ABSTRACT

Although notes are an integral part of the financial statements, users lacking a technical accounting background often overlook them or consider them to be too difficult (Kieso et al. 2010). The authors observe that faculty generally devote little or no class time to the discussion or drafting of notes. Intermediate accounting textbooks relegate the presentation of notes to the end of the second intermediate accounting course. Nonetheless, notes are extremely important to financial statement users. In this case, students examine selected notes of the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Holy See (the financial entity associated with the Roman Catholic Papacy) for the year 2007. The Holy See's financial statement notes are ideal for discussion purposes, because students find “surprises.” Upon completion of the Discussion Questions, students have a new appreciation for financial statement notes, along with insights into how certain aspects of the FASB and IASB Conceptual Frameworks are linked to the notes. A case that attempted to include discussion of all the notes or the entire Conceptual Framework would become unwieldy. Therefore, in this case, we limit our focus to the accounting entity concept, relevance, and faithful representation. The case may be used with students enrolled in accounting courses from the principles level to the graduate level.

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