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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Measurement of the Elements of Financial Statements

Here is a verbatim copy of some paragraphs of the International Accounting Standard Board´s

(Updated on 02-11-2014)

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Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements (1989)



Measurement of the Elements of Financial Statements

Par. 99. Measurement is the process of determining the monetary amounts at which the elements of the financial statements are to be recognised and carried in the balance sheet and income statement. This involves the selection of the particular basis of measurement.

Par. 100. A number of different measurement bases are employed to different degrees and in varying combinations in financial statements. They include the following:

(a) Historical cost. Assets are recorded at the amount of cash or cash equivalents paid or the fair value of the consideration given to acquire them at the time of their acquisition. Liabilities are recorded at the amount of proceeds received in exchange for the obligation, or in some circumstances (for example, income taxes), at the amounts of cash or cash equivalents expected to be paid to satisfy the liability in the normal course of business.

(b) Current cost. Assets are carried at the amount of cash or cash equivalents that would have to be paid if the same or an equivalent asset was acquired currently. Liabilities are carried at the undiscounted amount of cash or cash equivalents that would be required to settle the obligation currently.

(c) Realisable (settlement) value. Assets are carried at the amount of cash or cash equivalents that could currently be obtained by selling the asset in an orderly disposal. Liabilities are carried at their settlement values; that is, the undiscounted amounts of cash or cash equivalents expected to be paid to satisfy the liabilities in the normal course of business.

(d) Present value. Assets are carried at the present discounted value of the future net cash inflows that the item is expected to generate in the normal course of business. Liabilities are carried at the present discounted value of the future net cash outflows that are expected to be required to settle the liabilities in the normal course of business.

Par. 101. The measurement basis most commonly adopted by entities in preparing their financial statements is historical cost. This is usually combined with other measurement bases. For example, inventories are usually carried at the lower of cost and net realisable value, marketable securities may be carried at market value and pension liabilities are carried at their present value. Furthermore, some entities use the current cost basis as a response to the inability of the historical cost accounting model to deal with the effects of changing prices of non-monetary assets.




The above sections of the Framework do not include measurement in units of constant purchasing power. This comes next in the concept of capital and the concept of capital maintenance in the Framework. It is an actual measurement basis. It is the measurement basis currently used by all accountants worldwide - including SA accountants - to value salaries, wages, rentals, regulated prices, etc in units of constant purchasing power during low inflation. It is thus universally used for the valuation of only some income statement constant real value non-monetary items during low inflation.

It is required to be used for all non-monetary items - variable and constant real value non-monetary items - during hyperinflation. This is a requirement of IAS 29 Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies.

It is also required by the IASB to be used for the valuation of all income statement and balance sheet constant items during low inflation when accountants choose financial capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power in terms of the Framework, Par. 104 (a) during low inflation.

Measurement in units of constant purchasing power is thus completely generally accepted as a distinct and well understood and universally used measurement basis during low inflation. It is a generally accepted accounting principle (GAAP) during low, high and hyperinflation.


See the IASB deliberations regarding MEASUREMENT as of October 2014


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Nicolaas Smith Copyright (c) 2005-2014 Nicolaas J Smith. All rights reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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