What is a gain contingency, and do they need to recorded on the balance sheet and or in the notes to the financial statements? - Cod. #


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Zebra filed a $10 million lawsuit against Lion for predatory business practices, alleging Lion stole several of Zebra’s designs without its permission. At the end of the year, the lawyers for both companies believe https://accounting-services.net/gain-contingency-accountingtools/ Zebra will win the lawsuit, putting its chances of success of between 75-80%. Furthermore, Lion’s lawyers believe Lion will settle the lawsuit in the coming year, paying between $4.5 million and $8.5 million.

Liquidity measures evaluate a company’s ability to pay current debts as they come due, while solvency measures evaluate the ability to pay debts long term. One common liquidity measure is the current ratio, and a higher ratio is preferred over a lower one. This ratio—current assets divided by current liabilities—is lowered by an increase in current liabilities (the denominator increases while we assume that the numerator remains the same).

According to accounting principles, companies are not allowed to record gain contingencies until the gain is realized or realizable. Our example only covered the warranty expenses anticipated from the 2019 sales. Since the company has a three-year warranty, and it estimated repair costs of $5,000 for the goals sold in 2019, there is still a balance of $2,200 left from the original $5,000. However, its actual experiences could be more, the same, or less than $2,200. If it is determined that too much is being set aside in the allowance, then future annual warranty expenses can be adjusted downward.

  • If the contingencies do occur, it may still be uncertain when they will come to fruition, or the financial implications.
  • Warranties arise from products or services sold to customers that cover certain defects (see (Figure)).
  • When determining if the contingent liability should be recognized, there are four potential treatments to consider.

Entities often make commitments that are future obligations that do not yet qualify as liabilities that must be reported. For accounting purposes, they are only described in the notes to financial statements. Contingencies are potential liabilities that might result because of a past event. The likelihood of loss or the actual amount of the loss is still uncertain.

3 Accounting for Contingencies

The result of the current condition, situation, or set of circumstances, is unknown until future events occur (or do not occur). Contingencies are different from estimates, even though both involve a level of uncertainty. Calculating depreciation using an estimated useful life or amounts accrued for services received are not contingencies. Despite the favorable outlook, this potential financial gain is a gain contingency. The key accounting rule related to gain contingencies is that they should not be recognized until it is virtually certain that they will be realized.

A settlement of responsibility in the case has been reached, but the actual damages have not been determined and cannot be reasonably estimated. This is considered probable but inestimable, because the lawsuit is very likely to occur (given a settlement is agreed upon) but the actual damages are unknown. No journal entry or financial adjustment in the financial statements will occur. Instead, Sierra Sports will include a note describing any details available about the lawsuit.

5 Gain contingencies

A gain contingency is an uncertain situation that will be resolved in the future, possibly resulting in a gain. The accounting standards do not allow the recognition of a gain contingency prior to settlement of the underlying event. Doing so might result in the excessively early recognition of revenue (which violates the conservatism principle). Instead, one must wait for the underlying uncertainty to be settled before a gain can be recognized. As you’ve learned, not only are warranty expense and warranty liability journalized, but they are also recognized on the income statement and balance sheet. The following examples show recognition of Warranty Expense on the income statement (Figure) and Warranty Liability on the balance sheet (Figure) for Sierra Sports.

Guidance on ASC 450 and ASC 460

When damages have been determined, or have been reasonably estimated, then journalizing would be appropriate. (Figure)Roundhouse Tools has several potential warranty claims as a result of damaged tool kits. A gain contingency refers to a situation where an entity (such as a business or organization) may experience a financial gain in the future, but the realization of that gain is uncertain. In accounting, the recognition of revenue or gains is generally based on the realization principle, meaning that revenue is recognized when it is realized or realizable and earned. Gain contingencies differ from realized gains in that they are uncertain and contingent upon future events. Sierra Sports may have more litigation in the future surrounding the soccer goals.

How to Account for Gain and Loss Contingencies

It could also be determined by the potential future, known financial outcome. However, gain contingencies might be disclosed in the notes to the financial statements, but should not be reflected in income until realization. Care should be exercised in disclosing gain contingencies to avoid misleading implications as to the recognition of revenue prior to its realization. Therefore, Zebra should disclose the fact that it is involved in a suit with Lion and that an outcome is expected the following year, which is anticipated to be favorable. IAS 37, Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets, states that the amount recorded should be the best estimate of the expenditure that would be required to settle the present obligation at the balance sheet date. That is the best estimate of the amount that an entity would rationally pay to settle the obligation at the balance sheet date or to transfer it to a third party.

For our purposes, assume that Sierra Sports has a line of soccer goals that sell for $800, and the company anticipates selling 500 goals this year (2019). Past experience for the goals that the company has sold is that 5% of them will need to be repaired under their three-year warranty program, and the cost of the average repair is $200. To simplify our example, we concentrate strictly on the journal entries for the warranty expense recognition and the application of the warranty repair pool. If the company sells 500 goals in 2019 and 5% need to be repaired, then 25 goals will be repaired at an average cost of $200.

If the amount of the loss is a range, the amount that appears to be a better estimate within that range should be accrued. If no amount within the range is a better estimate, the minimum amount within the range should be accrued, even though the minimum amount may not represent the ultimate settlement amount. If a contingency may result in a gain, it is allowable to disclose the nature of the contingency in the notes accompanying the financial statements. However, the disclosure should not make any potentially misleading statements about the likelihood of realization of the contingent gain. Doing so might lead a reader of the financial statements to conclude that a gain would be realized in the near future. Another way to establish the warranty liability could be an estimation of honored warranties as a percentage of sales.

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