ICAEW study on measurement in financial statements

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11 Nov 2006

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has published a study on Measurement in Financial Reporting).

The report examines various measurement bases used in financial reporting currently and concludes that there is not one basis that is the best for all items in all circumstances. The report states:

'Making the case for change' puts the onus on showing that there is a problem that needs to be solved. In the context of financial reporting measurement this may be the case where:

  • people are confronted with a measurement problem and do not know how to deal with it;
  • worthwhile information that could be provided is not being provided;
  • information that is being provided is not worthwhile or even has negative effects - for example, because it is misleading.

It should not be assumed that every case of inconsistency in measurement is a problem that needs to be remedied. This report puts forward the following working hypotheses: that it may be appropriate in making decisions on measurement requirements:

  • to adopt a mixed approach to measurement for different items in accounts; and
  • to distinguish between different types of entity in accordance with their industry, ownership and governance structure, and size.

'Evaluation of options' should include the option to do nothing. Once the costs of potential changes (including the costs of making the change) have been taken into account and their likely benefits considered, it may become clear that the most sensible policy is to leave things as they are.

Click for Full Report (PDF 287k).

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