Financial Accounting Concepts

What is the Going Concern Concept?

The going concern concept is a core principle that assumes a business entity will continue operating for the foreseeable future, typically in the next 12 months.

This signifies that the company doesn’t plan or anticipate ceasing operations, liquidating its assets, or significantly reducing its business scale.

Why is the Going Concern Concept Important?

This concept is important because it allows investors, creditors, and other stakeholders to make informed decisions about the entity’s financial health and stability. By assuming that the entity will continue as a going concern, financial statements can more accurately reflect the true financial position and performance of the business.

Without this concept, there would be uncertainty and doubt surrounding the entity’s ability to continue operating, leading to unreliable financial information.

Valuation of Assets: Under the going concern concept, assets are valued based on their projected future use within the business. This means property, plant, and equipment (PP&E) are depreciated over their useful life, not their resale value. Similarly, inventory is valued at its cost, assuming it will be sold in the ordinary course of business.

Classification of Liabilities: Current liabilities represent debts that are due within a year, while non-current liabilities are due beyond a year. The going concern concept allows companies to classify long-term debt as non-current, reflecting the expectation of continued operations to generate revenue and meet these obligations.

When is the Going Concern Concept in Question?

If there’s significant doubt about a company’s ability to continue as a going concern, auditors are obligated to express a “going concern” opinion in their audit report. This essentially flags potential risks to investors and creditors.

Red Flags for Going Concern Issues

Several factors might indicate a company’s going concern concept is questionable:

Sustained Losses: A history of continuous financial losses can raise doubts about the company’s ability to meet its obligations.

Liquidity Issues: Difficulty meeting short-term debt obligations or a lack of sufficient working capital can signal potential financial distress.

Debt Covenants: Violations of loan agreements or debt covenants can trigger repayment demands, jeopardizing the company’s financial stability. Consequently, there may be more debt than the available assets and the company would be ordered to be wound up on the court’s orders.

Industry Downturn: Operating in a struggling industry with declining demand can raise concerns about the company’s long-term viability.

Auditor’s Opinion: The auditor’s opinion on a company’s ability to continue as a going concern is a critical aspect of the financial reporting process. This opinion provides stakeholders with valuable insight into the company’s financial stability and long-term viability.

Auditors carefully evaluate the company’s financial statements, management’s plans for addressing any potential issues, and other relevant factors to determine whether there is substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue operating. If significant concerns are identified, the auditor may issue a qualified or adverse opinion, alerting stakeholders to potential risks.

When the Going Concern Concept Doesn’t Apply

In situations where substantial evidence suggests the company will likely cease operations, the going concern concept is abandoned. Financial statements are then prepared on a liquidation basis, meaning assets are valued at their estimated selling price in a forced sale, and liabilities are presented at their immediate settlement value.


The going concern concept is a fundamental principle that shapes the way financial statements are prepared and interpreted. It allows for a more realistic assessment of a company’s financial health and future prospects. Recognizing the factors that can cast doubt on the going concern concept empowers investors and creditors to make informed decisions. While the concept underpins financial reporting, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and analyze potential risks that could threaten a company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

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