SYNOPSIS:

This paper contributes to the development of a “Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting” as currently being undertaken by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). Building on the ideas of “asymmetric prudence” and the business model, it contrasts “value added” and “price change” businesses and argues that an entry price is appropriate for the operating assets of the former kind of business while a current market value is appropriate for the latter. It notes that both historical cost and current cost are entry values. While accepting that historical cost is likely to continue to be widely used, it questions whether the Conceptual Framework should preclude the use of current cost, and argues that if current cost is to be used, then the cost of consumption should be reported separately from holding gains and losses. The paper advocates the reporting of operating income, and discusses what items of income and expense should be reported in other comprehensive income rather than in profit or loss. It questions whether all such items should be “recycled” to the statement of profit or loss in a later accounting period.

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