Contingent Asset: Overview and Consideration

At the start of the year, Rey Co sets a profit target of $10m for the year ended 31 December 20X8. The chief accountant of Rey Co has reviewed the profit to date and realises they are likely to achieve profits of $13m. The accountant knows that if Rey Co reports a profit of $13m, directors will not get any more of a bonus than if they reported $10m. For some ACCA candidates, specific IFRS® standards are more favoured than others. However, IAS 37 is often a key standard in FR exams and candidates must be prepared to demonstrate application of the criteria.

Unlike contingent assets, they refer to a potential loss that may be incurred, depending on how a certain future event unfolds. In accountancy, contingent assets (i.e., holdings without liability) are one of the company’s standard types of financial instruments. A contingent liability that is expected to be settled in the near future is more likely to impact a company’s share price than one that is not expected to be settled for several years. Often, the longer the span of time it takes for a contingent liability to be settled, the less likely that it will become an actual liability. Assume that a company is facing a lawsuit from a rival firm for patent infringement. The company’s legal department thinks that the rival firm has a strong case, and the business estimates a $2 million loss if the firm loses the case.

The concept of materiality states that if a contingency gain is unrealized and affects the decision of the users it should be disclosed in notes. If it appears that there is a possible outflow then no provision is recorded. A contingent liability is simply a disclosure note shown in the notes to the accounts. Instead, a description of the event should be given to the users with an estimate of the potential financial effect. In addition to this, the expected timing of when the event should be resolved should also be included.

  • Finally, it will examine some specific issues which are often assessed in relation to the standard.
  • Only if the company wins the court case & gains from it, the contingent asset will actually be realized.
  • Therefore, such circumstances or situations must be disclosed in a company’s financial statements, per the full disclosure principle.
  • Once, this has been made certain that there will be a rise of economic benefits, these contingent assets can easily be included in all the different financial statements which are made.

Contingent assets are an accounting tool used to account for uncertain future events. A contingent asset is a financial item with a value that does not exist until its actual receipt of payment has occurred. It is created only when the event it represents comes about and matures into cash or some other kind. Because of the concept of conservatism, a contingent asset and gain will not be recorded in a general ledger account or reported on the financial statements until they are certain. [This is different from contingent liabilities and contingent losses, which are recorded in accounts and reported on the financial statements when they are probable and the amount can be estimated.

Importance of Contingent Assets:

This rule has two parts, first the type of obligation, and second, the requirement for it to arise from a past event (ie something must already have happened to create the obligation). Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, paycheck protection program and consultant for more than 25 years. We faced problems while connecting to the server or receiving data from the server. Once you have viewed this piece of content, to ensure you can access the content most relevant to you, please confirm your territory.

The contingent liability may arise and negatively impact the ability of the company to repay its debt. According to the full disclosure principle, all significant, relevant facts related to the financial performance and fundamentals of a company should be disclosed in the financial statements. A warranty is another common contingent liability because the number of products returned under a warranty is unknown.

Standard history

Usually, all GAAPs does not allow recording of contingent assets in books of accounts due to the principle of prudence or conservatism. Contingent assets are assets that are likely to materialize if certain events arise. These assets are only recorded in financial statements’ footnotes as their value cannot be reasonably estimated. Contingent liabilities also include obligations that are not recognised because their amount cannot be measured reliably or because settlement is not probable. An entity recognises a provision if it is probable that an outflow of cash or other economic resources will be required to settle the provision. If an outflow is not probable, the item is treated as a contingent liability.

Contingent Assets are possible assets or potential economic benefits because they do not currently exist but may arise in the near future. The shift from possible assets to real assets for the entity is dependent on the occurrence or non-occurrence of future events which are not under its control. Accountants are in charge of generating financial statements and recording the transactions related to different assets and liabilities.

Provisions Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets:

That standard replaced parts of IAS 10 Contingencies and Events Occurring after the Balance Sheet Date that was issued in 1978 and that dealt with contingencies. Read our latest news, features and press releases and see our calendar of events, meetings, conferences, webinars and workshops. Our Standards are developed by our two standard-setting boards, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

Definition of contingent liability

A contingent asset is a potential asset that may become an actual asset depending on future events. In other words, it’s an asset that is not currently recognized because it’s not confident that the asset will be realized. Let’s say Company ABC has filed a lawsuit against Company XYZ for infringing a patent. If there is a decent chance that Company ABC will win the case, it has a contingent asset. This potential asset will generally be disclosed in its financial statement, but not recorded as an asset until the lawsuit is settled. Alternatively, they might occur due to uncertainty relating to the outcome of an event in which an asset may be created.

What is a Contingent Liability?

However, unless the possibility of an outflow of economic resources is remote, a contingent liability is disclosed in the notes. IAS 37 defines and specifies the accounting for and disclosure of provisions, contingent liabilities, and contingent assets. Contingent assets also crop up when companies expect to receive money through the use of a warranty. Other examples include benefits to be received from an estate or other court settlement. Anticipated mergers and acquisitions are to be disclosed in the financial statements. However, sometimes companies put in a disclosure of such liabilities anyway.

As the double entry for a provision is to debit an expense and credit the liability, this would potentially reduce profit to $10m. Then in the next year, the chief accountant could reverse this provision, by debiting the liability and crediting the statement of profit or loss. This is effectively an attempt to move $3m profit from the current year into the next financial year. Companies operating in the United States rely on the guidelines established in the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

A warranty is considered contingent because the number of products that will be returned under a warranty is unknown. Contingent liabilities are also important for potential lenders to a company, who will take these liabilities into account when deciding on their lending terms. Business leaders should also be aware of contingent liabilities, because they should be considered when making strategic decisions about a company’s future. In these notes for contingent assets and liabilities, we are going to discuss both of these topics so that students can have an idea about the chapter and can score good marks in the examinations.



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