摘要：【高顿ACCA小编】2016年 ACCA 即将迎来一年四次考试，我们将第一时间公布考试相关内容，请各位考生密切关注高顿ACCA，预祝大家顺利通过ACCA考试。今天为大...
I. The accounting problem
Before IAS37 provisions were recognized on the basis of prudence， little guidance was given on when a provision should be recognized and how it should be measured. This gave rise to inconsistencies， and also allowed profits to be manipulated.
Some problems are noted below：
(a) Provisions could be recognized on the basis of management intentions， rather than on any obligation to be entity;
(b) Several items could be combined into one large provision. There were known as ‘big bath’ provisions;
(c) A provision could be created for one purpose and then used for another;
(d) Poor disclosure made it difficult to assess the effect of provisions on reported profits. In particular， provisions could be created when profits were high and released when profits were low in order to smooth profits.
IAS 37 views a provision as a liability.
A provision is a liability of uncertainty timing or amount;
A liability is an obligation of an enterprise to transfer economic benefits as a result of past transactions or events.
Provision must be based on obligations， not management intentions.
(2) Under IAS37， a provision should be recognized：
a. When an enterprise has a present obligation;
b. It is probable that a transfer of economic benefits will be required to settle it;
c. A reliable estimate can be made of its amount; if a reasonable estimate cannot be made， then the nature of the provision and the uncertainties relating to the amount and timing of the cash flows should be disclosed.
A provision is made for something which will probably happen. It should be recognized when it is probable that a transfer of economic events will take place and when its amount can be estimated reliably.
(3) Contingent liabilities
The Standard defines a contingent liability as：
(a) A possible obligation that arises from past events and whose existence will be confirmed only by the occurrence or non-occurrence of one or more uncertain future events not wholly within the control of the enterprise; or
(b) A present obligation that arises from past events but is not recognized because：
(i) It is not probable that an outflow of resources embodying economic benefits will be required to settle the obligation; or
(ii) The amount of the obligation cannot be measured with sufficient reliability.
As a rule of thumb， probable means more than 50% likely. If an obligation is probable， it is not a contingent liability – instead， a provision is needed.
Treatment of contingent liabilities
Contingent liabilities should not be recognized in financial statements but they should be disclosed. The required disclosures are：
(a) A brief description of the nature of the contingent liability;
(b) An estimate of its financial effect;
(c) An indication of the uncertainties that exist;
(d) The possibility of any reimbursement;
(4) Contingent assets
A possible asset that arises from the past events whose existence will be confirmed by the occurrence of one or more uncertain future events not wholly within the enterprise’s control.
A contingent asset must not be recognized. Only when the realization of the related economic benefits is virtually certain should recognition take place. At that point， the asset is no longer a contingent asset.
Disclosure： contingent assets
Contingent assets must only be disclosed in the notes if they are probable. In that case a brief description of the contingent asset should be provided along with an estimate of its likely financial effect.
II. Specific application
1. Future operating losses
In the past， provisions were recognized for future operating losses on the grounds of prudence. However these should not be provided for the following reasons.
①They relate to future events;
②There is no obligation to a third party. The loss-making business could be closed and the losses avoided.
2. Onerous contracts
An onerous contract is a contract in which the unavoidable costs of meeting the contract exceed the economic benefits expected to be received under it.
A common example of an onerous contract is a lease on a surplus factory. The leaseholder is legally obliged to carry on paying the rent on the factory， but they will not get any benefit from using the factory.
The least net cost of an onerous contract should be recognized as a provision. The least net cost is the lower of the cost of fulfilling the contract or of terminating it and suffering any penalty payments.
Some assets may have been bought specifically for the onerous contract. These should be reviewed for impairment before any separate provision is made for the contract itself.
Droopers has recently bought all of the trade， assets and liabilities of Dolittle， an unincorporatd business. As part of the take-over all of the combined business’s activities have been relocated at Droopers main site. As a result Dolittle’s premises are now empty and surplus to requirements.
However， just before the acquisition Dolittle had signed a three year lease for their premises at $6000 per calendar month. At 31 December 2003 this lease ad 32 months left to run and the landlord had refused to terminate the lease. A sub-tenant had taken over part of the premises for the rest of the lease at a rent of $2500 per calendar month.
(a) Should Droopers recognized a provision for an onerous contract in respect of this lease?
(b) Show how this information will be presented in the financial statements for 2003 and 2004. Ignore the time value of money.
Droopers has a legal obligation to pay a further $192000 to the landlord， as a result of a lease signed before the year end. Therefore an onerous contract exists and must be provided for.
There is also an amount recoverable form the sub-tenant of $80000(32×2500). This will be shown separately in the balance sheet as an asset.
The $192000 payable and the $80000 recoverable can be netted off in the income statement.
income statements 2003 2004
provision for onerous lease contract
net rental payable on lease (72-30) -42000 Dr
release of provision 42000 Cr
amounts recoverable from sub-tenants80000 Dr.50000 Dr
amounts payable on onerous contracts192000 Cr120000 Cr
A restructuring is a programme that is planned and controlled by management and has a material effect on：
①The scope of a business undertaken by the reporting entity in terms of the products or services it provides; or
②The manner in which a business undertaken by the reporting entity is conducted;
Restructuring includes terminating a line of business， closure of business locations， changes in management structure， and refocusing a business’s operations.
Restructuring provisions have always been quite common， and have often been misused. IAS37 restricts the recognition of restructuring provisions to situations where an entity has a constructive obligation to restructure.
A constructive obligation will only arise if：
①There is a detailed formal plan for restructuring. This must identify the businesses， locations and employees affected; and
②Those affected have a valid expectation that the restructuring will be carried out. This can be by starting to implement the plan or by announcing it to those affected.
The constructive obligation must exist at the year-end.(Any obligation arising after the year end may require disclosure under IAS10)
A board decision alone will not create a constructive obligation unless：
①The plan is already being implemented. For example， assets are being sold， redundancy negotiations have begun; or
②The plan has been announced to those affected by it. The plan must have a strict timeframe without unreasonable delays; or
③The Board itself contains representatives of employees or other groups affected by the decision.(This is common in mainland Europe.)
An announcement to sell an operation will not create a constructive obligation. An obligation will only arise when a purchaser is found and there is a binding sale agreement.
A restructuring provision should only include the direct costs of restructuring. These must be both：
(a) Necessarily entailed by the restructuring; and
(b) Not associated with the ongoing activities of the entity;
The following costs must not be provided for because they relate to future events：
(a) Retaining or relocating staff;
(c) Investment in new systems and distribution networks;
(d) Future operating losses (unless arising from an onerous contract)
(e) Profits on disposal of assets.