Chapter 17 - Solution Manual

The future cash flows necessary to settle a liability

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the future cash flows necessary to settle a liability and the likelihood of possible outcomes are incorporated into the measurement of the fair value of the liability. For example, a third party would charge a price to assume an uncertain liability even though the likelihood of a future sacrifice is less than probable. Similarly, when the likelihood of a future sacrifice is probable, the price a third party would charge to assume an obligation incorporates expectations about some future events that are less than probable. Recognizing the fair value of an obligation results in recognition of some obligations for which the likelihood of future settlement, although more than zero, is less than probable from a loss contingencies perspective. 05-7 Because this Subtopic deals with uncertainty differently, the recognition guidance in Section 450-20-25 is inconsistent with standards in other Topics that have an objective of measuring fair value. > Accruals of Loss Contingencies Do Not Provide Financial Protection 05-8 Accrual of a loss related to a contingency does not create or set aside funds to lessen the possible financial impact of a loss. Confusion exists between accounting accruals (sometimes referred to as accounting reserves) and the reserving or setting aside of specific assets to be used for a particular purpose or contingency. Accounting accruals are simply a method of allocating costs among accounting periods and have no effect on an entity's cash flow. Those accruals in no way protect the assets available to replace or repair uninsured property that may be lost or damaged, or to satisfy claims that are not covered by insurance, or, in the case of insurance entities, to satisfy the claims of insured parties. Accrual, in and of itself, provides no financial protection that is not available in the absence of accrual. 05-9 An entity may choose to maintain or have access to sufficient liquid assets to replace or repair lost or damaged property or to pay claims in case a loss occurs. Alternatively, it may transfer the risk to others by purchasing insurance. The accounting standards set forth in this Subtopic do not affect the fundamental business economics of that decision. That is a financial decision, and if an entity's management decides to do neither, the presence or absence of an accrued credit balance on the balance sheet will have no effect on the consequences of that decision. Insurance or reinsurance reduces or eliminates risks and the inherent earnings fluctuations that accompany risks. Unlike insurance and reinsurance, the use of accounting reserves does not reduce or eliminate risk. The use of accounting reserves is not an alternative to insurance and reinsurance in protecting against risk. Earnings fluctuations are inherent in risk retention, and they are reported as they occur.
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