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Going Concern Concept Definition Explanation Examples

Management’s plans are ignored under Step 1, but considered under Step 2, to determine if they alleviate the substantial doubt raised in Step 1. Receive timely updates on accounting and financial reporting topics from KPMG. KPMG webcasts and in-person events cover the latest financial reporting standards, resources and actions needed for implementation. In-depth analysis, examples and insights to give you an advantage in understanding the requirements and implications of financial reporting issues. By contrast, the going concern assumption is the opposite of assuming liquidation, which is defined as the process when a company’s operations are forced to a halt and its assets are sold to willing buyers for cash.

The formal definition of the term “going concern” per GAAP / FASB can be found below. No single factor spells imminent doom for a business, but there are red flags that can signal trouble. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us.

  1. US GAAP requires management’s plans to meet certain conditions to be considered in the assessment.
  2. © 2024 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee.
  3. Statements should also show management’s interpretation of the conditions and management’s future plans.
  4. Therefore, it may be noted that companies that are not a going concern may need external financing, restructuring, asset liquidation, or be acquired by a more profitable entity.
  5. IFRS Standards do not prescribe how management performs the going concern assessment.

Under IFRS Standards, management assesses all available information about the future, considering the possible outcomes of events and changes in conditions, and the realistically possible responses to such events and conditions. Events or conditions arising after the reporting date but before the financial statements are authorized for issuance should be considered. IAS 1 states that management may need to consider a wide range of factors, including current and forecasted profitability, debt maturities and replacement financing options before satisfying its going concern assessment. If a company is not a going concern, that means there is risk the company may not survive the next 12 months. Management is required to disclose this fact and must provide the reasons why they may not be a going concern.

Given the significant effects of COVID-19, management may need to reassess the company’s access to financing sources; they may not be easily replaced and the costs may be higher in the current circumstances. Further, other actions such as deferring capital expenditures or adjusting the workforce may be needed to generate enough cash flow to meet the company’s financial obligations. Under IFRS Standards, financial statements are prepared on a going concern basis, unless management intends or has no realistic alternative other than to liquidate the company or stop trading. Unlike US GAAP, there is no liquidation basis of accounting under IFRS; when a company determines it is no longer a going concern, it does not prepare financial statements on a going concern basis. However, in our view, there is no general dispensation from the measurement, recognition and disclosure requirements of the Standards in this case, and these requirements are applied in a manner appropriate to the circumstances.

Because the US GAAP guidance is more developed in this area, it may provide certain useful reference points for IFRS Standards preparers – e.g. to identify adverse conditions and events or to assess the mitigating effects of management’s plans. However, dual reporters should be mindful of the differing frameworks, terminologies and potentially different outcomes in their going concern conclusions. Our IFRS Standards resources will help you to better understand the potential accounting and disclosure implications of COVID-19 for your company, and the actions management can take now.

Disclosure of a going concern qualification

This can protect investors from continuing to risk their money on a business that may not be viable for much longer. A firm’s inability to meet its obligations without substantial restructuring or selling of assets may also indicate it is not a going concern. If a company acquires assets during a time of restructuring, it may plan to resell them later. Consider how a single substantial lawsuit, default on a loan, or defective product can jeopardize the future of a company.

Under this accounting concept we assume that the business is to remain in existing for as long as possible time period, unless we have some strong footings suggesting otherwise. By looking other way around, this concept compels to draw up the balance sheet and profit and loss account of the business entity on the assumption that this will continue functioning in coming future. Therefore, due to the implementation of going concern concept, assets are recorded on historical cost instead their market values.

The entity has also been unsuccessful in applying to other financial institutions for re-financing. It is highly unlikely that the entity will be successful in renewing or re-financing the $10m borrowings and, in such an event, the directors will have no alternative but to cease to trade. The bank have already indicated that they are shortly going to commence legal proceedings to force the company to cease trading and sell off its assets to generate funds to pay off some of the borrowings. It is essential that candidates preparing for the Audit and Assurance (AA) exam understand the respective responsibilities of auditors and management regarding going concern.

Examples of going concern

This is where a candidate explores all possible options rather than  coming to a conclusion as to the auditor’s opinion, depending on the circumstances presented in the question. Many candidates fall into the trap of relying on ‘discussions with management/directors’ and ‘obtaining a contra asset is a written representation’. Similarly ISA 580, Written Representations recognises that while written representations do provide necessary audit evidence, they do not provide sufficient appropriate audit evidence on their own about any of the matters with which they deal.

What is the Going Concern Principle in Accounting?

The Going Concern Assumption is a fundamental principle in accrual accounting, stating that a company will remain operating into the foreseeable future rather than undergo a liquidation. When an auditor issues a going concern qualification, the way their opinion is disclosed depends on the structure of the business. If a company is not a going concern, the company may be revalued at the request of investors, shareholders, or the board.

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The presumption of going concern for the business implies the basic declaration of intention to keep operating its activities at least for the next year, which is a basic assumption for preparing financial statements that comprehend the conceptual framework of the IFRS. Hence, a declaration of going concern means that the business has neither the intention nor the need to liquidate or to materially curtail the scale of its operations. Accounting standards try to determine what a company should disclose on its financial statements if there are doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern. In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board determined financial statements should reveal the conditions that support an entity’s substantial doubt that it can continue as a going concern.

Management must also identify the basis in which the financial statements are prepared and often disclose these financial reports with an audit report with a going concern opinion. Candidates attempting AA will need to have a sound understanding of the concept of going concern. Among other syllabus requirements, candidates must ensure they are aware of the respective responsibilities of auditors and management regarding going concern. The provisions in ISA 570, Going Concern deal with the auditor’s responsibilities in relation to management’s use of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the financial statements.

In general, an auditor examines a company’s financial statements to see if it can continue as a going concern for one year following the time of an audit. Conditions that lead to substantial doubt about a going concern include negative trends in operating results, continuous losses from one period to the next, loan defaults, lawsuits against a company, and denial of credit by suppliers. Management typically develops plans to address going concern uncertainties – e.g. refinancing of debt, renegotiating breached covenants, and sale of assets to generate sufficient liquidity to continue to meet its obligations as they fall due. IFRS Standards do not prescribe how management should evaluate its plans to mitigate the effects of these events or conditions in the going concern assessment. Under Step 1, management determines whether events and conditions raise substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. An adverse opinion states that the financial statements do not present fairly (or give a true and fair view).

Mitigation of a qualified opinion

Even if the company’s future is questionable and its status as a going concern appears to be in question – e.g. there are potential catalysts that could raise significant concerns – the company’s financials should still be prepared on a going concern basis. Before an auditor issues a going concern https://intuit-payroll.org/ qualification, company leadership will be given an opportunity to create a plan to take corrective actions that can improve the outlook for the business. If the auditor determines the plan can be executed and mitigates concerns about the business, then a qualified opinion will not be issued.

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