Wednesday, July 25, 2012

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text courtesy of Wikipedia
HedgeA hedge is a type of derivative, or a financial instrument, that derives its value from an underlying asset. This concept is important and will be discussed later. Hedging is a way for a company to minimize or eliminate foreign exchange risk. Two common hedges are forwards and options. A Forward contract will lock in an exchange rate at which the transaction will occur in the future. An option sets a rate at which the company may choose to exchange currencies. If the current exchange rate is more favorable, then the company will not exercise this option.
Accounting for Derivatives[edit] Under IFRSGuidelines for accounting for financial derivatives are given under IFRS 7. Under this standard, "an entity shall group financial instruments into classes that are appropriate to the nature of the information disclosed and that take into account the characteristics of those financial instruments. An entity shall provide sufficient information to permit reconciliation to the line items presented in the balance sheet".[1] Derivatives should be grouped together on the balance sheet and valuation information should be disclosed in the footnotes. This seems fairly straightforward, but IASB has issued two standards to help further explain this procedure. The International Accounting Standards IAS 32 and 39 help to give further direction for the proper accounting of derivative financial instruments. IAS 32 defines a "financial instrument" as "any contract that gives rise to a financial asset of one entity and a financial liability or equity instrument of another entity".[2] Therefore, a forward contract or option would create a financial asset for one entity and a financial liability for another. The entity required to pay the contract holds a liability, while the entity receiving the contract payment holds an asset. These would be recorded under the appropriate headings on the balance sheet of the respective companies. IAS 39 gives further instruction, stating that the financial derivatives be recorded at fair value on the balance sheet. IAS 39 defines two major types of hedges. The first is a cash flow hedge, defined as: "a hedge of the exposure to variability in cash flows that (i) is attributable to a particular risk associated with a recognized asset or liability or a highly probable forecast transaction, and (ii) could affect profit or loss".[3] In other words, a cash flow hedge is designed to eliminate the risk associated with cash transactions that can affect the amounts recorded in net income. Below is an example of a cash flow hedge for a company purchasing Inventory items in year 1 and making the payment for them in year 2, after the exchange rate has changed.
Notice how in year 2 when the payable is paid off, the amount of cash paid is equal to the forward rate of exchange back in year 1. Any change in the forward rate, however, changes the value of the forward contract. In this example, the exchange rate climbed in both years, increasing the value of the forward contract. Since the derivative instruments are required to be recorded at fair value, these adjustments must be made to the forward contract listed on the books. The offsetting account is other comprehensive income. This process allows the gain and loss on the position to be shown in Net income.
The second is a fair value hedge. Again, according to IAS 39 this is "a hedge of the exposure to changes in fair value of a recognized asset or liability or an unrecognized firm commitment, or an identified portion of such an asset, liability or firm commitment, that is attributable to a particular risk and could affect profit or loss".[3] More simply, this type of hedge would eliminate the fair value risk of assets and liabilities reported on the Balance sheet. Since Accounts receivable and payable are recorded here, a fair value hedge may be used for these items. The following are the journal entries that would be made if the previous example were a fair value hedge.