本文是会计专业的Essay范例，题目是“An Impairment Loss Is Deemed To Have Occurred（减值损失被视为已经发生）”，1998年公布的国际会计准则36资产减值，随后在2004年和2008年进行了修订，旨在确保资产在财务状况表上的价值不大于其可收回金额。本文旨在批判性地评估减值损失发生的情况，并解释公司应该在什么时候进行资产减值审查，同时讨论减值决定对公司的财务状况和业绩的影响。
IAS 36 Impairment of assets published in 1998 and subsequently amended in 2004 and in 2008, seeks to ensure that an asset is not carried on the statement of financial position at a value that is greater that it’s recoverable amount. This paper aims to critically appraise the circumstances where an impairment loss is deemed to have occurred and explain when companies should perform an impairment review of assets, while discussing the effects of impairment decisions on the firm’s financial position and performance.
Previously there was little authoritative guidance on the accounting for asset impairments. The absence of explicit guidance for many assets permitted substantial discretion in terms of amounts and timing of write offs (Francis et al, 1996). Over time accounting standards have moved towards presenting more items at fair value on the Balance Sheet. In doing so IAS 36 tries to remove as much discretion as possible. The primary objective of IAS 36 Impairment of Assets is to ensure that an entity’s assets are carried at no more than their recoverable amount and the standard sets out the criteria for defining how the recoverable amount is determined. Entities are required to conduct impairment tests where there is an indication of impairment of an asset, with the exception of goodwill and certain intangible assets for which an annual impairment test is required. Intangible assets with an indefinite useful life, an intangible asset not yet available for use and acquired goodwill should all be measured annually whether or not there is any indication of impairment.
Impairment is deemed to occur when the carrying amount is higher than the recoverable amount (i.e. the value in use. the asset’s net selling price or the fair value as determined in accordance with IFRS 13). At the end of each reporting period an entity is required to assess whether there is any indication of impairment. If an indication of impairment is evident then the assets recoverable amount must be calculated [IAS 36.9]. An impairment loss is recognised where the recoverable amount is below the carrying amount [IAS 36.59]. The impairment loss should be immediately recognised, generally as an expense unless it relates to a revalued asset where the impairment loss is treated as a revaluation decrease [IAS 36.60]. In the case of goodwill, a cash-generating unit to which goodwill has been allocated shall be tested for impairment at least annually by comparing the carrying amount of the unit, including the goodwill, with the recoverable amount of the unit: [IAS 36.90] In each situation, if the carrying amount of the unit exceeds the recoverable amount of the unit, the entity must recognise an impairment loss. This is a radical change in accounting for goodwill. Previously, International Accounting Standards required recognition of Goodwill subject to amortisation over its useful lifetime.
Indicators of impairment are set out in IAS 36 with a view to making the decision less subjective than previously was the case. Negative changes in technology, markets, economy and law could all have adverse impact on the value of an entity’s assets. Indicators of impairment could be as a result of internal or external sources. The market value of an asset may decline as a result of usage or the passage of time. Other external indicators of a decline in value could be the result of significant technological, market, economic, or legal changes which occur and have an adverse effect on the asset or entity. Market interest rates may impact the discount rate used in calculating the value in use of an asset and therefore decreasing its recoverable amount. Internal indicators of an impairment review could be the result of obsolete or physically damage assets, or if an asset is part of a restructure or held for sale, or where the economic performance of an asset is worse than expected.
Despite the standard being objectively set, it can be difficult in determining the measurement of value attributable in assessing impairment options. The timings and measurement of asset write-downs rely heavily on estimates. A number of features of impairment testing and measurement process make implementation a challenge. Triggering events to indicate impairment are many and vary greatly in significance and severity. Different valuation models are used and there is little conformity in the selection of discount rates. (Comiskey and Mulford, 2010). A difference in nature continues to exist between fair values disclosed by management. While the standard seeks to increase transparency and eliminate the subjectivity of accounting for impairments, the exercise for determining if an asset is impaired and by how much remains at management’s discretion. It was felt that previously management took advantage of the discretion afforded by accounting rules to manipulate earnings either by not recognising impairment when it has occurred or by recognising it only when it is advantages (to them) to do so (Francis et al, 1996). The standard now seeks to address this discretion by requiring annual impairment (Goodwill and intangibles) or impairment reviews to be carried out whenever there is an indication of impairment. Even still, there is an element of discretion afforded to the calculation of impairments and so management incentives to manage earnings can still play a part in any impairment decisions. These estimates might be managed to alter or avoid impairments, limiting the comparability across firms. A goodwill impairment loss, for example, is estimated in most cases from management’s projections of future cash flows (Z Li et al, 2011). This is problematic to the investors who are unable to see through these potential manipulations. Indeed, investors and analysts have the option to adjust, or indeed totally ignore, reported accounting numbers, therefore it is far less certain whether this reporting behaviour actually misleads users or reduces reliability and relevance (Lhaopadchan, 2010). Additionally, financial statements differ from the management accounts used by an entity and the effect of any impairment further widens a gap already existing between management information accounts used by the board and the financial statements audited and published.
尽管标准是客观设定的，但在评估减值期权时，很难确定可归因于价值的衡量方法。资产减记的时机和衡量方法在很大程度上依赖于估算。减值检测和测量过程的一些特点给实施带来了挑战。提示损伤的触发事件很多，在意义和严重程度上差异很大。采用了不同的估值模型，在贴现率的选择上存在很大的一致性。(Comiskey and Mulford, 2010)。管理层披露的公允价值在本质上仍然存在差异。虽然该标准寻求提高透明度，并消除计提减值的主观性，但确定资产是否减值以及减值多少仍由管理层自行决定。人们认为，以前的管理层利用会计规则所赋予的自由裁量权来操纵收益，要么在发生减值时不予以确认，要么在(对他们)有利的情况下才予以确认(Francis et al, 1996)。现在，该标准要求在出现减值迹象时进行年度减值(商誉和无形资产)或减值审查，以解决这种酌情权问题。即便如此，在减值的计算中仍存在斟酌因素，因此管理盈余的激励措施仍可在任何减值决策中发挥作用。这些估计可以设法改变或避免损失，限制公司之间的可比性。例如，商誉减值损失在大多数情况下是根据管理层对未来现金流的预测来估计的(Z Li et al, 2011)。这对那些无法看透这些潜在操纵行为的投资者来说是个问题。事实上，投资者和分析师可以选择调整或完全忽略所报告的会计数字，因此，这种报告行为是否真的误导用户或降低可靠性和相关性就不那么确定了(Lhaopadchan, 2010)。此外，财务报表不同于实体使用的管理帐户，任何减值的影响进一步扩大了董事会使用的管理信息帐户与审计和公布的财务报表之间已经存在的差距。
Earnings manipulation is one such concern given the judgemental approach to the indication of and calculation of impairment. One of the most widely cited papers that investigate the effect of executive compensation plan on accounting choice is Healy (1985). Healy hypothesizes that managers have an economic incentive to manipulate earnings in order to increase their cash compensation, this being the case certain accounting standards allow for this more than others and IAS 36 still allows for an element of judgement in the calculation of impairments. Furthermore, papers have cited the nature behind recognition (or lack of recognition) of impairments and IAS 36 permits an impairment loss on a long lived asset to be reversed if the economic value of the asset recovers. This has been seen to have a direct impact on the practice of impairments whereby reversibility has a positive effect on a manager’s decision to record asset impairments. ‘Permitting reversals significantly increases the likelihood that a manager will record the impairment’ (Trottier 2013) thus highlighting the discretion that management can withhold towards the treatment of impairments.
Volatile financial markets and shifting economic conditions can impact the value of a company’s assets across the Balance Sheet. The recent global meltdown of financial markets was accompanied by highly publicised asset write-downs (Spear and Taylor 2011) and so the standard seeks to address the transparency of the financial statements by ensuring that impairments are directly reflected through the profit and loss account and statement of comprehensive income, disclosed by class of asset. It is not surprising that the most frequent write down activities took place during periods of economic recession confirming the strong relationship between asset write-downs and economic conditions. In 2013 the consolidated results of PSA Peugeot Citroen saw a €1,101 million impairment charge, mainly recognised with respect to the assets of the Automotive Division, primarily to reflect the deteriorating automobile markets and adverse exchange rate movements in Russia and Latin America. Additionally, in 2014 Vodafone’s end of year profits dropped after a £6.6bn impairment relating to the value of European operations whereby lower than expected cash flows were the result of a tougher macroeconomic environment and heavy price competition contributing to a total decline in revenues. Both investors and financial analysts revise their expectations downward on the announcement of an impairment loss. The negative impact of the loss serves as a leading indicator of a decline in the future profitability of an entity. (Z Li et al, 2011).
动荡的金融市场和不断变化的经济状况会影响资产负债表上公司资产的价值。最近全球金融市场的崩溃伴随着高度公开的资产减记(Spear和Taylor 2011)，因此该标准寻求解决财务报表的透明度，确保减值直接反映在损益表和综合收益表中，按资产类别披露。毫不奇怪，最频繁的减记活动发生在经济衰退期间，这证实了资产减记与经济状况之间的密切关系。2013年，标致雪铁龙集团(PSA Peugeot Citroen)的合并业绩出现了11.01亿欧元的减值支出，主要是针对汽车部门的资产，主要反映了日益恶化的汽车市场和俄罗斯和拉丁美洲不利的汇率变动。此外，2014年，沃达丰在欧洲业务计入66亿英镑减值后，其年终利润出现下滑。欧洲业务现金流低于预期，是宏观经济环境恶化和激烈的价格竞争导致总收入下降的结果。投资者和金融分析师都下调了他们对减值损失的预期。亏损的负面影响是一个实体未来盈利能力下降的先行指标。(zli et al, 2011)。
In conclusion, despite the presumed benefits associated with Fair Value accounting, it is shown that in practice managerial self-interests and earnings management concerns appear to motivate many impairment decisions (Lhaopadchan, 2010). IAS 36 goes further than any previous standard and subsequent amendments to eliminate any subjectivity involved in highlighting and calculating an impairment loss. While goodwill should be assessed annually for impairment other potentially impaired assets are only reviewed in detail for impairment if there is an indication of impairment, some of which are highlighted by the standard itself, however the indicator of impairment could go unidentified resulting in misleading financial statements. Additionally many calculations of impairment use management projections which could include error or contain an element of managerial self-interest and manipulation. Generally speaking the reaction of market participants to any impairment disclosed in the financial statements is of a negative nature with the exception of restructuring costs for which highlight future spend. While the standard seeks to provide a truer and fairer representation of asset value it should be noted with caution the subjective nature of any calculations. Even with an unqualified audit report on the financial statements the audit opinion on impairment is only as good as the information provided and made available to the external auditors.
Hence, it can be concluded that IAS 36 Impairment of assets has come far to contribute to improve the transparency of the financial statements by successfully determining when and how impairment reviews should be conducted, however there will remain an element of managerial judgement for which caution should be taken by all users of the financial statements.
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