Accounting Conservatism

« Back to Glossary Index

What is Accounting Conservation?


Accounting conservatism is an approach to accounting that emphasizes the prevention of losses rather than the maximization of profits. This approach 

is based on the belief that it is better to err on the side of caution when recording financial information in order to avoid potential problems down the road.

There are a few key principles that guide accounting conservatism. First, revenue should only be recognized when it is realized or realizable, and expenses should be recognized as soon as they are incurred. This means that income should only be reported once it has been earned, and expenses should be reported as soon as they are incurred, even if they will not be paid until later.

Second, assets should only be reported at their original cost rather than their current market value. This is because the market value of assets can fluctuate over time, and reporting them at their current value could lead to distortions in financial statements.

Third, liabilities should be reported at their full amount, even if they are not due to be paid for some time. This is because it is important to provide a clear picture of a company’s financial obligations.

Fourth, losses should be recognized as soon as they are incurred, even if there is a chance that they may be recovered later. This is because recognizing losses immediately helps to ensure that they are not carried forward into future periods, where they could potentially cause further problems.

Overall, accounting conservatism is a risk-averse approach to accounting that is designed to protect against potential losses. This approach is based on the principle of prudence, which is the principle that it is better to err on the side of caution when making financial decisions. Conservatism, therefore, is a key element of sound financial management.

« Back to Glossary Index
Scroll to Top

Join Our List

Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special offers.