Observations about financial assets / liabilities
Observations about financial assets / liabilities
Chain of contractual rights / obligations: A chain of contractual rights or contractual obligations meets the definition of a financial instrument if it will ultimately lead to the receipt or payment of cash or to the acquisition or issue of an equity instrument.
Cash: Cash is a financial asset because it represents the medium of exchange and is therefore the basis on which all transactions are measured and recognised in financial statements. Also, it is specifically included in the definition of financial asset.
Bank deposit: A bank deposit is a financial asset because it represents the contractual right of the depositor to obtain cash from the institution or to draw a cheque or similar instrument against the balance in favour of a creditor in payment of a financial liability.
Note payable in government bonds: A note payable in government bonds gives the holder the contractual right to receive and the issuer the contractual obligation to deliver government bonds, not cash. The bonds are financial assets because they represent obligations of the issuing government to pay cash. Here the financial instrument is one for which the economic benefit to be received or given up is a financial asset other than cash. The note is, therefore, a financial asset of the note holder and a financial liability of the note issuer.
Perpetual debt instruments: Perpetual debt instruments normally provide the holder with the contractual right to receive payments on account of interest at fixed dates extending into the indefinite future, either with no right to receive a return of principal or a right to a return of principal under terms that make it very unlikely or very far in the future. For example, an entity may issue a financial instrument requiring it to make annual payments in perpetuity equal to a stated interest rate of 8% applied to a stated par or principal amount of Rs 1,000. Assuming 8% to be the market rate of interest for the instrument when issued, the issuer assumes a contractual obligation to make a stream of future interest payments having a fair value (present value) of Rs 1,000 on initial recognition. The holder and issuer of the instrument have a financial asset and a financial liability, respectively.
Contingent right and obligation: The ability to exercise a contractual right or the requirement to satisfy a contractual obligation may be absolute, or it may be contingent on the occurrence of a future event. For example, a financial guarantee is a contractual right of the lender to receive cash from the guarantor, and a corresponding contractual obligation of the guarantor to pay the lender, if the borrower defaults. The contractual right and obligation exist because of a past transaction or event (assumption of the guarantee), even though the lender’s ability to exercise its right and the requirement for the guarantor to perform under its obligation are both contingent on a future act of default by the borrower. A contingent right and obligation meet the definition of a financial asset and a financial liability, even though such assets and liabilities are not always recognised in the financial statements. Some of these contingent rights and obligations may be insurance contracts within the scope of Ind AS 104.
Finance lease: Under Ind AS 116 ‘Leases’, a finance lease is regarded as primarily an entitlement of the lessor to receive, and an obligation of the lessee to pay, a stream of payments that are substantially the same as blended payments of principal and interest under a loan agreement. The lessor accounts for its investment in the amount receivable under the lease contract rather than the leased asset itself.
Operating lease: An operating lease, on the other hand, is regarded as primarily an uncompleted contract committing the lessor to provide the use of an asset in future periods in exchange for consideration similar to a fee for a service. The lessor continues to account for the leased asset itself rather than any amount receivable in the future under the contract. Accordingly, a finance lease is regarded as a financial instrument and an operating lease is not regarded as a financial instrument (except as regards individual payments currently due and payable).
Physical assets: Physical assets (such as inventories, property, plant and equipment), leased assets and intangible assets (such as patents and trademarks) are not financial assets. Control of such physical and intangible assets creates an opportunity to generate an inflow of cash or another financial asset, but it does not give rise to a present right to receive cash or another financial asset.
Prepaid expenses: Prepaid expenses, for which the future economic benefit is the receipt of goods or services, rather than the right to receive cash or another financial asset, are not financial assets.
Warranty obligations: Warranty obligations are not financial liabilities because the outflow of economic benefits associated with them is the delivery of goods and services rather than a contractual obligation to pay cash or another financial asset.
Non-contractual assets/liabilities: Liabilities or assets that are not contractual (such as income taxes that are created as a result of statutory requirements imposed by governments) are not financial liabilities or financial assets. Accounting for income taxes is dealt with in Ind AS 12. Similarly, constructive obligations, as defined in Ind AS 37 ‘Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets’, do not arise from contracts and are not financial liabilities.