Foreign currency

Foreign currency accounting continues to be a topic of interest because of increased foreign exchange rate volatility and certain countries with high inflation and multiple exchange rates.

The basic foreign exchange guidance, now codified in ASC 830, was first issued back in 1981 as FAS 52. It provides a model for reporting when an entity conducts transactions in more than one currency. The entity prepares financial statements in a single currency, which requires that changes in the relationship between different units of currency be recognized and measured. ASC 830 uses two processes to express all of a reporting entity’s transactions in a single reporting currency: foreign currency measurement and foreign currency translation.

Foreign currency measurement is the process by which an entity expresses transactions whose terms are denominated in a foreign currency in its functional currency. Changes in functional currency amounts that result from the measurement process are called transaction gains or losses; transaction gains and losses are included in net income.

Foreign currency translation is the process of expressing a foreign entity’s functional currency financial statements in the reporting currency. Translation adjustments are included in the cumulative translation adjustment (CTA) account, which is a component of other comprehensive income.

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