Common errors when accounting for inventories – NZ IAS 2 – Part 2
Last month’s ‘common errors’ article highlighted six common errors where items are often incorrectly classified as inventory when they should be classified as something else on the statement of financial position/balance sheet.
This month we explore other common errors made when valuing inventories, including errors made when other NZ IFRSs drive measurement of inventories.
Common error 1 – Ignoring the impact of applying NZ IFRS 3 Business Combinations to measuring inventories
The acquirer in a business combination is required to recognise and measure all identifiable assets at fair value on acquisition date.
The acquirer shall measure the identifiable assets acquired and the liabilities assumed at their acquisition-date fair values.
NZ IFRS 3, paragraph 18
In order to comply with the measurement requirements in NZ IAS 2 for its standalone financial statements and management reporting, the acquiree’s own inventory system records each inventory item at ‘cost’, determined using a FIFO, weighted average or standard costing valuation method.
However, post-acquisition, items of inventory acquired at acquisition date, and still on hand at reporting date, are to be measured at acquisition date (business combination date) ‘fair value’.
We need to consider NZ IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement principles when determining what this acquisition date (business combination date) ‘fair value’ should be. ’Fair value’ is not the amount an end user would pay for the finished product. Rather, it is an ‘exit price’, i.e. the price that would be received from selling an asset in its current condition. This means that we deduct appropriate amounts for costs to complete the inventory, selling effort, and a reasonable profit margin.
The table below provides a general guide on how to measure inventory at fair value.
Type of inventory
How to measure fair value
Selling prices less the sum of:
Selling prices of finished goods less the sum:
Current replacement cost.
Many entities ‘forget’ this NZ IFRS 3 requirement, resulting in a common error, whereby fair value adjustments for such inventory are ignored.
Common error 1
Inventory acquired as part of a business combination measured at cost in the consolidated financial statements instead of fair value.
Common error 2 – Failing to capitalise interest costs on qualifying assets as inventories
NZ IAS 23 Borrowing Costs does not give a choice of capitalising borrowing costs. All borrowing costs incurred on a qualifying asset must be capitalised, including where the qualifying asset is classified as inventory.
An entity shall capitalise borrowing costs that are directly attributable to the acquisition, construction or production of a qualifying asset as part of the cost of that asset. An entity shall recognise other borrowing costs as an expense in the period in which it incurs them.
NZ IAS 23, paragraph 8
NZ IAS 23, paragraph 5
While the standard does not define what is meant by a ‘substantial period’, it is generally accepted that an asset taking more than 12 months to be ready for its intended use or sale would be a qualifying asset. This means that inventories with long production cycles could be considered qualifying assets, e.g. properties, wine, or certain types of machinery held for sale.
The only exceptions would be for biological assets measured at fair value under NZ IAS 41 Agriculture, and inventories that are manufactured, or otherwise produced in large quantities on a repetitive basis, even if they take a substantial period of time to get ready for sale (e.g. wine).
Failing to capitalise borrowing costs into the cost of inventories within the scope of NZ IAS 23 means that interest costs will be expensed immediately, resulting in both profits and inventories being understated in the financial statements.
Common error 2
Failing to capitalise borrowing costs into the cost of inventories that are qualifying assets.
Common error 3 – Inappropriately capitalising borrowing costs to inventories
While many entities fall into the trap of not capitalising borrowing costs as part of the cost of inventories in common error 2 above, others go overboard and capitalise interest costs when:
- The inventory is not being developed, or
- Development of the inventory is complete.
Common error 3
Capitalising borrowing costs into the cost of inventories when the items are not being developed, or when development has ceased.
Common error 4 – Recording imported inventories at the hedge rate rather than the spot rate
Many entities mistakenly assume that if they have entered into foreign currency contracts to fix the NZD price of imported inventories, this ‘hedge rate’ can be used to determine the cost of purchases. NZ IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement (NZ IFRS 9 Financial Instruments post 1 January 2018) only permits the hedge rate to be used where hedge accounting applies (i.e. the entity has met the requirements in NZ IAS 39 or NZ IFRS 9 to apply hedge accounting). Otherwise, NZ IAS 21 The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates requires these inventories to be recorded at spot rate.
If a hedge of a forecast transaction subsequently results in the recognition of a non-financial asset or a non-financial liability, or a forecast transaction for a non-financial asset or non-financial liability becomes a firm commitment for which fair value hedge accounting is applied, then the entity shall adopt (a) or (b) below:
Extract of NZ IAS 39, paragraph 98(b)
NZ IAS 21, paragraph 21
Where hedge accounting is not applied, a common error is to subsume any movements in derivatives in the cost of inventories, rather than recognising these as a period expense.
Common error 4
No hedge accounting but inventories costed at the foreign currency contract rate, rather than at spot rate.
Common error 5 – Capitalising foreign exchange movements on trade payables for inventory purchases into the cost of inventories
NZ IAS 21 requires outstanding foreign currency trade payables (monetary items) to be measured at reporting date at spot rate. This results in a gain or loss being recognised in profit or loss.
At the end of each reporting period:
Extract of NZ IAS 21, paragraph 23
Exchange differences arising on the settlement of monetary items or on translating monetary items at rates different from those at which they were translated on initial recognition during the period or in previous financial statements shall be recognised in profit or loss in the period in which they arise, except as described in paragraph 321.
NZ IAS 21, paragraph 28
1 Paragraph 32 is N/A here as it refers to the net investment in a foreign operation
Another common error occurs when entities capitalise this foreign currency gain or loss into the cost of inventories. NZ IAS 21, paragraph 28 specifically requires such amounts to be expensed immediately.
Common error 5
Capitalising foreign exchange differences on trade payables into the cost of inventories.
Common error 6 – Translating inventories purchased in foreign currencies to spot rate at reporting date
As noted in common error 5 above, foreign currency monetary items are retranslated to spot rate at the reporting date. However, non-monetary items, including inventories, are not retranslated, but instead remain at historical cost
At the end of each reporting period:
Extract of NZ IAS 21, paragraph 23
Monetary items are units of currency held and assets and liabilities to be received or paid in a fixed or determinable number of units of currency.
NZ IAS 21, paragraph 8
Conversely, the essential feature of a non-monetary item is the absence of a right to receive (or an obligation to deliver) a fixed or determinable number of units of currency. Examples include: amounts prepaid for goods and services (e.g. prepaid rent); goodwill; intangible assets; inventories; property, plant and equipment; and provisions that are to be settled by the delivery of a non-monetary asset.
Extract of NZ IAS 21, paragraph 16
A common error occurs when inventories purchased in a foreign currency, e.g. USD, but still on hand at year end are retranslated to spot rate. NZ IAS 21, paragraph 16 is explicit that inventories are non-monetary items, and therefore should remain at historical cost.
Common error 6
Translating inventories purchased in a foreign currency to spot rate at reporting date.
Next month, the last in our series of common errors when applying NZ IAS 2 will focus on typical errors arising when applying the valuation requirements of NZ IAS 2.
For more on the above please contact your local BDO representative.