Unlike IFRS Standards, if substantial doubt is raised in Step 1 about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern, the extent of disclosure depends on the outcome of Step 2 and whether that doubt is alleviated by management’s plans. Disclosures of material uncertainties that may cast doubt on a company’s ability to continue as a going concern as well as significant judgments involved in close-call scenarios may be more frequent as a result of COVID-19, given the continued economic uncertainty. Management should critically assess the disclosure requirements of IAS 1 and consider drafting required disclosure language early in the financial reporting process.
This differs from the value that would be realized if its assets were liquidated—the liquidation value—because an ongoing operation has the ability to continue to earn a profit, which contributes to its value. A company should always be considered a going concern unless there is a good reason to believe that it will be going out of business. Even if the company’s future is questionable and its status as a going concern appears to be in question – e.g. there are potential catalysts that could raise significant concerns – the company’s financials should still be prepared on a going concern basis.
- Listing of long-term assets normally does not appear in a company’s quarterly statements or as a line item on balance sheets.
- Their mitigating effect is considered under Step 2 to determine if they alleviate the substantial doubt raised in Step 1, but only if certain conditions are met.
- If and when an entity’s liquidation becomes imminent, financial statements are prepared under the liquidation basis of accounting (Financial Accounting Standards Board, 2014).
- The terms ‘material uncertainties’ and ‘significant doubt’ are important – this standard phrasing is expected to be used in the basis of preparation note to the financial statements.
- For a company to be a going concern, it must be able to continue operating long enough to carry out its commitments, obligations, objectives, and so on.
- There are also a number of quantifiable, measurable indicators that auditors use to measure going concern.
After conducting a thorough review (audit) of the business’s financials, the auditor will provide a report with their assessment. It is possible for a company to mitigate an auditor’s view of its going concern status by having a third party guarantee the debts of the business or agree to provide additional funds as needed. By doing so, the auditor is reasonably assured that the business will remain functional during the one-year period stipulated by GAAS. This makes it easy for a parent company to ensure that its subsidiaries are always classified as going concerns. If the accountant believes that an entity may no longer be a going concern, then this brings up the issue of whether its assets are impaired, which may call for the write-down of their carrying amount to their liquidation value. By contrast, the going concern assumption is the opposite of assuming liquidation, which is defined as the process when a company’s operations are forced to a halt and its assets are sold to willing buyers for cash.
The valuation of companies in need of restructuring values a company as a collection of assets, which serves as the basis of the liquidation value. In addition, management must include commentary regarding its plans on how to alleviate the risks, which are attached in the footnotes section of a company’s 10-Q or 10-K. More specifically, companies are obligated to disclose the risks and potential events that could impede their ability to operate and cause them to undergo liquidation (i.e. be forced out of business). The reason the going concern assumption bears such importance in financial reporting is that it validates the use of historical cost accounting.
Q&As, interpretive guidance and illustrative examples include insights into how continued economic uncertainty may affect going concern assessments. This latest edition includes illustrative application of going concern’s most significant complexities. If managers or auditors believe that a company is at risk of going bust within 12 months, they are required to formally express that doubt in their financial accounts. Going concern is an accounting term used to identify whether a company is likely to survive the next year. Companies that are not a going concern may not have enough money to survive, and this fact must be publicly disclosed when an auditor audits their financial statements.
Factors to consider include when the financial statements are authorized for issuance and whether there is any known event occurring after the minimum period of 12 months from the reporting date relevant to the analysis. For a company to be a going concern, it must be able to continue operating long enough to carry out its commitments, obligations, objectives, and so on. In other words, the company will not have to liquidate or be forced out of business. If there is uncertainty as to a company’s ability to meet the going concern assumption, the facts and conditions must be disclosed in its financial statements. Going concern is an accounting assumption that businesses follow as part of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles while drawing up their financial statements and reports.
They can help business review their internal risk management along with other internal controls. To meet these disclosure requirements, in our view, similar information to that in respect of material uncertainties may be relevant to the users’ understanding of the company’s financial statements, as appropriate. An entity must include disclosures related to uncertainty about its ability to continue as a going concern in the notes to the financial statements in annual and interim periods until the conditions or events giving rise to the uncertainty are resolved. As the conditions or events giving rise to the uncertainty and management’s plans to alleviate them change over time, the disclosures should change to provide users with the most current information, including information about how the uncertainty is resolved. Also significant is the fact that if a business is determined to be a going concern that means that it can pay its liabilities and realize its assets. The company’s auditor is the employee who must determine whether or not the company is still a going concern and they report their findings to the Board of Directors.
There are advantages of following the concept or principle in the accounting policies.
The auditor evaluates an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern for a period not less than one year following the date of the financial statements being audited (a longer period may be considered if the auditor believes such extended period to be relevant). If so, the auditor must draw attention to the uncertainty regarding the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, in their auditor’s report. Separate standards and guidance have been issued by the Auditing Practices Board to address the work of auditors in relation to going concern. Management must also consider the likelihood, magnitude and timing of the potential effects of any adverse conditions and events. Management’s evaluation of whether substantial doubt is raised (step 1) does not take into consideration the potential mitigating effect of management’s plans that have not been fully implemented as of the date that the financial statements are issued (step 2). Historically management may have a track record of successfully planning and executing on similar plans, such as a refinancing, restructuring or asset disposal, which in a normal operating environment would support the feasibility of the plan.
Under GAAP standards, companies are required to disclose material information that enables their viewers – in particular, its shareholders, lenders, etc. – to understand the true financial health of the company. For example, under US GAAP, the look-forward period for a company with a December 31, 20X0 balance sheet date and financial statements issued on March 31, 20X1 is the 12-month period ended March 31, 20X2. US GAAP requires management’s plans to meet certain conditions to be considered in the assessment. Going concern is not included in the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) but is included in the generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS). A financial auditor is hired by a business to evaluate whether its assessment of going concern is accurate.
Consequences of a Negative Going Concern Opinion
An entity is assumed to be a going concern in the absence of significant information to the contrary. An example of such contrary information is an entity’s inability to meet its obligations as they come due without substantial asset sales or debt restructurings. If such were not the case, an entity would essentially be acquiring assets with the intention of closing its operations and reselling the assets to another party.
Because the US GAAP guidance is more developed in this area, it may provide certain useful reference points for IFRS Standards preparers – e.g. to identify adverse conditions and events or to assess the mitigating effects of management’s plans. However, dual reporters should be mindful of the differing 10 tips on how to lower operating costs for medium size business frameworks, terminologies and potentially different outcomes in their going concern conclusions. Our IFRS Standards resources will help you to better understand the potential accounting and disclosure implications of COVID-19 for your company, and the actions management can take now.
Going Concern Assumption
A qualified opinion can be a concern to investors, lenders and other stakeholders. The going concern principle is the assumption that an entity will remain in business for the foreseeable future. Conversely, this means the entity will not be forced to halt operations and liquidate its assets in the near term at what may be very low fire-sale prices. By making this assumption, the accountant is justified in deferring the recognition of certain expenses until a later period, when the entity will presumably still be in business and using its assets in the most effective manner possible. In the case there is substantial yet unreported doubt about the company’s continuance after the date of reporting (i.e. twelve months), then management has failed its fiduciary duty to its stakeholders and has violated its reporting requirements.
The going concern approach utilizes the standard intrinsic and relative valuation approaches, with the shared assumption that the company (or companies) will be operating perpetually. The going concern assumption – i.e. the company will remain in existence indefinitely – comes with broad implications on corporate valuation, as one might reasonably expect. In the context of corporate valuation, companies can be valued on either a going concern basis or a liquidation basis. In the absence of the going concern assumption, companies would be required to recognize asset values under the implicit assumption of impending liquidation.
Often, management will be incentivized to downplay the risks and focus on its plans to mitigate the conditional events – which is understandable given their duties to uphold the valuation (i.e. share price) of the company – yet the facts must still be disclosed. In-depth analysis, examples and insights to give you an advantage in understanding the requirements and implications of financial reporting issues. A company may not be a going concern based on the financial position on either its income statement or balance sheet. For example, a company’s annual expenses may so vastly outweigh its revenue that it can’t reasonably make a profit. On the other hand, a company may be operating at a profit buts its long-term liabilities are coming due and not enough money is being made.
Going concern: IFRS® Standards compared to US GAAP
IAS 1 states that management may need to consider a wide range of factors, including current and forecasted profitability, debt maturities and replacement financing options before satisfying its going concern assessment. Unlike IFRS Standards, the going concern assessment is performed for a finite period of 12 months from the date the financial statements are issued (or available to be issued for nonpublic entities). Known or knowable events beyond the look-forward period can be ignored in the going concern assessment, although disclosure of their potential effects may still be required by other standards. Management assesses all available information about the future for at least, but not limited to, 12 months from the reporting date. This means the 12-month period is a minimum and management needs to exercise judgment to determine the appropriate look-forward period under the circumstances.
Guide to Going Concern Assessments
However, market conditions have changed as a result of COVID-19 – e.g. financing may be significantly more difficult and more costly to obtain now. US GAAP includes a two-step process that first determines whether substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern is raised. If substantial doubt is raised, management then assesses whether that substantial doubt is alleviated by management’s plans.