THE REPORTING ENTITY AND CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Q3-1 The basic idea underlying the preparation of consolidated financial statements is the notion that the consolidated financial statements present the financial position and the results of operations of a parent and its subsidiaries as if the related companies actually were a single company.
Q3-2 Without consolidated statements it is often very difficult for an investor to gain an understanding of the total resources controlled by a company. A consolidated balance sheet provides a much better picture of both the total assets under the control of the parent company and the financing used in providing those resources. Similarly, the consolidated income statement provides a better picture of the total revenue generated and the costs incurred in generating the revenue. Estimates of future profit potential and the ability to meet anticipated funds flows often can be more easily assessed by analyzing the consolidated statements.
Q3-3 Parent company shareholders are likely to find consolidated statements more useful. Noncontrolling shareholders may gain some understanding of the basic strength of the overall economic entity by examining the consolidated statements; however, they have no control over the parent company or other subsidiaries and therefore must rely on the assets and earning power of the subsidiary in which they hold ownership. The separate statements of the subsidiary are more likely to provide useful information to the noncontrolling shareholders.
Q3-4 A parent company has the ability to exercise control over one or more other entities. Under existing standards, a company is considered to be a parent company when it has direct or indirect control over a majority of the common stock of another company. The FASB has proposed adoption of a broader definition of control that would not be based exclusively on stock ownership.
Q3-5 Creditors of the parent company have primary claim to the assets held directly by the parent. Short-term creditors of the parent are likely to look only at those assets. Because the parent has control of the subsidiaries, the assets held by the subsidiaries are potentially available to satisfy parent company debts. Long-term creditors of the parent generally must rely on the soundness and operating efficiency of the overall entity, which normally is best seen by examining the consolidated statements. On the other hand, creditors of a subsidiary typically have a priority claim to the assets of that subsidiary and generally cannot lay claim to the assets of the other companies. Consolidated statements therefore are not particularly useful to them. Q3-6 When one company holds a majority of the voting shares of another company, the investor should have the power to elect a majority of the board of directors of that company and control its actions. Unless the investor holds controlling interest, there is always a chance that another party may acquire a sufficient number of shares to gain control of the company, or that the other shareholders may join together to take control.
Q3-7 The primary criterion for consolidation is the ability to directly or indirectly exercise control. Control normally has been based on ownership of a majority of the voting common stock of another company. The Financial Accounting Standards Board is currently working on a broader definition of control. At present, consolidation should occur whenever majority ownership is held unless other circumstances indicate that control is temporary or does not rest with the parent.
Q3-8 Consolidation is not appropriate when control is temporary or when the parent cannot exercise control. For example, if the parent has agreed to sell a subsidiary or plans to reduce its ownership below 50 percent shortly after year-end, the subsidiary should not be consolidated. Control generally cannot be exercised...