Accounting Theory - Assessment
Investigation exercise of 1500 words (minimum) and 2000 words maximum (excluding in- text referencing, tables, appendices and bibliography)
Describe and analyse the different ways that elements of financial reporting, as defined in the IASB Conceptual Framework, can be measured by listed companies. You are not constrained in this analysis to any one country or set of national accounting standards. Of course Australia is under International Financial Reporting Standards but your research could identify examples of companies operating under U.S. GAAP, Chinese National Accounting Standards or some other regulations/guidelines that illustrate what you want to discuss. In completing this assignment, you are required to:
a. Quote examples of measurement methodologies from company annual reports.
b. Clearly reference your sources.
c. In explaining how a company has measured an element, explain how the measurement method provided decision-useful information and what you understand decision-useful information to be.
d. Provide a critical analysis of the techniques the selected company has used and why a technique deployed may be more useful or practical than another method.
An example is Table 6.1 in Henderson (next page) if an Australian company buys shares in another company and has no special relationship with that company (typically a small holding of shares) then the company doing the investing can account for the financial asset using cost methodology or fair value methodology. Fair value methodology would mean “marking to market” the asset, in other words finding out its value on the market and revising its carrying amount up and down to that. On that other had if it chose the cost method then no adjustments are permitted upwards. The asset still could be impaired however.
As another example, two techniques have been appended that show how bond liabilities and interest expense are reported and measured in Australia and the USA. The first technique is called The Effective Interest Method and the other is called the Straight Line Method. The Effective Interest Method is permitted under both IFRS and US GAAP. The Straight Line method is only permitted under US GAAP. If you were writing on example on bond liabilities of a US firm reporting under US GAAP you could get into a discussion on these different techniques and whether one provides more decision useful information than the other. Or you may conclude that neither technique is very satisfactory and the bond liability should be reported in the balance sheet at market value because if the company wanted to redeem the debt by buying back the securities in the open market it would have to pay fair value (and that would be based on a current trading price for the bond)