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ASSIGNMENT CHARACTERISTICS TABLE
E2-1 Qualitative characteristics. Moderate 25–30
E2-2 Qualitative characteristics. Simple 15–20
E2-3 Elements of financial statements. Simple 15–20
E2-4 Assumptions, principles, and constraints. Simple 15–20
E2-5 Assumptions, principles, and constraints. Moderate 20–25
E2-6 Full disclosure principle. Complex 20–25
E2-7 Accounting principles–comprehensive. Moderate 20–25
E2-8 Accounting principles–comprehensive. Moderate 20–25
C2-1 Conceptual framework–general. Simple 20–25
C2-2 Conceptual framework–general. Simple 25–35
C2-3 Objectives of financial reporting. Moderate 25–35
C2-4 Qualitative characteristics. Moderate 30–35
C2-5 Revenue recognition and matching principle. Complex 25–30
C2-6 Revenue recognition and matching principle. Moderate 30–35
C2-7 Matching principle. Complex 20–25
C2-8 Matching principle. Moderate 20–25
C2-9 Matching principle. Moderate 20–30
C2-10 Qualitative characteristics. Moderate 20–30
C2-11 Matching–ethics Moderate 20–25
C2-12 Cost/Benefit Moderate 30–35
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
1. A conceptual framework is a coherent system of interrelated objectives and fundamentals that can
lead to consistent standards and that prescribes the nature, function, and limits of financial
accounting and financial statements. A conceptual framework is necessary in financial accounting
for the following reasons:
1. It will enable the FASB to issue more useful and consistent standards in the future.
2. New issues will be more quickly soluble by reference to an existing framework of basic theory.
3. It will increase financial statement users’ understanding of and confidence in financial reporting.
4. It will enhance comparability among companies’ financial statements.
2. The primary objectives of financial reporting are as follows:
1. Provide information useful in investment and credit decisions for individuals who have a
reasonable understanding of business.
2. Provide information useful in assessing future cash flows.
3. Provide information about enterprise resources, claims to these resources, and changes in them.
3. “Qualitative characteristics of accounting information” are those characteristics which contribute to
the quality or value of the information. The overriding qualitative characteristic of accounting
information is usefulness for decision making.
4. Relevance and reliability are the two primary qualities of useful accounting information. For information to be relevant, it should have predictive value or feedback value, and it must be presented on a
timely basis. Relevant information has a bearing on a decision and is capable of making a difference
in the decision. Relevant information helps users to make predictions about the outcomes of past,
present, and future events, or to confirm or correct prior expectations. Reliable information can be
depended upon to represent the conditions and events that it is intended to represent. Reliability
stems from representational faithfulness, neutrality, and verifiability.
5. In providing information to users of financial statements, the Board relies on general-purpose
financial statements. The intent of such statements is to provide the most useful information
possible at minimal cost to various user groups. Underlying these objectives is the notion that
users need reasonable knowledge of business and financial accounting matters to understand
the information contained in financial statements. This point is important: it means that in the
preparation of financial statements a level of reasonable competence can be assumed; this has an
impact on the way and the extent to which information is reported.
6. Comparability facilitates comparisons between information about two different enterprises at a
particular point in time. Consistency facilitates comparisons between information about the same
enterprise at two different points in time.
7. At present, the accounting literature contains many terms that have peculiar and specific meanings.
Some of these terms have been in use for a long period of time, and their meanings have changed
over time. Since the elements of financial statements are the building blocks with which the
statements are constructed, it is necessary to develop a basic definitional framework for them.
8. Distributions to owners differ from expenses and losses in that they represent transfers to owners,
and they do not arise from activities intended to produce income. Expenses differ from losses in
that they arise from the entity’s ongoing major or central operations. Losses arise from peripheral
or incidental transactions.
Questions Chapter 2 (Continued)
9. Investments by owners differ from revenues and gains in that they represent transfers by owners
to the entity, and they do not arise from activities intended to produce income. Revenues differ
from gains in that they arise from the entity’s ongoing major or central operations. Gains arise from
peripheral or incidental transactions.
10. The four basic assumptions that underlie the financial accounting structure are:
1. An economic entity assumption.
2. A going concern assumption.
3. A monetary unit assumption.
4. A periodicity assumption.
11. (a) In accounting it is generally agreed that any measures of the success of an enterprise for
periods less than its total life are at best provisional in nature and subject to correction.
Measurement of progress and status for arbitrary time periods is a practical necessity to serve
those who must make decisions. It is not the result of postulating specific time periods as
measurable segments of total life.
(b) The practice of periodic measurement has led to many of the most difficult accounting
problems such as inventory pricing, depreciation of long-term assets, and the necessity for
revenue recognition tests. The accrual system calls for associating related revenues and
expenses. This becomes very difficult for an arbitrary time period with incomplete transactions
in process at both the beginning and the end of the period. A number of accounting practices
such as adjusting entries or the reporting of corrections of prior periods result directly from
efforts to make each period’s calculations as accurate as possible and yet recognizing that
they are only provisional in nature.
12. The monetary unit assumption assumes that the unit of measure (the dollar) remains reasonably
stable so that dollars of different years can be added without any adjustment. When the value of
the dollar fluctuates greatly over time, the monetary unit assumption loses its validity.
The FASB in Concept No. 5 indicated that it expects the dollar unadjusted for inflation or deflation
to be used to measure items recognized in financial statements. Only if circumstances change
dramatically will the Board consider a more stable measurement unit.
13. Some of the arguments which might be used are outlined below:
1. Cost is definite and reliable; other values would have to be determined somewhat arbitrarily
and there would be considerable disagreement as to the amounts to be used.
2. Amounts determined by other bases would have to be revised frequently.
3. Comparison with other companies is aided if cost is employed.
4. The costs of obtaining replacement values could outweigh the benefits derived.
14. Revenue is generally recognized when (1) realized or realizable, and (2) earned.
The adoption of the sale basis is the accountant’s practical solution to the extremely difficult
problem of measuring revenue under conditions of uncertainty as to the future. The revenue is
equal to the amount of cash that will be received due to the operations of the current accounting
period, but this amount will not be definitely known until such cash is collected. The accountant,
under these circumstances, insists on having “objective evidence,” that is, evidence external to
the firm itself, on which to base an estimate of the amount of cash that will be received. The sale is
considered to be the earliest point at which this evidence is available in the usual case. Until the
sale is made, any estimate of the value of inventory is based entirely on the opinion of the management of the firm. When the sale is made, however, an outsider, the buyer, has corroborated the
estimate of management and a value can now be assigned based on this transaction. The sale
Questions Chapter 2 (Continued)
also leads to a valid claim against the buyer and gives the seller the full support of the law in
enforcing collection. In a highly developed economy where the probability of collection is high, this
gives additional weight to the sale in the determination of the amount to be collected. Ordinarily
there is a transfer of control as well as title at the sales point. This not only serves as additional
objective evidence but necessitates the recognition of a change in the nature of assets. The sale,
then, has been adopted because it provides the accountant with objective evidence as to the
amount of revenue that will be collected, subject of course to the bad debts estimated to determine
15. Revenues should be recognized when they are realized or realizable and earned. The most
common time at which these two conditions are met is when the product or merchandise is
delivered or services are rendered to customers. Therefore, revenue for Magnus Eatery should be
recognized at the time the luncheon is served.
16. Revenues are realized when products (goods or services), merchandise, or other assets are exchanged for cash or claims to cash. Revenues are realizable when related assets received or held
are readily convertible to known amounts of cash or claims to cash. Readily convertible assets
have (1) interchangeable (fungible) units and (2) quoted prices available in an active market that
can rapidly absorb the quantity held by the entity without significantly affecting the price.
17. Each deviation depends on either the existence of earlier objective evidence other than the sale or
insufficient evidence of sale. Objective evidence is the key.
(a) In the case of installment sales the probability of uncollectibility may be great due to the nature
of the collection terms. The sale itself, therefore, does not give an accurate basis on which to
estimate the amount of cash that will be collected. It is necessary to adopt a basis which will
give a reasonably accurate estimate. The installment sales method is a modified cash basis;
income is recognized as cash is collected. A cash basis is preferable when no earlier estimate
of revenue is sufficiently accurate.
(b) The opposite is true in the case of certain agricultural products. Since there is a ready buyer
and a quoted price, a sale is not necessary to establish the amount of revenue to be received.
In fact, the sale is an insignificant part of the whole operation. As soon as it is harvested, the
crop can be valued at its selling price less the cost of transportation to the market and this
valuation gives an extremely accurate measure of the amount of revenue for the period without
the need of waiting until the sale has been made to measure it. In other words, the sale
proceeds are readily realizable and earned, so revenue recognition should occur.
(c) In the case of long-term contracts, the use of the “sales basis” would result in a distortion of
the periodic income figures. A shift to a “percentage of completion basis” is warranted if objective evidence of the amount of revenue earned in the periods prior to completion is available.
The accountant finds such evidence in the existence of a firm contract, from which the ultimate
realization can be determined, and estimates of total cost which can be compared with cost
incurred to estimate percentage-of-completion for revenue measurement purposes. In general,
when estimates of costs to complete and extent of progress toward completion of long-term
contracts are reasonably dependable, the percentage-of-completion method is preferable to
the completed-contract method.
18. The president means that the “gain” should be recorded in the books. This item should not be
entered in the accounts, however, because it has not been realized.
19. The cause and effect relationship can seldom be conclusively demonstrated, but many costs
appear to be related to particular revenues and recognizing them as expenses accompanies
recognition of the revenue. Examples of expenses that are recognized by associating cause and
effect are sales commissions and cost of products sold or services provided.
Questions Chapter 2 (Continued)
Systematic and rational allocation means that in the absence of a direct means of associating
cause and effect, and where the asset provides benefits for several periods, its cost should be
allocated to the periods in a systematic and rational manner. Examples of expenses that are
recognized in a systematic and rational manner are depreciation of plant assets, amortization of
intangible assets, and allocation of rent and insurance.
Some costs are immediately expensed because the costs have no discernible future benefits or
the allocation among several accounting periods is not considered to serve any useful purpose.
Examples include officers’ salaries, most selling costs, amounts paid to settle lawsuits, and costs
of resources used in unsuccessful efforts.
20. The four characteristics are:
1. Definitions–The item meets the definition of an element of financial statements.
2. Measurability–It has a relevant attribute measurable with sufficient reliability.
3. Relevance–The information is capable of making a difference in user decisions.
4. Reliability–The information is representationally faithful, verifiable, and neutral.
21. (a) To be recognized in the main body of financial statements, an item must meet the definition of
an element. In addition the item must have been measured, recorded in the books, and
passed through the double-entry system of accounting.
(b) Information provided in the notes to the financial statements amplifies or explains the items
presented in the main body of the statements and is essential to an understanding of the
performance and position of the enterprise. Information in the notes does not have to be
quantifiable, nor does it need to qualify as an element.
(c) Supplementary information includes information that presents a different perspective from that
adopted in the financial statements. It also includes management’s explanation of the financial
information and a discussion of the significance of that information.
22. The general guide followed with regard to the full disclosure principle is to disclose in the financial
statements any facts of sufficient importance to influence the judgment of an informed reader. The
fact that the amount of outstanding common stock doubled in January of the subsequent reporting
period probably should be disclosed because such a situation is of importance to present
stockholders. Even though the event occurred after December 31, 2007, it should be disclosed on
the balance sheet as of December 31, 2007, in order to make adequate disclosure. (The major
point that should be emphasized throughout the entire discussion on full disclosure is that there is
normally no “black” or “white” but varying shades of grey and it takes experience and good
judgment to arrive at an appropriate answer.)
23. Accounting information is subject to two constraints: cost/benefit considerations, and materiality.
Information is not worth providing unless the benefits it provides exceed the costs of preparing it.
Information that is immaterial is irrelevant, and consequently, not useful. If its inclusion or omission
would have no impact on a decision maker, the information is immaterial.
24. The costs of providing accounting information are paid primarily to highly trained accountants who
design and implement information systems, retrieve and analyze large amounts of data, prepare
financial statements in accordance with authoritative pronouncements, and audit the information
presented. These activities are time-consuming and costly. The benefits of providing accounting
information are experienced by society in general, since informed financial decisions help allocate
scarce resources to the most effective enterprises. Occasionally new accounting standards require
presentation of information that is not readily assembled by the accounting systems of most
companies. A determination should be made as to whether the incremental or additional costs of
providing the proposed information exceed the incremental benefits to be obtained. This
determination requires careful judgment since the benefits of the proposed information may not be
Questions Chapter 2 (Continued)
25. The concept of materiality refers to the relative significance of an amount, activity, or item to
informative disclosure and a proper presentation of financial position and the results of operations.
Materiality has qualitative and quantitative aspects; both the nature of the item and its relative size
enter into its evaluation.
An accounting misstatement is said to be material if knowledge of the misstatement will affect the
decisions of the average informed reader of the financial statements. Financial statements are
misleading if they omit a material fact or include so many immaterial matters as to be confusing. In
the examination, the auditor concentrates efforts in proportion to degrees of materiality and relative
risk and disregards immaterial items.
The relevant criteria for assessing materiality will depend upon the circumstances and the nature
of the item and will vary greatly among companies. For example, an error in current assets or
current liabilities will be more important for a company with a flow of funds problem than for one
with adequate working capital.
The effect upon net income (or earnings per share) is the most commonly used measure of
materiality. This reflects the prime importance attached to net income by investors and other users
of the statements. The effects upon assets and equities are also important as are misstatements
of individual accounts and subtotals included in the financial statements. The auditor will note the
effects of misstatements on key ratios such as gross profit, the current ratio, or the debt/equity
ratio and will consider such special circumstances as the effects on debt agreement covenants
and the legality of dividend payments.
There are no rigid standards or guidelines for assessing materiality. The lower bound of materiality
has been variously estimated at 5% to 20% of net income, but the determination will vary based
upon the individual case and might not fall within these limits. Certain items, such as a questionable
loan to a company officer, may be considered material even when minor amounts are involved. In
contrast a large misclassification among expense accounts may not be deemed material if there is
no misstatement of net income.
26. (a) To the extent that warranty costs can be estimated accurately, they should be matched against
the related sales revenue. Acceptable if reasonably accurate estimation is possible.
(b) Not acceptable. Most accounts are collectible or the company will be out of business very soon.
Hence sales can be recorded when made. Also, other companies record sales when made
rather than when collected, so if accounts for Joan Osborne Co. are to be compared with other
companies, they must be kept on a comparable basis. However, estimates for uncollectible
accounts should be recorded if there is a reasonably accurate basis for estimating bad debts.
(c) Not acceptable. A provision for the possible loss can be made through an appropriation of
retained earnings but until judgment has been rendered on the suit or it is otherwise settled,
entry of the loss usually represents anticipation. Recording it earlier is probably unwise legal
strategy as well. For the loss to be recognized at this point, the loss would have to be probable
and reasonably estimable. (See FASB No. 5 for additional discussion if desired.) Note disclosure
is required if the loss is not recorded.
(d) Acceptable because lower of cost or market is in accordance with generally accepted accounting
SOLUTIONS TO BRIEF EXERCISES
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-1
(a) If the company changed its method for inventory valuation, the consistency, and therefore the comparability, of the financial statements
have been affected by a change in the method of applying the accounting principles employed. The change would require comment in the
auditor’s report in an explanatory paragraph.
(b) If the company disposed of one of its two subsidiaries that had been
included in its consolidated statements for prior years, no comment as
to consistency needs to be made in the CPA’s audit report. The comparability of the financial statements has been affected by a business
transaction, but there has been no change in any accounting principle
employed or in the method of its application. (The transaction would
probably require informative disclosure in the financial statements.)
(c) If the company reduced the estimated remaining useful life of plant
property because of obsolescence, the comparability of the financial
statements has been affected. The change is not a matter of consistency;
it is a change in accounting estimate required by altered conditions
and involves no change in accounting principles employed or in their
method of application. The change would probably be disclosed by a
note in the financial statements; if commented upon in the CPA’s
report, it would be as a matter of disclosure rather than consistency.
(d) If the company is using a different inventory valuation method from
all other companies in its industry, no comment as to consistency
need be made in the CPA’s audit report. Consistency refers to a given
company following consistent accounting principles from one period to
another; it does not refer to a company following the same accounting
principles as other companies in the same industry.
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-2
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-3
(h) Distributions to owners
(j) Investments by owners
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-4
(b) Monetary unit
(c) Going concern
(d) Economic entity
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-5
(a) Revenue recognition
(c) Full disclosure
(d) Historical cost
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-6
(a) Industry practices
(c) Cost-benefit relationship
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-7
Companies and their auditors for the most part have adopted the general
rule of thumb that anything under 5% of net income is considered not
material. Recently, the SEC has indicated that it is okay to use this
percentage for the initial assessment of materiality, but other factors must
be considered. For example, companies can no longer fail to record items
in order to meet consensus analyst’s earnings numbers; preserve a
positive earnings trend; convert a loss to a profit or vice versa; increase
management compensation, or hide an illegal transaction like a bribe. In
other words, both quantitative and qualitative factors must be considered
in determining when an item is material.
(a) Because the change was used to create a positive trend in earnings,
the change is considered material.
(b) Each item must be considered separately and not netted. Therefore
each transaction is considered material.
(c) In general, companies that follow an “expense all capital items below
a certain amount” policy are not in violation of the materiality
concept. Because the same practice has been followed from year to
year, Seliz’s actions are acceptable.
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-8
(a) Net realizable value.
(b) Would not be disclosed. Liabilities would be disclosed in the order to
(c) Would not be disclosed. Depreciation would be inappropriate if the
going concern assumption no longer applies.
(d) Net realizable value.
(e) Net realizable value (i.e. redeemable value).
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-9
(b) Full disclosure
(c) Matching principle
(d) Historical cost
BRIEF EXERCISE 2-10
(a) Should be debited to the Land account, as it is a cost incurred in
(b) As an asset, preferably to a Land Improvements account. The driveway
will last for many years, and therefore it should be capitalized and
(c) Probably an asset, as it will last for a number of years and therefore
will contribute to operations of those years.
(d) If the fiscal year ends December 31, this will all be an expense of the
current year that can be charged to an expense account. If statements
are to be prepared on some date before December 31, part of this cost
would be expense and part asset. Depending upon the circumstances, the original entry as well as the adjusting entry for statement
purposes should take the statement date into account.
(e) Should be debited to the Building account, as it is a part of the cost of
that plant asset which will contribute to operations for many years.
(f) As an expense, as the service has already been received; the contribution
to operations occurred in this period.
SOLUTIONS TO EXERCISES
EXERCISE 2-1 (20–30 minutes)
(a) Feedback Value. (f) Relevance and Reliability.
(b) Cost/Benefit and Materiality. (g) Timeliness.
(c) Neutrality. (h) Relevance.
(d) Consistency. (i) Comparability.
(e) Neutrality. (j) Verifiability.
EXERCISE 2-2 (15–20 minutes)
(a) Comparability. (f) Relevance.
(b) Feedback Value. (g) Comparability and Consistency.
(c) Consistency. (h) Reliability.
(d) Neutrality. (i) Relevance and Reliability.
(e) Verifiability. (j) Timeliness.
EXERCISE 2-3 (15–20 minutes)
(a) Gains, losses.
(c) Investments by owners, comprehensive income.
(also possible would be revenues and gains).
(d) Distributions to owners.
(Note to instructor: net effect is to reduce equity and assets).
(e) Comprehensive income
(also possible would be revenues and gains).
(g) Comprehensive income.
(h) Revenues, expenses.
(k) Distributions to owners.
(l) Comprehensive income.
EXERCISE 2-4 (15–20 minutes)
(a) 6. Matching principle.
(b) 5. Historical cost principle.
(c) 7. Full disclosure principle.
(d) 2. Going concern assumption.
(e) 11. Conservatism.
(f) 1. Economic entity assumption.
(g) 4. Periodicity assumption.
(h) 10. Industry practices.
(i) 9. Materiality.
(j) 3. Monetary unit assumption.
EXERCISE 2-5 (20–25 minutes)
(a) Historical cost principle. (j) Full disclosure principle.
(b) Conservatism. (k) Matching principle.
(c) Full disclosure principle. (l) Economic entity assumption.
(d) Matching principle. (m) Periodicity assumption.
(e) Materiality. (n) Matching principle.
(f) Industry practices. (o) Materiality.
(g) Economic entity assumption. (p) Historical cost principle.
(h) Full disclosure principle. (q) Conservatism.
(i) Revenue recognition principle. (r) Matching principle.
(a) It is well established in accounting that revenues and cost of goods
sold must be disclosed in an income statement. It might be noted to
students that such was not always the case. At one time, only net
income was reported but over time we have evolved to the present
(b) The proper accounting for this situation is to report the equipment as
an asset and the notes payable as a liability on the balance sheet.
Offsetting is permitted in only limited situations where certain assets
are contractually committed to pay off liabilities.
EXERCISE 2-6 (Continued)
(c) According to GAAP, the basis upon which inventory amounts are
stated (lower of cost or market) and the method used in determining
cost (LIFO, FIFO, average cost, etc.) should also be reported. The disclosure requirement related to the method used in determining cost
should be emphasized, indicating that where possible alternatives
exist in financial reporting, disclosure in some format is required.
(d) Consistency requires that disclosure of changes in accounting principles be made in the financial statements. To do otherwise would result
in financial statements that are misleading. Financial statements are
more useful if they can be compared with similar reports for prior years.
(a) This entry violates the economic entity assumption. This assumption
in accounting indicates that economic activity can be identified with a
particular unit of accountability. In this situation, the company erred
by charging this cost to the wrong economic entity.
(b) The historical cost principle indicates that assets and liabilities are
accounted for on the basis of cost. If we were to select sales value,
for example, we would have an extremely difficult time in attempting
to establish a sales value for a given item without selling it. It should
further be noted that the revenue recognition principle provides the
answer to when revenue should be recognized. Revenue should be
recognized when (1) realized or realizable and (2) earned. In this situation,
an earnings process has definitely not taken place.
(c) Probably the company is too conservative in its accounting for this
transaction. The matching principle indicates that expenses should
be allocated to the appropriate periods involved. In this case, there
appears to be a high uncertainty that the company will have to pay.
FASB Statement No. 5 requires that a loss should be accrued only
(1) when it is probable that the company would lose the suit and
(2) the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. (Note to
instructor: The student will probably be unfamiliar with FASB Statement
No. 5. The purpose of this question is to develop some decision
framework when the probability of a future event must be assumed.)
EXERCISE 2-7 (Continued)
(d) At the present time, accountants do not recognize price-level adjustments in the accounts. Hence, it is misleading to deviate from the
cost principle because conjecture or opinion can take place. It should
also be noted that depreciation is not so much a matter of valuation
as it is a means of cost allocation. Assets are not depreciated on the basis
of a decline in their fair market value, but are depreciated on the basis
of systematic charges of expired costs against revenues. (Note to
instructor: It might be called to the students’ attention that the FASB
does encourage supplemental disclosure of price-level information.)
(e) Most accounting methods are based on the assumption that the business enterprise will have a long life. Acceptance of this assumption
provides credibility to the historical cost principle, which would be of
limited usefulness if liquidation were assumed. Only if we assume
some permanence to the enterprise is the use of depreciation and
amortization policies justifiable and appropriate. Therefore, it is incorrect to assume liquidation as Fresh Horses, Inc. has done in this
situation. It should be noted that only where liquidation appears
imminent is the going concern assumption inapplicable.
(f) The answer to this situation is the same as (b).
(a) Depreciation is an allocation of cost, not an attempt to value assets.
As a consequence, even if the value of the building is increasing,
costs related to this building should be matched with revenues on the
income statement, not as a charge against retained earnings.
(b) A gain should not be recognized until the inventory is sold. Accountants follow the historical cost approach and write-ups of assets are
not permitted. It should also be noted that the revenue recognition
principle states that revenue should not be recognized until it is
realized or realizable and is earned.
EXERCISE 2-8 (Continued)
(c) Assets should be recorded at the fair market value of what is given up
or the fair market value of what is received, whichever is more clearly
evident. It should be emphasized that it is not a violation of the
historical cost principle to use the fair market value of the stock.
Recording the asset at the par value of the stock has no conceptual
validity. Par value is merely an arbitrary amount usually set at the
date of incorporation.
(d) The gain should be recognized at the point of sale. Deferral of the gain
should not be permitted, as it is realized and is earned. To explore this
question at greater length, one might ask what justification other than
the controller’s might be used to justify the deferral of the gain. For
example, the rationale provided in APB Opinion No. 29, noncompletion
of the earnings process, might be discussed.
(e) It appears from the information that the sale should be recorded in
2007 instead of 2006. Regardless of whether the terms are f.o.b.
shipping point or f.o.b. destination, the point is that the inventory was
sold in 2007. It should be noted that if the company is employing a
perpetual inventory system in dollars and quantities, a debit to Cost
of Goods Sold and a credit to Inventory is also necessary in 2007.
TIME AND PURPOSE OF CONCEPTS FOR ANALYSIS
CA 2-1 (Time 20–25 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with the opportunity to comment on the purpose of the conceptual
framework. In addition, a discussion of the Concepts Statements issued by the FASB is required.
CA 2-2 (Time 25–35 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with the opportunity to identify and discuss the benefits of the
conceptual framework. In addition, the most important quality of information must be discussed, as well
as other key characteristics of accounting information.
CA 2-3 (Time 25–35 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with some familiarity with Statement of Financial Accounting
Concepts No. 1. The student is asked to indicate the broad objectives of accounting, and to discuss
how this statement might help to establish accounting standards.
CA 2-4 (Time 30–35 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with some familiarity with Statement of Financial Accounting
Concepts No. 2. The student is asked to describe various characteristics of useful accounting
information and to identify possible trade-offs among these characteristics.
CA 2-5 (Time 25–30 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with the opportunity to indicate and discuss different points at which
revenues can be recognized. The student is asked to discuss the “crucial event” that triggers revenue
CA 2-6 (Time 30–35 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with familiarity with an economic concept of income as opposed to the
GAAP approach. Also, factors to be considered in determining when net revenue should be recognized
CA 2-7 (Time 20–25 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with an opportunity to assess different points to report costs as
expenses. Direct cause and effect, indirect cause and effect, and rational and systematic approaches
CA 2-8 (Time 20–25 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with familiarity with the matching principle in accounting. Specific
items are then presented to indicate how these items might be reported using the matching principle.
CA 2-9 (Time 20–30 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with a realistic case involving association of costs with revenues. The
advantages of expensing costs as incurred versus spreading costs are examined. Specific guidance is
asked on how allocation over time should be reported.
CA 2-10 (Time 20–30 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with the opportunity to discuss the relevance and reliability of financial
statement information. The student must write a letter on this matter so the case does provide a good
writing exercise for the students.
CA 2-11 (Time 20–25 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with the opportunity to discuss the ethical issues related to expense
CA 2-12 (Time 30–35 minutes)
Purpose—to provide the student with the opportunity to discuss the cost/benefit constraint.
SOLUTIONS TO CONCEPTS FOR ANALYSIS
(a) A conceptual framework is like a constitution. Its objective is to provide a coherent system of
interrelated objectives and fundamentals that can lead to consistent standards and that prescribes
the nature, function, and limits of financial accounting and financial statements.
A conceptual framework is necessary so that standard setting is useful, i.e., standard setting
should build on and relate to an established body of concepts and objectives. A well-developed
conceptual framework should enable the FASB to issue more useful and consistent standards in
Specific benefits that may arise are:
1. A coherent set of standards and rules should result.
2. New and emerging practical problems should be more quickly soluble by reference to an
3. It should increase financial statement users’ understanding of and confidence in financial
4. It should enhance comparability among companies’ financial statements.
5. It should help determine the bounds for judgment in preparing financial statements.
6. It should provide guidance to the body responsible for establishing accounting standards.
(b) The FASB has issued six Statements of Financial Accounting Concepts (SFAC) that relate to business enterprises. Their titles and brief description of the focus of each Statement are as follows:
1. SFAC No. 1, “Objectives of Financial Reporting by Business Enterprises,” presents the goals
and purposes of accounting.
2. SFAC No. 2, “Qualitative Characteristics of Accounting Information,” examines the characteristics that make accounting information useful.
3. SFAC No. 3, “Elements of Financial Statements of Business Enterprises,” provides definitions
of the broad classifications of items found in financial statements.
4. SFAC No. 5, “Recognition and Measurement in Financial Statements,” sets forth fundamental
recognition criteria and guidance on what information should be formally incorporated into
financial statements and when. In addition, this concept statement addresses certain measurement issues that are closely related to recognition.
5. SFAC No. 6, “Elements of Financial Statements,” replaces SFAC No. 3, “Elements of Financial
Statements of Business Enterprises,” and expands its scope to include not-for-profit organizations.
6. SFAC No. 7, “Using Cash Flow Information and Present Value in Accounting Measurements,”
provides a framework for using expected future cash flows and present value as a basis for
(a) FASB’s conceptual framework study should provide benefits to the accounting community such as:
1. guiding the FASB in establishing accounting standards on a consistent basis.
2. determining bounds for judgment in preparing financial statements by prescribing the nature,
functions and limits of financial accounting and reporting.
3. increasing users’ understanding of and confidence in financial reporting.
CA 2-2 (Continued)
(b) Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 2 identifies the most important quality for
accounting information as usefulness for decision making. Relevance and reliability are the primary
qualities leading to this decision usefulness. Usefulness is the most important quality because, without
usefulness, there would be no benefits from information to set against its costs.
(c) The number of key characteristics or qualities that make accounting information desirable are
described in the Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 2. The importance of three of
these characteristics or qualities are discussed below.
1. Understandability–information provided by financial reporting should be comprehensible to
those who have a reasonable understanding of business and economic activities and are
willing to study the information with reasonable diligence. Financial information is a tool and,
like most tools, cannot be of much direct help to those who are unable or unwilling to use it, or
who misuse it.
2. Relevance–the accounting information is capable of making a difference in a decision by
helping users to form predictions about the outcomes of past, present, and future events or to
confirm or correct expectations.
3. Reliability–the reliability of a measure rests on the faithfulness with which it represents what it
purports to represent, coupled with an assurance for the user, which comes through verification,
that it has representational quality.
(Note to instructor: Other qualities might be discussed by the student, such as secondary qualities. All
of these qualities are defined in the textbook.)
(a) The basic objectives in Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 1 are to:
1. provide information useful in investment and credit decisions for individuals who have a reasonable
understanding of business.
2. provide information useful in assessing future cash flows.
3. provide information about economic resources, claims to those resources, and changes in them.
(b) The purpose of this statement is to set forth fundamentals on which financial accounting and
reporting standards may be based. Without some basic set of objectives that everyone can agree
to, inconsistent standards will be developed. For example, some believe that accountability should
be the primary objective of financial reporting. Others argue that prediction of future cash flows is
more important. It follows that individuals who believe that accountability is the primary objective
may arrive at different financial reporting standards than others who argue for prediction of cash
flow. Only by establishing some consistent starting point can accounting ever achieve some
underlying consistency in establishing accounting principles.
It should be emphasized to the students that the Board itself is likely to be the major user and thus
the most direct beneficiary of the guidance provided by this pronouncement. However, knowledge
of the objectives and concepts the Board uses should enable all who are affected by or interested
in financial accounting standards to better understand the content and limitations of information
provided by financial accounting and reporting, thereby furthering their ability to use that information effectively and enhancing confidence in financial accounting and reporting. That knowledge, if
used with care, may also provide guidance in resolving new or emerging problems of financial
accounting and reporting in the absence of applicable authoritative pronouncements.
(a) (1) Relevance is one of the two primary decision-specific characteristics of useful accounting
information. Relevant information is capable of making a difference in a decision. Relevant
information helps users to make predictions about the outcomes of past, present, and future
events, or to confirm or correct prior expectations. Information must also be timely in order to
be considered relevant.
(2) Reliability is one of the two primary decision-specific characteristics of useful accounting information. Reliable information can be depended upon to represent the conditions and events that
it is intended to represent. Reliability stems from representational faithfulness and verifiability.
Representational faithfulness is correspondence or agreement between accounting information
and the economic phenomena it is intended to represent. Verifiability provides assurance that the
information is free from bias.
(3) Understandability is a user-specific characteristic of information. Information is understandable
when it permits reasonably informed users to perceive its significance. Understandability is a
link between users, who vary widely in their capacity to comprehend or utilize the information,
and the decision-specific qualities of information.
(4) Comparability means that information about enterprises has been prepared and presented in a
similar manner. Comparability enhances comparisons between information about two different
enterprises at a particular point in time.
(5) Consistency means that unchanging policies and procedures have been used by an enterprise
from one period to another. Consistency enhances comparisons between information about
the same enterprise at two different points in time.
(b) (Note to instructor: There are a multitude of answers possible here. The suggestions below are
intended to serve as examples.)
(1) Forecasts of future operating results and projections of future cash flows may be highly relevant
to some decision makers. However, they would not be as reliable as historical cost information
about past transactions.
(2) Proposed new accounting methods may be more relevant to many decision makers than existing methods. However, if adopted, they would impair consistency and make trend comparisons
of an enterprise’s results over time difficult or impossible.
(3) There presently exists much diversity among acceptable accounting methods and procedures.
In order to facilitate comparability between enterprises, the use of only one accepted accounting method for a particular type of transaction could be required. However, consistency would
be impaired for those firms changing to the new required methods.
(4) Occasionally, relevant information is exceedingly complex. Judgment is required in determining
the optimum trade-off between relevance and understandability. Information about the impact of
general and specific price changes may be highly relevant but not understandable by all users.
(c) Although trade-offs result in the sacrifice of some desirable quality of information, the overall result
should be information that is more useful for decision making.