If, for example, the company forecasts that 200 seats must be replaced under warranty for $50, the firm posts a debit (increase) to warranty expense for $10,000 and a credit (increase) to accrued warranty liability for $10,000. At the end of the year, the accounts are adjusted for the actual warranty expense incurred. Candidates are required to learn the three key criteria for a provision, as they are likely to have to explain these in an exam. Careful attention must also be paid to the calculations involved in the recording of a provision, particularly those around long-term provisions and including them at present value. If candidates are able to do this, then provisions can be an area where they can score highly in the FR exam. By 31 December 20X9, when Rey Co is required to make the payment, the liability should be showing at $10m, not $9.09m.

What is a Contingent Asset?

Under GAAP, a contingent liability is defined as any potential future loss that depends on a “triggering event” to turn into an actual expense. FRC report summarising the key findings from its review of IAS 37 disclosures. The review covered contingent liabilities, contingent assets, reimbursement assets as well as significant judgements and estimates. But sometimes there may be a case where important and relevant information is left out of such statements due to these accounting concepts. The best example of both sides of a contingent asset and contingent liability is a lawsuit.

The ICAEW Library & Information Service provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. EBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact This is where a company establishes an expectation through an established course of past practice. This rule has two parts, first the type of obligation, and second, the requirement for it to arise from a past event (ie something must already have happened to create the obligation).

  • In these notes for contingent assets and liabilities, we are going to discuss both of these topics so that students can have an idea about the chapter and can score good marks in the examinations.
  • Contingent liabilities also include obligations that are not recognised because their amount cannot be measured reliably or because settlement is not probable.
  • Any contingent liabilities that are questionable before their value can be determined should be disclosed in the footnotes to the financial statements.
  • At the end of the year, the accounts are adjusted for the actual warranty expense incurred.
  • The treatment of a contingent asset is not consistent with the treatment of a contingent liability, which should be recorded when it is probable (thereby preserving the conservative nature of the financial statements).
  • This content is for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors.

And similarly, the ICAI has also published Accounting Standard 29 to deal with the same. IFRS 3 (2008) resulted from a joint project with the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and replaced IFRS 3 (2004). The revisions result in a high degree of convergence between IFRSs and US GAAP how to monitor and understand budget variances in the accounting for business combinations, although some potentially significant differences remain. Pending lawsuits are considered contingent because the outcome is unknown. A warranty is considered contingent because the number of products that will be returned under a warranty is unknown.

IFRS 3 — Business Combinations

The contingent liability may be acknowledged in a footnote on the financial statements unless both the conditions are not met. The lawsuits which are pending and also the product warranties are the common contingent liability examples as their outcomes are not quite certain. The accounting rules for recording this contingent liability vary depending on the estimated dollar which amounts to the liability and is the likelihood of the event that is occurring.

Such an asset or economic interest arises from an uncertain and unpredictable event. The accounting treatment of an entity’s pre-combination interest in an acquiree is consistent with the view that the obtaining of control is a significant economic event that triggers a remeasurement. Consistent with this view, all of the assets and liabilities of the acquiree are fully remeasured in accordance with the requirements of IFRS 3 (generally at fair value). Accordingly, the determination of goodwill occurs only at the acquisition date. This is different to the accounting for step acquisitions under IFRS 3(2004). A contingent liability is a potential liability that may occur in the future, such as pending lawsuits or honoring product warranties.

IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards

Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. That standard replaced parts of IAS 10 Contingencies and Events Occurring after the Balance Sheet Date that was issued in 1978 and that dealt with contingencies. Read our latest news, features and press releases and see our calendar of events, meetings, conferences, webinars and workshops. The work plan includes all projects undertaken by the IFRS Foundation Trustees, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the IFRS Interpretations Committee. Public consultations are a key part of all our projects and are indicated on the work plan. Our Standards are developed by our two standard-setting boards, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

Then that particular asset will not be considered as a contingent asset example. A contingent asset is a potential asset or economic benefit for a company. The occurrence of such a contingent asset depends on the occurrence or the non-occurrence of a particular set of events over which the company itself does not have full control.

Let us suppose that Unreal Pvt Ltd. files a case of patent violation on Real Pvt. Now, the former can’t recognize this as a contingent asset even if it is sure to win and the amount can be estimated. Only when the lawsuit is settled and a sure amount is to be received at a specific time can this be recognized in the books of Unreal Pvt Ltd. as a Contingent Asset.

Business combinations – Combinations by contract alone or involving mutual entities

EXAMPLE
At 31 December 20X8, the legal advisors of Rey Co now believe that the $10m payment from the court case would be payable in one year. It can be seen here that Rey Co could only recognise an asset from a potential inflow if the realisation of income is virtually certain. For some ACCA candidates, specific IFRS® standards are more favoured than others.

This is where IAS 37 is used to ensure that companies report only those provisions that meet certain criteria. A provision is measured at the amount that the entity would rationally pay to settle the obligation at the end of the reporting period or to transfer it to a third party at that time. Assuming that concern is facing a legal case from a rival firm for the infringement of a patent. Contingent liabilities are not recognised, but are disclosed unless the possibility of an outflow of economic resources is remote.

An example is litigation against the entity when it is uncertain whether the entity has committed an act of wrongdoing and when it is not probable that settlement will be needed. Contingent liabilities must pass two thresholds before they can be reported in financial statements. If the value can be estimated, the liability must have more than a 50% chance of being realized. Now assume that a lawsuit liability is possible but not probable and the dollar amount is estimated to be $2 million. Under these circumstances, the company discloses the contingent liability in the footnotes of the financial statements.

Although contingent liabilities are necessarily estimates, they only exist where it is probable that some amount of payment will be made. This is why they need to be reported via accounting procedures, and why they are regarded as “real” liabilities. Contingent liabilities are also important for potential lenders to a company, who will take these liabilities into account when deciding on their lending terms. Business leaders should also be aware of contingent liabilities, because they should be considered when making strategic decisions about a company’s future. Onerous contracts
Onerous contracts are those in which the costs of meeting the contract will exceed any benefits which will flow to the entity from the contract.

Leave a Reply