Accounting information often has quantitative and qualitative characteristics. Quantitative characteristics refer to the calculation of financial transactions.
Tweet Concepts Statement 2 examines the qualitative characteristics that make accounting information useful, and the FASB has gone to considerable effort to lay out what usefulness means. Usefulness is a high-level abstraction. To serve as a meaningful criterion or standard against which to judge the results of financial accounting, usefulness needs to be made more concrete and specific by analyzing it into its components at lower levels of abstraction.
The two primary components of usefulness are relevance and reliability. Advertisement While those concepts are more concrete than usefulness, they are still quite abstract. For accounting standards setting, usefulness cannot be interpreted to mean whatever a particular individual interprets it to mean.
A judgment that a piece of information is useful must be the result of a careful analysis that confirms first that the information possesses the qualities at the most concrete level of the hierarchy: Is it timely and does it have predictive or feedback value or both?
Is it representationally faithful, verifiable, and neutral? If it has those characteristics, it is relevant and reliable. Only then, if information has survived that kind of examination, can it be deemed useful. The exhibit shows two constraints, primarily quantitative rather than qualitative in nature.
The pervasive constraint is that the benefits of information should exceed its cost. Information that would be useful for a decision may be just too expensive to justify providing it. The hierarchy distinguishes between user-specific and decision-specific qualities because whether a piece of information is useful to a particular decision by a particular decision maker depends in part on the decision maker.
The better informed decision makers are, the less likely it is that any new information can add materially to what they already know. That may make the new information less useful, but it does not make it less relevant to the situation.
If an item of information reaches a user and then, a little later, the user receives the same item from another source, it is not less relevant the second time, though it will have less value. For that reason, relevance has been defined in this Statement paragraphs 46 and 47 in terms of the capacity of information to make a difference to someone who does not already have it rather than in terms of the difference it actually does make.
Financial information is a tool and, like most tools, cannot be of much direct help to those who are unable or unwilling to use it or who misuse it. Its use can be learned, however, and financial reporting should provide information that can be used by all—nonprofessionals as well as professionals—who are willing to learn to use it properly.
Efforts may be needed to increase the understandability of financial information.
Cost-benefit considerations may indicate that information understood or used by only a few should not be provided. Conversely, financial reporting should not exclude relevant information merely because it is difficult for some to understand or because some investors or creditors choose not to use it.
If either is missing completely from a piece of financial statement, the financial statement will not be useful.
In choosing between accounting alternatives, one should strive to produce information that is both as relevant and as reliable as possible, but at times it may be necessary to sacrifice some degree of one quality for a gain in the other.
That definition of relevance is more explicit than the dictionary meaning of relevance as bearing on or relating to the matter in hand. Without a knowledge of the past, the basis for a prediction will usually be lacking. Without an interest in the future, knowledge of the past is sterile.Understandable.
Accounting information must be understandable. This is an important qualitative characteristic for small business owners. Many small business owners do not have a strong accounting. The demand for accounting information by investors, lenders, creditors, etc., creates fundamental qualitative characteristics that are desirable in accounting information.
There are six qualitative characteristics of accounting information. We will look at each qualitative characteristic in more detail below. Relevance.
Secondary Qualitative Characteristics. A system's secondary qualitative characteristics make its accurate, relevant data easier to use.
Verifiability is the capacity to back up information. Receipts and invoices make accounting information verifiable, allowing you to dig deeper into the numbers on the page to determine their accuracy and relevance.
Which qualitative characteristic of accounting information is not followed? comparability Assume that the profession permits the savings and loan industry to defer losses on investments it sells, because immediate recognition of the loss may have adverse economic consequences on the industry.
The following are all qualitative characteristics of financial statements: Understandability. The information must be readily understandable to users of the financial statements. This means that information must be clearly presented, with additional information supplied in the supporting footnotes as needed to assist in clarification.
Relevance. The information must be relevant to the needs of the users, which is the case . Qualitative characteristics include the business owner’s perceived importance of financial information.
Business owners often require financial information when making business decisions.