Fair value accounting is a financial statement standard that uses observable market data to determine the current value of an asset. The basis for this method is the quoted market price of an item at the date of measurement. This level should be used whenever an active market exists for an item of interest. This method is typically used to value stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments that can be traded freely. The fair value of an asset or liability should be derived from income and other factors.
The use of fair value accounting can be problematic for two reasons. First, it can result in wildly varying values, especially when the asset is volatile. While fair value accounting is beneficial in some circumstances, it can also increase litigation risk. It is possible that an investor can challenge a company’s decision based on unreliable estimates. In addition, it may encourage managers to commit fraud. A third concern of fair value accounting is the potential for large swings in value.
The key difference between fair value and market value is that fair value refers to the price at which an asset could sell for a reasonable price in the current market. A security can be considered “fair” if its market price is the same for the seller and buyer. Fair value is an important concept in accounting and should be used when a company sells an asset or acquires an asset. So what is fair value? Fair value is the current market value of an asset or liability as it appears on an exchange.
While the fair value approach imposes less of a drag on earnings than historical cost accounting, it can actually increase M&A activity. Investment banks rely on this type of activity as a main source of revenue. However, some financial analysts fear the implementation of this new standard could increase the risk of a company’s valuation declining. That’s why the fair value accounting standard is crucial to the survival of a company’s operations.