Magazine

Table: Financial Statements: Getting Real


The accounting profession is slowly moving toward valuing many assets the same way economists do. Instead of recording them at their purchase price, the accountants are using current market prices. If those don't exist, they predict the cash flows that these assets will produce in the future. Here's how things stand today:

DERIVATIVES

Companies are required to estimate the current value of derivatives, typically using complex models based on current prices of related securities and assumptions about future prices

LOANS

Still normally recorded at historical cost, but FASB eventually wants companies to estimate the current value of all financial assets and liabilities using available market data and forecasts

EMPLOYEE STOCK OPTIONS

Reformers want the cost of stock options recorded as an expense using complex valuation models which depend on the anticipated range of future stock prices

INTANGIBLES

Current rules say that intangible assets such as brand names and copyrights are recorded as assets only when they are purchased from another company, not when they are internally created


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