To: Kim Gill
From: Emily Schrum, Ann Harlow, Jennifer Brown, Carl Foster
Re: Case 3-5
Discuss the concept of relevance. In your opinion, would the amounts reported by U.S. companies for property, plant, and equipment be more or less relevant than the current cost amounts reported by companies in England, Mexico, or elsewhere?
Information is relevant when it influences the economic decisions of users by helping them evaluate past, present, and future or by confirming or correcting their past evaluations. Relevance is also affected by materiality. Information has the quality of relevance when it is 'capable of making a difference in the economic decisions of users by helping them evaluate the effect of past and present events on future net cash inflows (predictive value) or confirm or correct previous evaluations(confirmatory value), even if it is not being used' (FASB, 2005: 2; FASB 1980: 37).
In the IASB framework information has the quality of relevance 'when it influences the economic decisions of users by helping them evaluate past, present of future events or confirming, or correcting, their past evaluations' (IASB, 1989: 24). Both frameworks thus say that accounting information is relevant if it has the capacity to make a difference in a decision. The FASB requires information to be capable of making a difference in the economic decisions of users 'even if it is not being used'. However, to be relevant the IASB definition additionally requires that information is used i.e. influences the decision maker in making economic decisions. Another small difference between the FASB and IASB framework is the FASB framework explicitly mentions that relevant information has to have predictive and feedback value, while the IASB uses these terms implicit in its framework. 'The predictive and confirmatory roles of information are interrelated...