Going Concern

When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly. If it appears the business will have to cease operations, the accountant might have to “write-down” the value of the business’s inventory or other assets, which reduces the overall value of the company. Investors or other shareholders might ask for a business valuation to determine the true value of a business before making a final decision about how to act in light of the negative opinion. Existing or potential lawsuits, regulatory issues and other legal matters could result in financial burdens the business would need to overcome. A historical cost is a measure of value used in accounting in which an asset on the balance sheet is recorded at its original cost when acquired by the company. Off-balance sheet financing is a form of financing in which large capital expenditures are kept off of a company’s balance sheet through various classification methods.

Going Concern

The information in this article does not address audits performed in accordance with PCAOB standards. Though management’s plans are disclosed, the probability of success is not provided. Management assesses how the current events and conditions impact its operations, in particular, its revenue, expenses, funding and liquidity, with the key focus being whether it will have sufficient liquidity to continue to meet its obligations as they fall due. See our Guide to annual financial statements – COVID-19 supplement, which illustrates possible examples of going concern and liquidity risk disclosures.

Tax And Accounting Regions

Auditors may need refreshers on what the auditing standards say about going concern and how they interact with the accounting requirements. The valuation of companies in need of restructuring values a company as a collection of assets, which serves as the basis of the liquidation value. However, a sizeable portion of investors in the market utilize DCF models or at least take the fundamentals of the company into consideration (e.g. free cash flows, profit margins), so comps take into account these factors, too – just indirectly as opposed to explicitly.

The assumption that a business is a going concern supports the practice of valuing assets and liabilities at their historical cost. The principle of historical cost dictates that assets and liabilities must be entered into accounting records at the cost the company paid for them when they were initially acquired, even if the market value changes significantly. For example, if a firm purchases land for $300,000, assets totaling that amount of money would appear on its financial statements. If the value of the land increased to $400,000, the historical valuation concept would dictate that the value of the land would continue to be carried on the books at $300,000.

Actions For Management

The going concern approach utilizes the standard intrinsic and relative valuation approaches, with the shared assumption that the company will be operating perpetually. If substantial doubt does not exist, then going concern disclosures are not necessary. As you would expect, the answer to this question determines whether going concern disclosures are to be made and what should be included.

Statements should also show management’s interpretation of the conditions and management’s future plans. Peggy James is a CPA Going Concern with over 9 years of experience in accounting and finance, including corporate, nonprofit, and personal finance environments.

What Is The Impact On The Going Concern Assumption If Significant Deterioration Has Occurred Since Reporting Date?

The level of detail of disclosures will depend on the company’s specific facts and circumstances, including the nature and extent of impacts on the company. Lenders themselves may be experiencing liquidity issues and may need central bank assistance to be able to continue to provide, or increase, financing. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

Going Concern

Certainly, there may very well be an increase in the number of emphasis-of-matter paragraphs and we can expect more disclosure in the financial statements about the risks and uncertainties. An entity’s financial statements would not look substantially different from everyone else’s financial statements if they’re done appropriately, because I think there are going to be many in that category. Once the auditor establishes whether conditions and events warrant a going concern evaluation, the next step for the auditor is to ask whether management has performed the evaluation that they are required to perform under the accounting framework as described above. Some special-purpose frameworks may address this evaluation of a reasonable period of time. For instance, the Financial Reporting Framework for SMEs also has the period defined as 12 months from the financial statement date, for example the balance sheet date.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

This can lead to a reduction in the carrying amount of the assets to their liquidation value, and so the assets will lose the value they once held. As an accounting principle, the going concern principle serves as a guideline which allows readers of a business’s financial statements to assume that the business will continue to operate long enough to carry out its current obligations, objectives and commitments. The topic of going concern is especially relevant today, given the many uncertainties resulting from the current health and economic crises. Companies of all sizes in all industries are faced with closures of specific locations or complete shutdowns, employee layoffs and restrictions on work, liquidity issues, and disruptions to their supply chains and customers. While some entities may not be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, entities in many different industries and locations have experienced negative impacts that need to be evaluated. As a result, auditors and financial statement preparers need to brush up on the existing going concern requirements to address those situations.

When you look at what we’re facing with the pandemic, clients with very strong balance sheets may not have significant doubt about being able to operate as a going concern for a 12-month period just based on the strength of their financials. It’s possible that we may have businesses out there that can withstand this for 12 months just based on the strength of their financials.

If the going concern assumption did not hold true, then it would not be possible to record prepaid or accrued expenses as such. When assessing an organisation’s ability to continue as a going concern, management will need to consider the expected impact of the current economic uncertainty and market volatility caused by COVID-19. In our experience, if there are such material uncertainties then a company usually provides disclosure as part of the basis of preparation note in the financial statements. Previously prepared budgets may be of limited relevance when economic and business conditions are changing rapidly. They may require significant revision – e.g. for forecast sales, gross margins and changes in working capital – to be able to support management’s assessment in the unpredictable environment. After updating the forecasts, management will need to assess whether it expects to remain in compliance with financial covenants. The Going Concern Concept is the assumption that an organization will continue to operate indefinitely and without needing to liquidate its assets and pay off creditors.

Mitigating Risk Factors

Listing of long-term assets normally does not appear in a company’s quarterly statements or as a line item on balance sheets. Listing the value of long-term assets may indicate a company plans to sell these assets. In infrequent cases, the auditor may be unable to express an opinion about the company’s ability to remain a going concern and, thus, may issue a disclaimer to that effect. This situation can occur if limitations are imposed on the scope of the audit by the company’s management. Aside from a disclaimer, the auditor can also write an adverse opinion, if he or she concludes that the financial statements do not present the firm’s situation fairly.

FASB only requires the evaluation for the year following the date the financial statements are issued . Events following this one year period have no bearing on the current year going concern decisions. The financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis which assumes the Company will be able to realize its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business for the foreseeable future. Cash flows used in operations totaled $555,897 for the year ended March 31, 2017. External events that create economic uncertainty may have a significant impact on a company’s ability to continue as a going concern and might require robust assessment and entity-specific disclosures.

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It’s given when the auditor has doubts about the company and the assumption that it is a https://www.bookstime.com/. A qualified opinion can be a concern to investors, lenders and other stakeholders. If there is an issue, the audit firm must qualify its audit report with a statement about the problem.

This could include information of their assumptions and inputs used in their modelling of cash flow forecasts and actions the organisation will be embarking to support the going concern assumption. Details of financing facilities sought and now available at balance date, potentially to cover any working capital deficiency, including expiry periods and any significant requirements under the facility agreements i.e. debt covenants. The going concern is very important in the accounting world because it gives investors and creditors an idea of how long a business will be around. The more years that are given, the better it is for the company’s future stability. If no assurance was given on how long a business would be around, this could make operations difficult for everyone involved.

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If a company continues to experience substantial losses every year along with cash flow difficulties, it might be less viable in the future. If a company is a going concern, it has no intention to liquidate, so why should it report the current value of its long term assets? Yet, if the value of an asset has been damaged or weakened, then the carrying amount of the asset could be reduced to an amount lower than its carrying value.

Special Considerations Related To The Covid

This frequently puts the auditor in the position, in effect, of deciding whether a company is able to obtain the funds it needs to continue operating. The auditor’s expression of uncertainty about the company’s ability to continue may contribute to making it a certainty. A current definition of the going concern assumption can be found in the AICPA Statement on Auditing Standards No.1 Codification of Auditing Standards and Procedures, Section 341, “ The Auditor’s Consideration of an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern”. The ‘going concern’ concept assumes that the business will remain in existence long enough for all the assets of the business to be fully utilized. Utilized assets means obtaining the complete benefit from their earning potential.


If a company is no longer a going concern, certain company-specific assets, such as custom software, can be worth much less in resale than its purchase cost. Also, if the company is in a hurry to sell its assets, it can’t wait for an optimal selling price. If a company is no longer a going concern, it shows that it has gone bankrupt, and so it liquidated its assets. The going concern principle provides some justification for accountants to follow the cost principle.

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