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    Examining the criticisms of Historical Cost Accounting Essay

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    For many old ages comptrollers have been required to follow with the regulations and guidelines set out in the accounting constructs and conventions. One accounting technique used is the historical cost convention which requires the minutess to be recorded at the original monetary value, i.e. , the monetary value paid, in the balance sheet. The ‘sum and the day of the month of the dealing are both recorded under historical cost convention. This merely means that the assets and disbursals of a house must be recorded at the original cost when purchased and the net income is to be calculated by cut downing the gross by the original cost of the resources used. The point must stay in the histories until it has been disposed of.

    However, HCA does confront much unfavorable judgment due to the jobs with rising prices. When rising prices was rather high, the IASB issued the IAS 15, as it ‘s attack was to keep fiscal histories accurately, taking all factors into consideration, this merely intend that companies were required to bring forth rising prices adjusted histories, nevertheless, when rising prices fell this was removed from developed states as houses were unwilling to do such minor accommodations. However, less developed states that are sing hyperinflation, are still required to bring forth these rising prices adjusted histories. This is why the ASB continually develops new Financial Reporting theoretical accounts and continually improves bing theoretical accounts.

    Historical Cost Accounting

    ‘Financial statements produced under this convention supply a footing for finding the result of bureau understandings with sensible certainty and predictability because the day of the months are comparatively nonsubjective ‘[ 1 ]

    Historical Cost Accounting ( HCA ) has been around for many old ages and therefore has besides faced many unfavorable judgments. The chief unfavorable judgment put away against HCA was the consequence of rising prices on the accounting construct as many jobs are caused due to rising prices. The chief and most obvious job is where the dealing in a certain currency should stay the same as the clip of recording, i.e. the buying power should stay stable over clip. Another job is the consequence on net incomes as the alterations to assets, caused by rising prices are ignored. Other defects due to rising prices include, concern entities becomes ill-defined. Puting programs, decision-making and puting marks may be suboptimal if we have outdated informations.

    As an option to HCA, Current Value Accounting ( CVA ) was thought to be the most appropriate fiscal coverage method and so was researched and developed even further. After mush research and development the current value posit still suffered from a figure of disadvantages:

    HCA is more nonsubjective and therefore is more verifiable from auditable certification.

    As HCA is dealing based, CVA destroys the accurate nature of HCA.

    Due to the grade of subjectiveness in mensurating current value, the betterment in comparing commercial entities is a myth.

    Current Buying Power ( CPP ) , Replacement Cost ( RC ) and Net Realisable Value ( NRV ) are all income and value theoretical accounts that have been developed to either replace the Historical Cost convention or to work alongside it.

    Income and value are both measured utilizing the CPP theoretical account, this is merely done with the acceptance of a monetary value index system. By entering the monetary value alterations in a group of goods/services, which are used within the economic system, we can enter the monetary value fluctuations in a peculiar good/service. The base point in clip is the point where these trade goods are determined and is indexed as 100. For illustration, if we have a scope of goods that sum to ?65 on 31 Jan 20X2, the alterations recorded would be as follows:

    ?65 at 31 Jan 20X2

    ?69 at 28 Feb 20X2

    ?72 at 31 March 20X2

    ?74 at 31 April 20X2

    The indexed monetary value alterations would be:

    20X2 Calculation Index

    31 Jan 20X2 ?65 100

    28 Feb 20X2 X 100 106.2

    31 March 20X2 X 100 110.8

    31 April 20X2 X 100 113.8

    The UK, refer to this index as the Retail Price Index ( RPI ) .

    This theoretical account gives a good debut into the additions and losingss in buying power.

    2.2 – RC

    Businesss use assets and stuffs, the RC theoretical account merely measures the cost incurred in the replacing of these assets or stuffs. This is merely done by taking into history the current province of the plus and hence replaces it on a similar for similar footing. If for illustration, a shop buys a new computing machine at an initial cost of ?5000, this is to be depreciated utilizing the consecutive line method over a period of 5 old ages. Under HCA its value after twelvemonth one would be ?4000 ( i.e. 5000-1000 ) , nevertheless, if like for similar replacing costs ?6000 so the gross RC would be ?6000 and depreciation for the 1 twelvemonth would compare to ?1200 intending the original ?4000 HCA figure would now be changed to ?4800. With the extra ?800 said to be a keeping addition.

    2.3 – NRV

    If we use the above illustration to explicate the NRV theoretical account we can state the plus ab initio cost ?5000. After one twelvemonth, the plus has met all the merchandising disbursals and hence now has a value of ?4500. This merely means that the figure of ?4500 would be taken to the NRV statement of fiscal place. So the chance cost of keeping this plus is ?4500 as this sum has been sacrificed in favor of the plus. The depreciation for the twelvemonth would amount to ?500, i.e. ?5000-?4500.

    2.4 – Three theoretical accounts compared.

    HCA and CPP are both dealing based theoretical accounts which apply the capital care construct. This is merely the difference between the gap and shutting net assets. The RCA theoretical account and both HCA and CPP assumes that the concern will go on as a traveling concern. Whereas the NRVA construct assumes that the concern has the capacity to recognize its net assets at the terminal of each fiscal period and reinvest the returns.

    Accounting Standards Board

    The Accounting Standards Board ( ASB ) was established in 1990 as a subordinate of the Financial Reporting Council ( FRC ) .

    The ASB is cognizant that there have been unsuccessful standard compositors in the yesteryear in respects to obtaining a consensus on the monetary value degree seting theoretical account which would be used in fiscal statements. Therefore, the standard scene procedure agreements are overseen by the FRC and its responsibility is to back up the ASB in its undertakings and where possible, the FRC, must seek support for the ASB. The FRC issues an one-year study with the first one of these being issued in November 1991, saying:

    ‘There is no topographic point whatever for histories fit merely for just conditions, sabotaging the credibleness of the good coverage for which our state has earned a global repute. With the enterprises now in manus we seek histories that may be relied upon to give good service to boards, stockholders, creditors and employees – so all who use histories. ‘[ 2 ]

    As a consequence of the old failed criterion compositors, the ASB has adopted a gradualist attack for specific plus and liability intervention where they would be required to travel off from historical costs.

    ‘The Role of Valuation in Financial Reporting, ‘ which was issued in 1993 set out the positions of the ASB. So, when sing the bing system of modified historic costs, three options were unfastened to the ASB:

    Remove the right to modify costs in the statement of fiscal place – this option has been strongly backed by both the UK and the USA as it would convey the UK into line with the USA and some of the EU states. However, it was rejected by the ASB as the ASB would trust that the current values would be better known in the longer term in the UK.

    Immediately present a coherent current value system – this would merely be to develop a new system where current values are taken into consideration within the

    rules. The ‘statement of Accounting Policies ‘ is a system based on the value to the concern. This merely means that it considers the current value system as is merely to find the value of the plus within the concern. So, if the plus is deserving replacing we would replace it through the RC. If it is deserving maintaining, but non replacing, so utilize economic value, if it is non deserving replacing or maintaining so we would utilize NRV.

    To better the current historic cost system – this attack would cut down the figure of anomalousnesss and has been applied in FRS 3 and requires a new primary fiscal statement. ‘the Statement of Accounting Principles continues to imagine that a assorted measuring system will be used and it focuses on the mix of Historical cost and current value to be adopted. ‘[ 3 ]

    The ASB has been faced with a great trade of trouble from the Statement of Principles ( SoP ) . Where the first bill of exchange was prepared between 1991 and 1995, and finally issued in November 1995. This bill of exchange was faced with a important sum of unfavorable judgment as it was chiefly concentrating on the balance sheet instead than the net income and loss history. Therefore, following much treatment the SoP was issued in 1999 as a unequivocal papers. The chief aim of the SoP was to help the ASB by explicating the constructs that underlie the ASB ‘s work.


    Accounting criterions are hard to develop and formalize, particularly for smaller states. Therefore, some signifier of ordinance was needed for the fiscal statements that were produced by these smaller states. And so, led to the creative activity of the IASC in 1973 by a figure of the accounting organic structures from assorted states including, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Ireland and the USA.

    In 2001 the IASC was replaced by the International Accounting Standards Board ( IASB ) . Where the IASB adopted all the International Accounting Standards ( IASs ) that the IASC had set and any new criterions set by the IASB were now to be named by the International Financial Reporting Standards ( IFRSs ) . Similar to the IASC, there are 19 legal guardians who oversee any work by the IASB, these legal guardians are from around the Earth, six from Europe, six from USA, four from Asia/Pacific and the staying three can be from anyplace provided the geographical balance is retained.

    Similar to the ASB, the IASB was incognizant on how to react to the alterations in rising prices rates. This led to the issue of IAS 15 in 1983 which required that replacing cost accommodations be used in the HCA histories and besides the corrected accommodations for depreciation, cost of gross revenues and pecuniary points be recorded.

    By 1989 the IAS 15 became optional as rising prices rates fell to below dual figures which meant that the companies were unwilling to fix the rising prices adjusted histories. Then in 2003, the IAS 15 was removed, in developed states, as portion of the ASB betterment undertaking, because the rising prices rates fluctuated between 1-4 % . However, in less developed states many are sing hyperinflation therefore inflation-adjusted histories are still required.


    No better option is available to replace the flawed HCA method, this explains why the Accounting organic structures have non replaced HCA. Although HCA has a figure of restrictions, the accounting organic structures seem to disregard the fact that there are besides a figure of benefits of HCA. Corporations across the Earth recognize and accept the HCA theoretical account.

    So, if the accounting organic structures decide to replace HCA the inquiry that needs to be asked is, will it be better than historical cost accounting? It will be hard to replace as people are familiar working with HCA.

    Historical Cost Accounting is and will likely stay the oldest and most dominant method to mensurate concern public presentation, until, the accounting organic structures are able to develop a foolproof method which will efficaciously replace the HCA method.

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