COVID 19 and the going concern assessment

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In the face of continuing uncertainty around the progress of COVID-19 and what a recovery may look like, directors of many organisations are concerned about how their companies, registered schemes or disclosing entities (“the entity” or “entities”) will be affected in the short and medium term and what their obligations are in relation to going concern.

The concept of going concern is an underlying assumption in the preparation of financial statements, hence it is assumed that the entity has neither the intention, nor the need, to liquidate or curtail materially the scale of its operations. If management conclude that the entity has no alternative but to liquidate or curtail materially the scale of its operations, the going concern basis cannot be used and the financial statements must be prepared on a different basis (such as the ‘break-up’ basis).

The concept of going concern is particularly relevant in times of economic difficulties and in some situations management may determine that a profitable company may not be a going concern, for example because of significant cash flow difficulties. It is important that candidates understand that it is the responsibility of management to make an assessment of whether the use of the going concern basis of accounting is appropriate, or not, when they are preparing the financial statements.


International opinion

In order to conclude as to whether, or not, an entity is able to continue in business for the foreseeable future, management will have to make judgments on various uncertain future outcomes of events or conditions. ISA 570 outlines three factors that are relevant and which management must take into consideration when determining whether, or not, an entity can prepare the financial statements on the going concern basis:

  • The degree of uncertainty associated with the outcome of an event or condition increases significantly the further into the future an event or condition or the outcome occurs. For that reason, most financial reporting frameworks that require an explicit management assessment specify the period for which management is required to take into account all available information.
  • The size and complexity of the entity, the nature and condition of its business and the degree to which it is affected by external factors affect the judgment regarding the outcome of events or conditions.
  • Any judgment about the future is based on information available at the time at which the judgment is made. Subsequent events may result in outcomes that are inconsistent with judgments that were reasonable at the time they were made.


Course Features

  • Lectures 5
  • Quizzes 0
  • Duration 3 hours = 3 CPD points
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Students 88
  • Certificate Yes
  • Assessments Yes

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