TRANSLATION OF FOREIGN
CURRENCY FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Answer to Discussion Question
How Do We Report This?
This case represents the ongoing debate as to the proper reporting of foreign currency
balances. Southwestern has invested the equivalent of $30,000 (150,000 vilseks) in each of
The relative value of the vilsek has now changed.
Thus, 150,000 vilseks now
can be converted into $34,500.
However, the subsidiary does not have vilseks--only land,
inventory, and investments. Although the current exchange rate is given, the company has no
apparent plans to convert its assets into dollars.
Instead, these three assets are being held,
each with a historical cost of 150,000 vilseks.
Under the temporal method, these assets
(except for the investments if carried at market value) would be reported in the parent's
balance sheet at the original cost of $30,000. Unfortunately, as the Finance Director points out,
an old, outdated rate is being utilized if the $30,000 figure is reported.
(Of course, given that
prices tend to change over time, the same can be said for any asset reported at historical
Conversely, the current rate method requires that each of the three assets be reported at
$34,500 based on the current exchange rate.
As the controller indicates, though, $34,500 was
not the original cost expended by Southwestern.
In addition, using the current rate means that
each of the assets will constantly report a "floating" value, one that will change with each
exchange rate fluctuation.
Finally, the $34,500 figure is based on the current value of the
vilsek ($.23) and the historical cost in vilseks (150,000 vilseks) for the three assets.
current exchange rate is only significant if the assets are sold with the proceeds being
converted into U.S. dollars.
Since an imminent sale is not indicated, the validity of reporting
the $34,500 might again be questioned.
In addition, even if the assets were sold, $34,500
does not accurately reflect the proceeds in U.S. dollars because 150,000 vilseks is the
historical cost and not the current market value of each of these assets.
As a classroom exercise or written assignment, students could be required to select a reported
value for each of the three assets and then defend their position.
What figure is actually the
fairest representation of each of the three assets?
What figure is the best conveyor of
information to an outside party?
There is no single best answer to these questions.
purpose of this type of exercise is to force students to consider the objectives of financial
Students should not just assume that the current official pronouncement is correct.
One possible approach to the case is to assign several students to represent banks or
stockholders and discuss the types of information that is most needed by these users.
Another group of students can take the position of the company responsible for preparing the