Impairment loss refers to the reduction in the carrying value of a particular asset exceeding the cash flow expected in future which is undisclosed in nature. Here, it is important to note that the net carrying value is the acquisition cost of an asset less depreciation. In this context, Rennekamp et al. (2014) stated that impairment takes place when a company abandons or sells an asset as the concerned asset is no longer useful to the company. In other words, impairment loss takes place when a business asset undergoes depreciation in fair market value which is greater than the book value of that particular asset on the financial statements and accounts of the organization. According to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), impaired assets are required to be shown as a loss in the income statement of the business (Jordan and Clark, 2015).
Calculation of impairment loss requires due care as the same involves various technical aspects. It is important to identify the various factors resulting in the impairment of an asset. As mentioned by Liu and Yu (2013), regulatory enforcement, changes in market factors, reduced asset functionality because of aging factor, workforce turnover and introduction of new legislation are some of the key factors leading to impairment loss. However, in certain cases an asset might be functioning well but advancement in similar technologies forces an organization to abandon that asset to maintain competitive advantage against the rivals.
Fair market calculation can be viewed as the key to the calculation of the amount of impairment loss as it is almost impossible to determine impairment loss without proper estimation of fair market value. In this context, Sooriyakumaran and Thirunavukkarasu (2013) mentioned that fair market value refers to the financial value that a particular asset would fetch if sold in the market on a particular date. Alternatively, it is also referred to as the future cash flows that an asset is expected to generate through continuous business operations. It is also known as the recoverable amount. Post identification of fair market value the next step is to compare the fair market value with the carrying value of concerned asset. Carrying value is obtained from the accounting records of the concerned company (El Kasmioui and Ceulemans, 2013). Here, in case the holding cost of the asset is greater than the fair market value then the particular asset is considered as an impaired asset. If the organization decides to sale the impaired asset in that case the costs related to the sale of asset is added back to the amount remaining after deducting carrying value from the net future values (Darrough et al., 2014)
Recognition of impairment loss is yet another important factor associated with financial accounting. Impairment losses are either recognized through the revaluation model or the cost model. This depends on whether the amount debited through the adjusted & new fair market value as discussed above. Here, it is important to note that in case even a little tax benefit is achieved through impairment then also impairment is considered as bad for the company.
As per the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) 136, impairment of assets is the same as the International Accounting Standards (IAS) 36 (HAO et al, 2014). According to the scope specified in paragraph 2-5 of the AASB (136), assets’ impairment is applicable to all assets except Inventories or stocks (AASB 102), Assets resulting from construction related contracts (AASB 111), Deferred tax assets (AASB 112), Assets getting created from employee benefits (AASB 119), Financial assets (AASB 139), Investment properties that are measured at fair value (AASB 140), Biological assets associated to agricultural activities which are measured at fair value (AASB 141), Assets related to insurance contracts (AASBs 4, 1023 and 1038) and Non-current or fixed assets that are held for sale (AASB 5).
Impairment loss is a nominal account and the nature of the transaction is of revenue one. In other words, impairment loss represent revenue loss (Karampinis and Hevas, 2014). Hence, impairment losses are debited to the profit or loss account or the income statement. In addition, the value of the concerned asset is reduced accordingly because of impairment loss in the balance sheet. Occurrence of impairment loss reduces the amount of net profits (Penner et al., 2013). Impairment losses are recognized through appropriate journal entries.
Disclosures are also essential for impairment loss (Peters, 2009). The various disclosures in respect of impairment losses as per IAS 36.121 are Impairment losses recognized in the income statement, Impairment related losses reversed in the income statement, Line items in comprehensive income statement, Impairment losses in respect of revaluation of assets which are recognized in the other comprehensive income, Impairment losses in respect of revalued assets that are later reversed in the statement of other comprehensive income.
Disclosure in respect of reportable segment (IAS 36. 129) include Impairment related losses which gets reversed and Impairment losses that are recognized.
In case any impairment loss (individual) on asset reversal which is material for disclosure (IAS 36. 130) disclosures need to be made based on amount of reversal or loss, circumstances or events leading to impairment loss, segment and nature of individual assets, amount and description of impairment loss, reversal, as per segment & classes of asset. In case fair value is obtained by deducting disposal cost from fair value, fair value hierarchy in accordance to the fair value measurement related standard as per IFRS 13. The valuation techniques need to be disclosed. Discount rate to be disclosed if the recoverable amount is determined based on the fair value minus disposal cost by applying present value tools or value in use.
If impairment losses are reversed and recognized are material in addition to the financial statements as a whole (IAS 36.131) then major circumstances and events and main asset classes that are affected need to be disclosed.
Also, all detailed information in respect of estimates that have been used for measuring recoverable amounts in respect of cash generating units comprising of intangible assets or goodwill having indefinite useful lives (IAS 36. 134-35).
Impairment of an asset refers to a reduction in the fair value of an asset because of adolescence, damage and other reasons. A company is required to show decrease in the value of fixed assets in the balance sheet and recognize impairment loss in the income statement. In current context, it is observed that there is difference in the value of both the company and the land in terms of book value and fair value. It is important to understand certain aspects prior to understanding the causes of such difference. These are discussed below:
This is the benefit which is expected to recover in future from a fixed asset. Here, the benefit is economic in nature which is actually derived by usage of the asset or disposal of the same. Recoverable amount can be viewed as the higher of value in use and fair value minus costs.
This is the amount which is obtained by deducting costs associated with selling an asset from the existing market value of the asset. Examples of such costs include registration, commission and others.
This is the current value of the net cash flows that can be derived from an asset in the form of cash flows from the continuance of an asset.
In case, the carrying amount of an asset is found to be greater than the recoverable amount then the asset is said to be impaired and requires the company to recognize & provide for such impairment loss. However, if the carrying value of the asset is lower than the recoverable amount then no impairment takes place.
Impairment loss can be treated in any one of the two major ways and these are cost model and revaluation model. In current scenario, cost model has been used for the treatment of impairment loss.
In current scenario, a difference in the value of assets is observed between the book value and fair value. The value of total assets as shown by the balance sheet is $16, 80, 000. This is the carrying value of the total assets or the value of the company. On the other hand, analyses have revealed that the recoverable amount is $14, 20, 000. This is the market value of the assets alternatively known as the fair value. In other words, if all the assets as shown in the balance sheet are sold in the market currently then the same would fetch an amount of $14, 20, 000. However, the value of such assets as shown in the balance sheet is $16, 80, 000 which is greater than the recoverable amount. This indicates that the assets held by the company are impaired. Impairment loss is the amount by which the carrying value of the assets is greater than the recoverable value. Impairment loss is a revenue item and is debited to the profit or loss account or the income statement and subsequently the value of assets are reduced by the amount of impairment loss.
Impairment loss = Carrying value of asset – Recoverable value of asset
Impairment loss = $16, 80, 000 - $14, 20, 000
= $2, 60, 000
DEBIT : PL - Impairment losses account - $2, 60, 000
CREDIT : Assets (allowance) account - $2, 60, 000
Darrough, M.N., Guler, L. and Wang, P., 2014. Goodwill impairment losses and CEO compensation. Journal of Accounting, Auditing & Finance, 29(4), pp.435-463.
El Kasmioui, O. and Ceulemans, R., 2013. Financial analysis of the cultivation of short rotation woody crops for bioenergy in Belgium: barriers and opportunities. BioEnergy Research, 6(1), pp. 336-350.
HAO, Y., ZHAO, K. and HAO, Z., 2014. Research on Fair Value, Fluctuation of Assets' Value and Audit Fees: Based on the Empirical Evidences of Listed Companies in ShangHai and ShenZhen Stock Markets from 2009 to 2012 [J]. Journal of Nanjing Audit University, 1, p.012.
Jordan, C.E. and Clark, S.J., 2015. Do Canadian Companies Employ Big Bath Accounting When Recording Goodwill Impairment?. International Journal of Economics and Finance, 7(9), p.159.
Karampinis, N.I. and Hevas, D.L., 2014. Effects of the asymmetric accounting treatment of tangible and intangible impairments in IAS36: International evidence. The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, 11, pp.96-103.
Liu, X. and Yu, Y., 2013. Impact in earnings management of fair value measurement based on electric power industry. International Business Research, 6(8), p.49.
Penner, J., Kreuze, J. and Langsam, S., 2013. Long-Lived Asset Impairments in the Shipping Industry and the Impact on Financial Statement Ratios: Comparing US GAAP and IFRS Standards. International Journal of Accounting and Financial Reporting, 3(2), p.76.
Peters, G., 2009. Fixing the financial system. Business Strategy Review, 20(3), pp. 12-17.
Rennekamp, K., Rupar, K.K. and Seybert, N., 2014. Impaired judgment: The effects of asset impairment reversibility and cognitive dissonance on future investment. The Accounting Review, 90(2), pp.739-759.
Sooriyakumaran, L. and Thirunavukkarasu, V., 2013. Disclosures and impacts of impairment of Non-current assets in the financial statements: A study on listed manufacturing Companies in Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in Sri Lanka. Merit Research Journal of Accounting, Auditing, Economics and Finance, 1(6), pp.122-133.
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