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In accounting and in most schools of economic thought, fair value is a rational and unbiased estimate of the potential market price of a good, service, or asset. The derivation takes into account such objective factors as the costs associated with production or replacement, market conditions and matters of supply and demand. Subjective factors may also be considered such as the risk characteristics, the cost of and return on capital, and individually perceived utility.
There are two schools of thought about the relation between the market price and fair value in any form of market, but especially with regard to tradable assets:
The latest edition of International Valuation Standards (IVS 2017), clearly distinguishes between fair value (now referred to as "equitable value"), as defined in the IVS, and market value, as defined in the IVS:
In accounting, fair value is used as a certainty of the market value of an asset (or liability) for which a market price cannot be determined (usually because there is no established market for the asset). Under US GAAP (FAS 157), fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. This is used for assets whose carrying value is based on mark-to-market valuations; for assets carried at historical cost, the fair value of the asset is not used.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 157: Fair Value Measurements ("FAS 157") in September 2006 to provide guidance about how entities should determine fair value estimations for financial reporting purposes. FAS 157 broadly applies to financial and nonfinancial assets and liabilities measured at fair value under other authoritative accounting pronouncements. However, application to nonfinancial assets and liabilities was deferred until 2009. Absence of one single consistent framework for applying fair value measurements and developing a reliable estimate of a fair value in the absence of quoted prices has created inconsistencies and incomparability. The goal of this framework is to eliminate the inconsistencies between balance sheet (historical cost) numbers and income statement (fair value) numbers.
Subsequently, FAS 157 was subsumed into FASB Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 820 (Fair Value Measurement), which now defines fair value as "The price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date."This is sometimes referred to as "exit value". In the futures market, fair value is the equilibrium price for a futures contract. This is equal to the spot price after taking into account compounded interest (and dividends lost because the investor owns the futures contract rather than the physical stocks) over a certain period of time. On the other side of the balance sheet the fair value of a liability is the amount at which that liability could be incurred or settled in a current transaction.
Topic 820 emphasizes the use of market inputs in estimating the fair value for an asset or liability. Quoted prices, credit data, yield curve, etc. are examples of market inputs described by Topic 820. Quoted prices are the most accurate measurement of fair value; however, many times an active market does not exist so other methods have to be used to estimate the fair value on an asset or liability. Topic 820 emphasizes that assumptions used to estimate fair value should be from the perspective of an unrelated market participant. This necessitates identification of the market in which the asset or liability trades. If more than one market is available, Topic 820 requires the use of the "most advantageous market". Both the price and costs to do the transaction must be considered in determining which market is the most advantageous market.
The framework uses 3-level fair value hierarchy to reflect the level of judgment involved in estimating fair values. The hierarchy is broken down into three levels:
The FASB, after extensive discussions, has concluded that fair value is the most relevant measure for financial instruments. In its deliberations of Statement 133, the FASB revisited that issue and again renewed its commitment to eventually measuring all financial instruments at fair value.
FASB published a staff position brief on October 10, 2008, in order to clarify the provision in case of an illiquid market.
IFRS 13, Fair Value Measurement, was adopted by the International Accounting Standards Board on May 12, 2011.IFRS 13 provides guidance for how to perform fair value measurement under IFRS and became effective on January 1, 2013.
The guidance is similar to the US GAAP guidance.It defines fair value as "the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date (an exit price). When measuring fair value, an entity uses the assumptions that market participants would use when pricing the asset or the liability under current market conditions, including assumptions about risk." As a result, IFRS 13 requires entities to consider the effects of credit risk when determining a fair value measurement, e.g. by calculating a credit valuation adjustment (CVA) or debit valuation adjustment (DVA) on their derivatives.
International Financial Reporting Standards, commonly called IFRS, are accounting standards issued by the IFRS Foundation and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). They constitute a standardised way of describing the company’s financial performance and position so that company financial statements are understandable and comparable across international boundaries. They are particularly relevant for companies with shares or securities listed on a public stock exchange.
In accounting, an economic item's historical cost is the original nominal monetary value of that item. Historical cost accounting involves reporting assets and liabilities at their historical costs, which are not updated for changes in the items' values. Consequently, the amounts reported for these balance sheet items often differ from their current economic or market values.
In finance, valuation is the process of determining the present value (PV) of an asset. Valuations can be done on assets or on liabilities. Valuations are needed for many reasons such as investment analysis, capital budgeting, merger and acquisition transactions, financial reporting, taxable events to determine the proper tax liability.
Mark-to-market or fair value accounting refers to accounting for the "fair value" of an asset or liability based on the current market price, or the price for similar assets and liabilities, or based on another objectively assessed "fair" value. Fair value accounting has been a part of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in the United States since the early 1990s, and is now regarded as the "gold standard" in some circles. Failure to use it is viewed as the cause of the Orange County Bankruptcy, even though its use is considered to be one of the reasons for the Enron scandal and the eventual bankruptcy of the company, as well as the closure of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen.
The distinction between real prices and ideal prices is a distinction between actual prices paid for products, services, assets and labour, and computed prices which are not actually charged or paid in market trade, although they may facilitate trade. The difference is between actual prices paid, and information about possible, potential or likely prices, or "average" price levels. This distinction should not be confused with the difference between "nominal prices" (current-value) and "real prices". It is more similar to, though not identical with, the distinction between "theoretical value" and "market price" in financial economics.
Stock option expensing is a method of accounting for the value of share options, distributed as incentives to employees, within the profit and loss reporting of a listed business. On the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement say that the loss from the exercise is accounted for by noting the difference between the market price of the shares and the cash received, the exercise price, for issuing those shares through the option.
Goodwill in accounting is an intangible asset that arises when a buyer acquires an existing business. Goodwill represents assets that are not separately identifiable. Goodwill does not include identifiable assets that are capable of being separated or divided from the entity and sold, transferred, licensed, rented, or exchanged, either individually or together with a related contract, identifiable asset, or liability regardless of whether the entity intends to do so. Goodwill also does not include contractual or other legal rights regardless of whether those are transferable or separable from the entity or other rights and obligations. Goodwill is also only acquired through an acquisition; it cannot be self-created. Examples of identifiable assets that are goodwill include a company’s brand name, customer relationships, artistic intangible assets, and any patents or proprietary technology. The goodwill amounts to the excess of the "purchase consideration" over the net value of the assets minus liabilities. It is classified as an intangible asset on the balance sheet, since it can neither be seen nor touched. Under US GAAP and IFRS, goodwill is never amortized, because it is considered to have an indefinite useful life. Instead, management is responsible for valuing goodwill every year and to determine if an impairment is required. If the fair market value goes below historical cost, an impairment must be recorded to bring it down to its fair market value. However, an increase in the fair market value would not be accounted for in the financial statements. Private companies in the United States, however, may elect to amortize goodwill over a period of ten years or less under an accounting alternative from the Private Company Council of the FASB.
Hedge accounting is an accountancy practice, the aim of which is to provide an offset to the mark-to-market movement of the derivative in the profit and loss account. There are two types of hedge recognized. For a fair value hedge, the offset is achieved either by marking-to-market an asset or a liability which offsets the P&L movement of the derivative. For a cash flow hedge, some of the derivative volatility is placed into a separate component of the entity's equity called the cash flow hedge reserve. Where a hedge relationship is effective, most of the mark-to-market derivative volatility will be offset in the profit and loss account. Hedge accounting entails much compliance - involving documenting the hedge relationship and both prospectively and retrospectively proving that the hedge relationship is effective.
Lower of cost or market is a conservative approach to valuing and reporting inventory. Normally, ending inventory is stated at historical cost. However, there are times when the original cost of the ending inventory is greater than the net realizable value, and thus the inventory has lost value. If the inventory has decreased in value below historical cost, then its carrying value is reduced and reported on the balance sheet. The criterion for reporting this is the current market value. Any loss resulting from the decline in the value of inventory is charged to "Cost of goods sold" (COGS) if non-material, or "Loss on the reduction of inventory to LCM" if material.
A foreign exchange hedge is a method used by companies to eliminate or "hedge" their foreign exchange risk resulting from transactions in foreign currencies. This is done using either the cash flow hedge or the fair value method. The accounting rules for this are addressed by both the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and by the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as well as other national accounting standards.
Valuation risk is the risk that an entity suffers a loss when trading an asset or a liability due to a difference between the accounting value and the price effectively obtained in the trade.
Purchase price allocation (PPA) is an application of goodwill accounting whereby one company, when purchasing a second company, allocates the purchase price into various assets and liabilities acquired from the transaction.
Constant purchasing power accounting (CPPA) is an accounting model approved by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) as an alternative to traditional historical cost accounting under hyper-inflationary environments and all other economic environments. Under this IFRS and US GAAP authorized system, financial capital maintenance is always measured in units of constant purchasing power (CPP) in terms of a Daily CPI during low inflation, high inflation, hyperinflation and deflation; i.e., during all possible economic environments. During all economic environments it can also be measured in a monetized daily indexed unit of account or in terms of a daily relatively stable foreign currency parallel rate, particularly during hyperinflation when a government refuses to publish CPI data.
In September 2006, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) of the United States issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards 157: Fair Value Measurements), which “defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value in generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and expands disclosures about fair value measurements.” This statement is effective for financial reporting fiscal periods commencing after November 15, 2007 and the interim periods applicable.
An impairment cost must be included under expenses when the book value of an asset exceeds the recoverable amount. Impairment of assets is the diminishing in quality, strength amount, or value of an asset. Fixed assets, commonly known as PPE, refers to long-lived assets such as buildings, land, machinery, and equipment; these assets are the most likely to experience impairment, which may be caused by several factors.
The role of fair value accounting in the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 is controversial. Fair value accounting was issued as US accounting standard SFAS 157 in 2006 by the privately run Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)—delegated by the SEC with the task of establishing financial reporting standards. This required that tradable assets such as mortgage securities be valued according to their current market value rather than their historic cost or some future expected value. When the market for such securities became volatile and collapsed, the resulting loss of value had a major financial effect upon the institutions holding them even if they had no immediate plans to sell them.
There were many events that led to the financial crisis of the late 2000s, and many differing views on which parties were primarily responsible. The main groups that have been identified for playing a major role in the crisis include: investment bankers, credit rating agencies, financial statement preparers, the Federal Reserve, investors, loan originators, auditors, and borrowers among others. For a detailed background on the causes of the crisis and the parties that contributed please reference:Causes of the 2007-2012 global financial crisis and “History of Fair Value Issues” The purpose of this article is to expand on the role that accountants specifically played within the late 2000s financial crisis.
IFRS 9 is an International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) published by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). It addresses the accounting for financial instruments. It contains three main topics: classification and measurement of financial instruments, impairment of financial assets and hedge accounting. The standard came into force on 1 January 2018, replacing the earlier IFRS for financial instruments, IAS 39.
IFRS 15 is an International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) providing guidance on accounting for revenue from contracts with customers. It was adopted in 2014 and became effective in January 2018. It was the subject of a joint project with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which issues accounting guidance in the United States, and the guidance is substantially similar between the two boards.
IFRS 7, titled Financial Instruments: Disclosures, is an International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) published by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). It requires entities to provide certain disclosures regarding financial instruments in their financial statements. The standard was originally issued in August 2005 and became applicable on 1 January 2007, superseding the earlier standard IAS 30, Disclosures in the Financial Statements of Banks and Similar Financial Institutions, and replacing the disclosure requirements of IAS 32, previously titled Financial Instruments: Disclosure and Presentation.