contingent liability journal entry: What is the meaning of contingent liabilities and its examples ?


An employee was injured at work in 20X8 due to faulty equipment and is suing Rey Co. Rey Co’s lawyers have advised that it is probable that the entity will be found liable. Rey Co would have to provide for the best estimate of any damages payable to the employee. This is because the event arose in 20X8 and, based on the evidence available, there is a present obligation. A provision is a liability of uncertain timing or amount, meaning that there is some question over either how much will be paid or when this will be paid.


The fund is maintained cash or some kind of asset/assets reserved to meet unforeseen circumstances or losses in a business. The main purpose of contingency fund is to maintain or improve a financial stability of the concern that can be resorted to in emergency. An entity recognizes 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 contingent liabilities. It is required to be disclosed in the notes to accounts unless the possibility of an outflow of a resource embodying economic benefits is remote.

What is the meaning of Contingent Liability?

ClearTax can also help you in getting your business registered for Goods & Services Tax Law. Almost 40% of business failures are caused due to inadequate financial management. Initially, when the customer had reported it to, the company refused to accept the claim and therefore, the customer has filed a legal claim against them. For example, when launching new models, vehicle manufacturers ensure that any production problems are repaired free of charge for a fair length of time. The value of a company is affected by a reasonable appraisal of such risks. These liabilities are most commonly established in industries that work on long-term projects.

product warranties

This depends on the occurrence or non-occurrence of one or more uncertain future events. A contingent liability is recorded as an ‘expense’ in the Profit & Loss Account and then on the liabilities side of the financial statement, that is the Balance sheet. Company A Ltd. has filed a lawsuit against Company B Ltd. for infringing a patent case.

Definition of Contingent Liabilities

This accrual account permits the firm to immediately post an expense without the need for a quick cash payment. If they lose the case then the debit is applied to the accrued account and the cash is credited and is reduced to 3 million. Rey Co constructed an oil platform in the sea on 1 January 20X8 at a cost of $150m.

As a result, a hypothetical contingency is frequently stated in the footnotes rather than being recorded in the books. Accounting regulations enable the readers of financial statements to have enough information. For example, the company ABC Ltd. has an outstanding lawsuit which is likely that it will be a loss with the amount that can be reasonably estimated to be 35,000. Candidates are required to learn the three key criteria for a provision, as they are likely to have to explain these in an exam.

extremely rare

Instead, when a contingent obligation is recorded in a company’s records, the information is made public to shareholders and auditors. It is a special concern that the liabilities and expenses are not understated when contingent liabilities are recorded. Prudence principle is a principle that provides for all possible losses but does not anticipate profits.

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A company may overstate its contingent liabilities and scare away traders, pay too much interest on its credit score or fail to increase sufficiently for fear of loss. Now that the IASB has published a revised Conceptual Framework, the IASB is considering once more whether IAS 37 must be revised. Estimated liabilities are the expenses that are owed because the goods or services have been used/delivered. Invoices from the suppliers have not yet been received, so the exact amount is unknown at this time. To avoid giving the impression that there is no liability or that no expense has been incurred, the company must estimate the amount.

An example is a 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. Contingent liabilities also include obligations that are not recognized because their amount cannot be measured reliably or because settlement is not probable. Here you can find the meaning of The balance sheet disclosed a footnote, contingent liability for 5000 in respect of a bill discounted. Besides giving the explanation of The balance sheet disclosed a footnote, contingent liability for 5000 in respect of a bill discounted. Has been provided alongside types of The balance sheet disclosed a footnote, contingent liability for 5000 in respect of a bill discounted.

A contingent liability is not recognized in the statement of financial position. However, unless the possibility of an outflow of economic resources is remote, a contingent liability is disclosed in the notes. Bank guarantee is a contingent liability, hence shown in notes to accounts in financial statements. There was a contingent liability in respect of bills discounted but not matured of ₹18,500. An acceptor of one bill of ₹2,500 became insolvent and fifty paise in a rupee was recovered. The liability of the firm on account of this bill discounted and dishonoured has not so far been recorded.

If a service or product fails to meet the terms of a warranty, the seller or manufacturer may be held liable and responsible for warranty costs. Similarly, knowing about contingent liability can influence a creditor’s decision to lend money to a company. The contingent liability may turn into actual liability which will harm the company’s ability to repay its debt. If a company is being sued by a former employee for any reason, the company has a contingent liability. If employers are found guilty, the company will be held liable; otherwise, there will be no liability. The Full Disclosure Principle states that all significant and relevant facts about a company’s financial performance and health should be disclosed in its financial statements/records.

YES Liabilities needs to be explained in foot notes and all the accruals of liabilities needs to be given effect in Financial Statements. As per Accounting Standards all estimated liabilities and expenditures needs to be taken into accounting except for income. Future operating losses do not meet the criteria for a provision, as there is no obligation to make these losses.

  • According to the full disclosure principle, one must reveal all essential and relevant data regarding a company’s financial performance and fundamentals in the financial statements.
  • Because the amount of products returned under warranty is unknown, a warranty is another frequent contingent liability.
  • Suppose a corporation estimates that 200 seats will need to be replaced under warranty for $50.

A contingent liability is an obligation that may occur because of the outcome of a future event that is unpredictable. Qualifying contingent liabilities are recorded as an expense on the income statement and a liability on the balance sheet. Full disclosure should be made in the footnotes of the financial statements because liability might not arise shortly, but there is a possibility of its occurrence in later years. A contingent liability is a liability or a potential loss that may occur in the future depending on the outcome of a specific event.

How is contingent Liability different from contingent Assets?

Qualifying contingent liabilities are recorded as an expense on the income statement and a liability on the steadiness sheet. A loss contingency that’s possible or potential but the quantity can’t be estimated means the quantity cannot be recorded in the firm’s accounts or reported as legal responsibility on the balance sheet. A contingent liability is a specific type of liability, which may occur depending on the result of an uncertain future event. The contingent liability is then recorded if the contingency is likely the amount of the liability will be reasonably estimated by it.

It is not uncommon for candidates to incorrectly take the $12m, thinking that the worst-case scenario should be provided for. Other candidates may calculate an expected value based on the various probabilities which also would not be appropriate in these circumstances. Rey Co has received legal advice that the most likely outcome of the court case from the employee is that they will lose the case and have to pay $10m.

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The Warranty Liability is reduced as warranty work is completed, and Cash is credited. To avoid this, the accountant may be tempted to make some provisions for potential future expenses of $3m, with the impact of making the profit seem lower in the current year. As the double entry for a provision is to debit an expense and credit the liability, this would potentially reduce profit to $10m. Then in the next year, the chief accountant could reverse this provision, by debiting the liability and crediting the statement of profit or loss. This is effectively an attempt to move $3m profit from the current year into the next financial year.

  • If circumstances change and the contingency becomes more likely, re-evaluate the item.
  • Rules specify that contingent liabilities should be recorded in the accounts when it is possible that the future event will happen and the quantity of the liability could be reasonably estimated.
  • Contingent liabilities, when present, are very important audit objects as a result of they normally represent risks which are simply misunderstood or dismissed.
  • An acceptor of one bill of ₹ 2, 500 became insolvent and fifty paise in a rupee was recovered .

On the contingent liability journal entry accounts, list possible liabilities with a description of the contingency in the footnotes. Determine whether the eventualities are probable, reasonably possible, or remote. For both management and investors, contingent liabilities can be a complex topic to grasp.

In accounting, a contingent liability is a potential liability that may or may not become an actual liability. Future events decide whether a contingent liability becomes an actual liability for the company. Company warranty or a company lawsuit are examples of such liabilities. Both these indicate the probable losses that occur to a company but are dependent on an unforeseen future event. A contingent liability is a possible obligation that may arise in future depending on occurrence or non- occurrence of one or more uncertain events.

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