IL Fair Value nei principi contabili internazionali: Origini e recenti tendenze (Fair Value in the International Accounting Standards Model: Background and Latest Trends)
Il controllo nelle società e negli enti, Fasc. 3, 2012
37 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 26, 2013
Fair value measurement is a traditional subject in the Anglo-Saxon accounting culture. Considering that this culture is the main basis which IASB relies on, fair value is a milestone in the IAS/IFRS too. Strong criticism has been expressed about the usefulness of this value concept and the potential damage it can generate if used in financial reporting. Some authors think that the fair value accounting has been one of the main causes of the economic and financial crisis in the capitalistic world in the last years. Nonetheless, it continues to represent a fundamental conceptual reference for the IASB. So the IASB, following the American FASB, in May 2011 issued IFRS 13, Fair Value Measurement, with the aim to improve the consistency of its actual utilization among different evaluation objects in financial accounting. The basic idea is that, in order to improve the reliability of fair value measurement, an accounting standard body ought to specify the methodological approach to be used for the typical value measurement matters, on the one hand, and to specify the disclosure requirements, on the other hand. In fact, main problems in using fair value for accounting purposes depend on the circumstance that the technical tool to measure the value of an asset or a liability is not univocal and the reliability of the result depends on the kind of informational inputs used.
Among the large range of possible value concepts by which fair value is determined, IFRS 13 prefers exit price: the price by which an asset can be sold or a liability can be transferred. As regards the reliability of the measurement, the IFRS 13 solves the problem of the different degrees of reliability by creating the concept of “fair value levels”. There are three levels and going from the first to the third, the reliability of the measurement decreases. The highest level of reliability is obtained when it is possible to rely on an active market in which the asset or liability to be evaluated is regularly exchanged. In case of a weak reliability measurement, the IASB thinks that the better solution is to give the user of the financial reporting a complete set of information about the way the fair value is measured and, especially, the associated degree of reliability (level of fair value) is assigned.
Keywords: fair value, exit value, disclosure
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