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Subject 4. The Revaluation Model
#cfa #cfa-level-1 #financial-reporting-and-analysis #inventories-long-lived-assets-income-taxes-and-non-current-liabilities #long-lived-assets
Under U.S. accounting standards, it is compulsory to account for impairment in long-lived assets (downward revaluation). However, upward revaluation of long-lived assets to reflect fair market values is not allowed.

The balance sheet is more informative when assets and liabilities are stated at market value rather than historical cost. IASB and some other non-U.S. GAAP do permit upward revaluations. The purpose of a revaluation is to bring into the books the fair market value of long-lived assets.

  • If an asset revaluation initially decreases the asset's carrying value, the decrease is recognized as a loss. Later, if there is an increase in the carrying value, the increase is recognized as a profit (up to the amount of the original decrease).
  • If an asset revaluation initially increases its carrying value, the increase bypasses the income statement and goes to equity (revaluation surplus). Later, if there is a decrease, it first decreases the revaluation surplus, then goes to income.

Financial Statement Analysis Considerations

  • The leverage motivation. An upward revaluation may improve a firm's leverage.
  • Income manipulation. Revaluations are subjective in nature. For example, a downward revaluation will reduce ROE in the current period but make the firm more profitable in future years, since total assets and shareholders' equity will be lower.
  • Revaluation has no impact on cash flows.
  • What is the true value of the firm's long-lived assets? Why is the revaluation necessary? Who does the appraisal? How often is it done?
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