MB0041 Q1. Accounting Principles are the rules based on which accounting takes place and these rules are universally accepted. Explain the principles of materiality and principles of full disclosure. Explain why these two principles are contradicting each other. Your answer should be substantiated with relevant examples.
Principle of materiality :
While important details of financial status must be informed to all relevant parties, insignificant facts which do not influence any decisions of the investors or any interested group, need not be communicated. Such less significant facts are not regarded as material facts. What is material and what is not material depends upon the nature of information and the party to whom the information is provided. While income has to be shown for income tax purposes, the amount can be rounded off to the nearest ten and fraction does not matter. The statement of account sent to a debtor contains all the details regarding invoices raised, amount outstanding during a particular period. The information on debtors furnished to Registrar of Companies need not be in detail.
Principle of Full Disclosure
The business enterprise should disclose relevant information to all the parties concerned with the organization. It means that any information of substance or of interest to the average investors will have to be disclosed in the financial statements.
The Companies Act, 1956 requires that income statement and balance sheet of a company must give a fair and true view of the state of affairs of the company.
If change has a material effect in current period and the effect of change is ascertainable the amount of change should be disclosed.
??If the change has a material effect in current period and the effect of change is not ascertainable wholly or in part, the fact should be disclosed.
??If change has no material effect in current period but which is reasonably accepted to have a material effect in later periods, the fact of such change should be appropriately disclosed.
Materiality principle: Accountants follow the materiality principle, which states that the requirements of any accounting principle may be ignored when there is no effect on the users of financial information. Certainly, tracking individual paper clips or pieces of paper is immaterial and excessively burdensome to any company’s accounting department. Although there is no definitive measure of materiality, the accountant’s judgment on such matters must be sound. Several thousand dollars may not be material to an entity such as General Motors, but that same figure is quite material to a small, family-owned business.
Full disclosure means to disclose all the details of a security problem which are known. It is a philosophy of security management completely opposed to the idea of security through obscurity. The concept of full disclosure is controversial, but not new; it has been an issue for locksmiths since the 19th century. Full disclosure requires that full details of security vulnerability are disclosed to the public, including details of the vulnerability and how to detect and exploit it. The theory behind full disclosure is that releasing vulnerability information results in quicker fixes and better security. Fixes are produced faster because vendors and authors are forced to respond in order to save face. Security is improved because the window of exposure, the amount of time the vulnerability is open to attack, is reduced. The full disclosure principle states that any future event that may or will occur, and that will have a material economic impact on the financial position of the business, should be disclosed to probable and potential readers of the statements. Such disclosures are most frequently made by footnotes. For example, a hotel should report the building of a new wing, or the future acquisition of another property. A restaurant facing a lawsuit from a customer who was injured by tripping over a frayed carpet edge should disclose the contingency of the lawsuit. Similarly, if accounting practices of the current financial statements were changed and differ from those previously reported, the changes should be disclosed. Changes from one period to the next that affect current and future business operations should be reported if possible. Changes of this nature include changes made to the method used to determine depreciation expense or to the method of inventory valuation; such changes would increase or decrease the value of ending inventory, cost of sales, gross margin, and net income or loss. All changes disclosed should indicate the dollar effects such disclosures have on financial statements.