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This paper gives an analysis of the accounting standards as required by International Financial Standards (IFRs) and US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) frameworks to compare methodologies of recording financial data and usefulness of the financial information reported. The GAAP standards are commonly used in United States of America while IFRS are the largely practiced around the world with 110 countries Australia being one of them (Mirza & Nandakumar, 2013). I have used K&S Corporation Limited in Australia and Ryder Supply Chain Limited to analyze the difference in accounting for assets, liabilities and revenues in the financial reporting.
Both K&S Ltd and Ryder Ltd are public traded companies in their respective countries of operation. K&S is listed in the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) while Ryder is listed in the New York Securities Exchange (NYSE). Both companies are involved in commercial transportation, supply chain management and logistics. Nevertheless, K&S limited uses IFRs standards to keep it financial records while Ryder Limited uses the US GAAP standards it financial statements.
This paper will seek to understand which methods used by either company provide decision useful information to the stakeholders of the company. It will involve definition, recognition and methodology of measuring amounts to be entered in the respective elements of balance sheet. This will enable me draw conclusions on the topic under study.
Assets are resources owned by a company. They represent resources acquired through transactions and have future economic value that can be measured through monetary terms. Assets can either be fixed or current in respect to the time that they can be converted to liquid cash. According to IFRs, assets are resource owned or controlled by an organization, from a past event and which a firm expects a future economic benefit inflow from it. According to GAAP standards, assets are defined as resources with probable economic rewards that have been acquired or managed by an organization from a past event. In both accounts, assets are recorded in accrual basis. Assets recorded in both accounting standards are inventory, account receivables, depreciations, cash, plant, property and equipments (Botosan & Huffman, 2015).
There are several similarities in both accounting standards to report reliable and financial information to the stakeholders. Despite these similarities, there are differences in arriving to some amounts to be recorded in the assets account due to different methodologies and rules. These differing techniques are discussed below.
The costing method used by US GAAP is LIFO. LIFO is the generally accepted method in reporting the cost of inventory of an entity. Consistent cost formula to be used in valuing the cost of the inventories is not required in the US GAAP. Contrast, LIFO is prohibited in the IFRS standards. It a requirement that the same formula is followed to measure inventories of the same nature (Jana & Jitka, 2014).
Additionally, the US GAAP valuation of inventory is carried out at the lower cost. On the other side, IFRS carries out measurement at a cost lower of net realizable value. The net realizable value used in IFRS is the estimate of the net amount that stock in an entity is expected to yield. The market cost used by US GAAP is the current replacement cost.
For instance, The Ryder System INC whose inventories is fuel, vehicle parts and tires are valued by use of the lower of weighted average cost or market at $ 63725000 and $ 66007000 for the year 2015 and 2014 respectively. The LIFO method used by Ryder System helps the decision makers to vary uncertainty of the factors beholds their control like inflation. The K&S Corporation has reported it inventories for 2015 as $3963000 and $3730000 for 2014. The method used to determine the inventory in K&S limited is lower than net realizable value which increases the tax burden for the inventory. Although the method can result to high profits if there is deflation in the economy.
From this analysis, Companies using US GAAP to value inventory gave more useful decision information than the ones using the IFRS standards
Both standards require systematic recording of long lived assets. The rules governing the process are the ones that are different in this category. Recording accumulated depreciations in US GAAP and IFRS standards are differentiated by what to be included in the models in the process of measuring. For instance, assets are not allowed to be revaluated under the US GAAP standards. This is different to IFRS standards that permit revaluation of assets for the entire class making them to be valued at a fair value regularly (Cook, 2005). Also, the depreciation of assets components is allowed by the US GAAP standard though it not common among entities. This is different to IFRS standards where component depreciation is only required whenever the components of an asset do have a differing patterns of value.
The Ryder System INC reports it assets depreciation by using the historical cost model .It accumulated depreciation and impairment loss are deducted from the historical value of acquiring the asset. This is different from K&S Corporation who is allowed by IFRS standards to revalue their assets to the current market value despite the accumulating depreciation.
From the above analysis, K&S Corporation is able to represent the fair value of it assets in the financial statements compared to Ryder system INC because the value reported is valued according to the market value. The fair value reflection on the financial reports gives an entity more useful decision information than their counterparts that does not revalue assets.
Though these assets are not tested annually, they differ in procedures of valuation when impairment indicates. Both standards require impaired assets be recorded in the financial statements and incase of impaired loss to be recognized. The US GAAP standards require a two step approach. The recoverability test is first to be performed. Impairment process is compulsory where intangible assets cannot be recovered. While in the IFRS standards, a one step approach method is used for determining impairments (Martínez-Torres, 2013). It is done when the impairment indicators exist.
Allocation for goodwill is done in the reporting unit as required by the US GAAP standards. While in the IFRS, goodwill is allocated to cash generating unit. It here where the goodwill is monitored (Kasztelnik, 2015).
The Ryder System INC reported it intangible assets for the year 2015 as $55192000 and $66619000 for 2014. The goodwill reported for 2015 was $ 389135000 and $ 393029000. These figures indicate that the intangible assets amortized by US$ 11507000 within one year. It also shows that the goodwill value decreased by US$40240 from 2014 to 2015. Since the company uses the US GAAP standards, it does not revalue it intangible assets and good will and therefore submitted to impairment and amortization regardless of the market fair value.
K&S Corporation reported it intangible assets for 2015 as AU$ 91088000 and AU$ 93502000 for the year 2014.The difference is only AU$ 258000.
Ryder System INC recorded high amount in impairment of long lived intangible assets as compared to K&S Corporation. Ryder uses a two steps model to measure impairment and amortization while K&S uses a one step model and can revalue it intangible assets and goodwill.
From the analysis above, IFRS standards are able to five more accurate reporting of the true and fair value of the intangible assets. Therefore, the IFRS accounting standards are able to provide more useful decision information when accounting for intangible assets than US GAAP standards.
Liabilities refers to financial obligations that entities have to it stakeholders. They are as result of past transactions. According to IASB, a liability is a present obligation bestowed to an entity that is arising from a past event and it settlement will lead to outflow of resources that have economic value (Akenbor & Major, 2015). One the other side, US GAAP defines liabilities as sacrifices of it economic benefits to settle an obligation. An entity pays another entity because of a past event or transaction. This will use assets that would yield economic value in the future.
The US GAAP and IFRS have minor differences on recording liabilities in the financial statements. The US GAAP standards state that liabilities are recorded in their order of liquidity in the financial statements. While IFRS outlines that liabilities should be reported in order of less liquidity. This order is reverse of GAAP format.
The US GAAP allows both effective interest rate method and straight line method when reporting for interest expenses from borrowing. The IFRS does not allow the straight method but rather only use the effective interest rate method to value interest expense. Additionally, IFRS has some special rules for contingent liabilities that entities are required to observe that are not in the US GAAP (Akenbor & Major, 2015).
Ryder System INC reported a total liability of US$ 8980698000 for the year 2015 and US$ 8031784000 for 2014. K&S Corporation reported AU$ 241 690000 for 2015 and AU$ 253321000 for 2014. Ryder which uses US GAAP standards report on liabilities was more comprehensive and accounted for all obligations that the company had.
From this analysis it can be established that the US GAAP offered more reliable information on the liabilities of the company. Therefore, the US GAAP has more useful decision than IFRS.
Revenues are inflows to the entity when a sale of good or service is made. Revenues are to be recognized and recorded on the time they are earned. The IFRS revenue recognition is principle-based in nature while the US GAAP is rule based.
The IFRS and US GAAP differ in areas of contracts, service revenue and multiple element arrangements.
In the construction contracts, the IFRS requires that revenue is calculated on the percentage of completion method in all cases. An entity can fail to do this in case the outcome cannot be reasonably estimated. Therefore a zero-profit method is used to account for revenues behold cost. The GAAP prefers the percentage of completion method though it not compulsory. The completed contract method is used in cases where finished contracts are hard to estimate. Therefore, costs accumulate in the construction in process (CIP) account. These amounts are not entered in financial statements until the contract is finished. The completed method is not allowed by when recording financial data using the IFRS accounting standards.
Service revenue is measured by the percentage of completion method in the IFRS standards. Also, the straight line method is used to account for service revenue when service occurs over a fixed period. In this case, the US GAAP requires companies operating in US to follow specific industry guidelines when determining an accounting method to recognize revenue from a service.
In multiple element arrangements, the IFRS lacks regulations and therefore revenue is recognized as individual component. For US GAAP, transactions in multi-element arrangements account must meet thresholds set in EITF 00-21 for a transaction to be divided separately in every element for service revenues.
Ryder System INC reported total revenues of US$ 6571893000 for 2015 and US$ 6638774000 for the year 2014. On the other side K&S reported operating revenue of AU$ 699213000for the 2015 and AU$ 586226000 for the year 2014. Ryder reported more consistent and reliable revenues as it followed the US GAAP standards that used where revenue is recognized when deemed probable receivable. Therefore, the US GAAP is more decision information useful than IFRS in this case.
In conclusion, both financial accounting standards are base for systematic accounting methods in the business world. It is also clear that IFRS is principle base while US GAAP is rule based leading to different perspectives when accounting for elements. From the analysis in this paper, IFRS standards have shown to be reliable and consistent in some elements while US GAAP taking credit on other elements. IFRS enhances fair reporting of the long term assets by allowing revaluation to the market prices while US GAAP has reliable information on measurement of inventory. Therefore, the decision usefulness of an accounting standard depends on the elements being reported.
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