Brief IFRS Glossary
International Financial Reporting Standards are usually presented in a certain structure. Most of IFRS is clearly subdivided into several chapters that carry their titles, for example: Recognition, Measurement, Derecognition etc. This article defines the main terms as used in IFRS and shows example of their application.
Recognition is recording a business transaction in an entity’s accounting records, including asset, liability, equity component, revenue or expense.
For example, when a company spends cash to buy a property, then it must record the transaction as Debit Property, Credit Cash. It means that the company RECOGNIZES property in its financial statements.
When IFRS talks about recognition, it usually states rules WHEN the element or transaction should be recognized or recorded. In other words, IFRS prescribes WHAT CONDITIONS must be fulfilled to recognize the transaction or item.
Derecognition is the opposite of recognition. It is the removal of a previously recognized asset, liability or equity (sometimes revenue and expense) from an entity’s financial statements.
For example, a company sells a property. Then, the sale must be recognized as Debit Cash, Credit Property (plus minus some gain or loss). It means that the company DERECOGNIZED the property from its financial statements.
When there is a heading “Derecognition” in IFRS, the rules will state WHEN the element or transaction should be removed from the financial statements—or WHAT CONDITIONS must be fulfilled to derecognize the transaction or item.
In IFRS, measurement means the financial amount attributed to asset, liability, equity, revenue or expense. IFRSs distinguish initial and subsequent measurement.
Initial Measurement is an AMOUNT in which asset, liability or equity shall be recorded in the financial statements AT ITS INITIAL RECOGNITION—or when it is recorded for the first time.
For example, a company that buys property must recognize the property in certain amount. IFRS prescribes rules HOW this amount shall be determined initially.
Subsequent Measurement is an AMOUNT in which asset, liability or equity shall be recorded in the financial statements AFTER ITS INITIAL RECOGNITION—or in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th year of its recognizing in the financial statements.
Many assets or liabilities change their value with time due to various reasons – wear off, loss of credibility, amortization, etc. So the company owning and actually using the property has to assess the value of this property each year and determine the new, actual value.
It can be done by depreciation, amortization, determining of fair value—by many ways and IFRS usually prescribes the exact way of setting the subsequent measurement for individual types of assets or liabilities. Along with setting HOW the asset or liability shall be subsequently measured, IFRS sets HOW the change (difference between new value and previous year’s value = gain or loss) shall be accounted for.
A disclosure is additional information attached to an entity’s financial statements, usually as detailed breakdown of the numbers included in the financial statements, description of various significant events, estimates, judgements and other items that influenced the company’s results, etc.
For example, a company buying property would have to disclose in its notes to the financial statements the following items: method of depreciation, useful life, significant purchases, etc.
Each IFRS prescribes specific information that is required for certain items in the section Disclosures. Some IFRS standards talk purely about disclosures, for example standard IFRS 7 deals solely with disclosures related to financial instruments.
A presentation is often confused with disclosure. However, there is a big difference: disclosure is additional information and presentation is a method of showing the information or numbers.
For example, a company buying property would present this property in a required way—as long term, probably separately showing the cost and accumulated depreciation.
Is there any term I forgot to explain? You are welcome to write a comment or e-mail to me!
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