Contingent Liability Journal Entry How to Record Contingent Liabilities?


A contingent liability is a specific type of liability that could happen based on the outcome of an uncertain future event. This type of liability only gets recorded if the contingency is a possibility, and also if the total amount of the potential liability is reasonably and accurately estimated. Remote risks need not be disclosed; they are viewed as needless clutter. What about business decision risks, like deciding to reduce insurance coverage because of the high cost of the insurance premiums? GAAP is not very clear on this subject; such disclosures are not required, but are not discouraged.

Contingent Asset: Overview and Consideration – Investopedia

Contingent Asset: Overview and Consideration.

Posted: Sat, 25 Mar 2017 19:23:51 GMT [source]

See Chapter 11, section B, for a detailed discussion of the budgetary and obligational treatment of loan and loan guarantee programs under the Federal Credit Reform Act. The disclosure requirements for contingent liabilities are set forth in accounting standards. In general, companies must disclose the nature of the contingency and the expected timing and amount of any potential payments. An automobile guarantee or other product warranties are examples of contingent liabilities that, are usually recorded on a company’s books. An entity recognises a provision if it is probable that an outflow of cash or other economic resources will be required to settle the provision. If an outflow is not probable, the item is treated as a contingent liability.

For further guidance regarding contingent liabilities and contingent assets please see sections 3.2 and 3.3below. No specific module exists in Umoja for the processing of provisions contingent liabilities, contingent assets and Events after the Reporting Date. The processing of transactions for these items is a year-end process, with entries made directly in Umoja using manual journal vouchers . On the one hand, it is by definition not sufficiently definite to support the recording of an obligation. Yet on the other hand, sound financial management may dictate that it somehow be recognized.

Contingent Liability

Since it is impossible to predict the outcome of contingent liabilities, the likelihood that the contingent event will occur is estimated, and if it is greater than 50%, the liability and its related expenses are recorded. A contingent liability can affect how different users of the company’s financial statements make decisions. To protect investors’ interests, all probable contingent liabilities (chances of occurrence of at least 50%) must be recorded in a company’s books. In accounting this means to defer or to delay recognizing certain revenues or expenses on the income statement until a later, more appropriate time. Revenues are deferred to a balance sheet liability account until they are earned in a later period.

Tilray Brands Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2023 Financial … – Financial Post

Tilray Brands Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2023 Financial ….

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To report the utilization of the provision, a year end analytical exercise based on the submission from the relevant stakeholders is performed. The exercise intends to identify the actual utilization of provisions versus the non-usage or reversal of the previously recorded provisions due to changes in the circumstances since last reporting. Utilizing a provision will result in derecognizing the provision as the obligations to which the provision relates are settled, usually through the payment of cash. It is likely that working papers supporting the Umoja entries will be maintained manually in MS excel as there is no specific provisions module in Umoja. Prior to entry in Umoja it is therefore critical that the excel sheet is checked thoroughly as system controls will be limited.

When the revenues are earned they will be moved from the balance sheet account to revenues on the income statement. Expenses are deferred to a balance sheet asset account until the expenses are used up, expired, or matched with revenues. At that time they will be moved to an expense on the income statement. Adjustments for 1) revenues that have been earned but are not yet recorded in the accounts, and 2) expenses that have been incurred but are not yet recorded in the accounts. The accruals need to be added via adjusting entries so that the financial statements report these amounts.

When do I need to be aware of contingent liability?

Plus, the impact they could have will also depend on how sound the company is in its financial obligations. As well, pending lawsuits are also considered contingent liabilities because the outcome of the lawsuit is entirely unknown. This can come with estimated liability or a need to determine contingent liability legitimacy. Usually, the contingent liability will be outlined and disclosed in a footnote on the financial statement. It would not be disclosed in a footnote, however, if both conditions are not met.

Further details regarding accounting for contingent liabilities can be found in Corporate Guidance on Events After the Reporting Date, including required disclosures. As part of the year-end closing instructions, an information request should be sent to each office/mission requesting details of any significant occurring events after the reporting date. An addendum of examples of typical events after the reporting date can also be included within the closing instructions to assist staff in identifying such events.

Illinois income tax rate reports can be generated for relevant expense accounts (e.g. legal costs or settlements) to identify any payments or expenses which may relate to open provisions. As reversing manual JVs are used to make the Umoja entry, the Accounts Division should first check that provisions recognized in previous reporting periods have been reversed during the current reporting period. All cases or events that meet the recognition criteria and contingent liabilities disclosure requirements in section 2.1.1 above and meet the indicative threshold of USD 10,000 should be included in the summary. Templates may need to be tailored depending on the nature of the past events and obligations in question.

Conversion of a contingent liability to an expense depends on a specific triggering event. Contingent liabilities are possible obligations whose existence will be confirmed by uncertain future events that are not wholly within the control of the entity. An example is litigation against the entity when it is uncertain whether the entity has committed an act of wrongdoing and when it is not probable that settlement will be needed. IAS 37 defines and specifies the accounting for and disclosure of provisions, contingent liabilities, and contingent assets. But if chances of a contingent liability are possible but are not likely to arise soon, estimating its value is not possible.


A contingent liability in budgetary terminology is identified when a transaction has occurred, and future outflow or other obligation of resources is probable, and such obligation may be measured. Companies account for contingent liabilities by recording a provision in their Financial Statements. The amount of the provision is based on the best estimate of the amount that the company will ultimately be required to pay. Whose existence will be confirmed only by the occurrence or non-occurrence of one or more uncertain future events not wholly within the control of the entity. A provision is measured at the amount that the entity would rationally pay to settle the obligation at the end of the reporting period or to transfer it to a third party at that time. Risks and uncertainties are taken into account in measuring a provision.

Furthermore, in many cases, the actual payee of the liability is not known until the future event occurs. As long as the loss contingency is probable, and the loss can be reasonably estimated, you should always go with the lowest number on the range. Let us see the example where a person has purchased a motorcycle from a showroom and has a two-year warranty for the engine and the motorcycle. If the engine fails to work within six months of the purchase, the company has to replace the engine. A contingent liability is a specific type of liability that could happen in the future. While this is true for all facets of your business, it’s crucial when starting a new contract.

GAAP Guidelines for Contingent Liabilities

A contingent liability exists when it is only possible that the payment will be made. A contingent liability is recorded if the contingency is likely and the amount of the liability can be reasonably estimated. Financial StatementsFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company’s management to present the company’s financial affairs over a given period . The full disclosure principle requires that any relevant and significant facts that are related to financial performance must be disclosed in the company’s financial statements. Probable contingent liabilities mean they can be reasonably estimated, and they always need to be reflected within the financial statements of a company. Within the generally accepted accounting principles there are three main categories of contingent liabilities.

The materiality principle outlines that any and all important financial information and matters must be disclosed in a company’s financial statements. For an item or event to be considered to be material, it means that having knowledge of it occurring could change certain economic decisions for those that use the company’s financial statements. Remote contingent liabilities are ones that have a very limited possibility of occurring and these don’t need to be included at all in the financial statements of a company.

  • If an outflow is not probable, the item is treated as a contingent liability.
  • The cases that are analyzed here are originally booked through FBS1T-code and thus are automatically reversed by Umoja in the next reporting period.
  • Here, the company must disclose it but doesn’t need to record an accrual.
  • Under the accrual method of accounting, revenues are reported on the income statement for the period when the revenues were EARNED .
  • In practice, the Accounts Division may need to calculate the discounted cash flows in order to determine whether or not the impact is material.

They also will evaluate whether existing loss estimates are still reasonable. For example, a company might be involved in a legal dispute that could result in the payment of a settlement based on a verdict reached in a court. However, at the time of the company’s financial statements, whether there will be a settlement liability and the date and amount of any settlement have yet to be determined. This is an example of a contingent liability that may or may not materialize in the future.

Low Probability of Loss

The rules and guidelines that companies must follow when reporting financial data. Detailed guidance on the process of raising of manual and reversing JVs can be found in section 3.2of General Ledger Chapter. On receipt of this information, the Accounts Division will then review to ensure that it is accurate and complete, and supported by relevant documentation.

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Further details regarding the calculation of the unwinding of discounted provisions can be found in Corporate Guidance on Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets. Discounting should be performed at initial recognition of a provision as described in section 3.1.1 above. Analyze the movement of transactions using Document typeand Text field to determine nature of transactions e.g. payments made. Enter the parameters such as the GL account and select All items. Whether the correct split of payments between current and non-current portions has been made.

Issues of Contingent Liability

Please be advised that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys’ fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights. Thus, if you are not sure content located on or linked-to by the Website infringes your copyright, you should consider first contacting an attorney. The borrower enters into an agreement with the lender wherein the borrower receives cash upfront then makes payments over a set time span until he pays back the lender in full.

No Umoja entries are made for non-adjusting events; instead accounting disclosures are made where necessary. As the contingent liability is for disclosure purposes only, no entries are required. In 20X0, the claim was deemed to have met the provisions recognition criteria and a provision of USD 5 million was recognized as at 31 December 20X0.

when is a contingent liability recorded?

If the liability is likely to occur and the amount can be reasonably estimated, the liability should be recorded in the accounting records of a firm. Certain outcomes relating to a provision or contingent assets may represent very high or low potential outflow or inflow for the UN. It is therefore important to carefully assess the circumstances that may give rise to provision recognition or contingent asset disclosure to avoid excessive or exaggerated recognition of provisions in the financial statements. Under the generally accepted accounting principles , contingent liabilities are recorded as actual liabilities only if the potential liability is probable and its amount can be reasonably estimated. Contingent liabilities reflect amounts that your business might owe if a specific ‘triggering’ event happens in the future. Sometimes companies are unclear when they are required to report a contingent liability on their financial statements under U.S.

There are sometimes significant risks that are simply not in the liability section of the balance sheet. Most recognized contingencies are those meeting the rather strict criteria of “probable” and “reasonably estimable.” One exception occurs for contingencies assumed in a business acquisition. Acquired contingencies are recorded based on an estimate of actual value. The contract liability is recorded regardless of whether the cash received in advance of transferring the goods or services has been recorded in the carve-out financial statements. The term “warranty liability” refers to a financial obligation that is recorded to pay for the cost of potential future claims resulting from product warranty agreements.

  • A contingent liability exists when it is only possible that the payment will be made.
  • This is why they need to be reported via accounting procedures, and why they are regarded as “real” liabilities.
  • These final balances are known as the adjusted trial balance, and these amounts will be used in the organization’s financial statements.
  • List probable liabilities on the financial statements with a description of the contingency in the footnotes.

This is shown as a liability on the balance sheet and as an expense on the income statement. In line, the full disclosure principle states that all material information about a company’s financial position and fundamentals should be included in the financial statements. And thus, in accordance with this principle, all events or circumstances that may monetarily impact a company must be disclosed in its financial statements. At 31 December 20X1, both cases are deemed to have met the provisions recognition criteria.


In order to determine whether any additional risks have not yet been recognised, one should carefully go through the disclosures that are included with a company’s financial statements. Rather, when a contingent liability is recorded in a company’s books, that information is made available to shareholders and auditors. As a result, registering a contingent liability can be interpreted as protecting shareholders from potential losses. Knowing about contingent liability can affect an investor’s decision because it can have a negative impact on a company’s cash flow, future net profitability, and assets and may dilute an investor’s interest in the company.

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