Accounting Estimates: Earlier we have learned how to measure a transaction, which had already taken place and for which either some value/money has been paid or some valuation principles are to be adopted for their measurement. But there are certain items, which are not occurred therefore cannot be measured using valuation principles still they are necessary to record in the books of account. For example, provision for doubtful debts. For such items, we need some value. In such a situation reasonable estimates based on the existing situation and past experiences are made.
An accounting estimate is an approximation of the amount of a business transaction for which there is no precise means of measurement.
The measurement of certain assets and liabilities is based on estimates of uncertain future events. As a result of the uncertainties inherent in business activities, many financial statement items cannot be measured with precision but can only be estimated. Therefore, the management makes various estimates and assumptions of assets, liabilities, incomes and expenses as on the date of preparation of financial statements.
Such estimates are made in connection with the computation of depreciation, amortisation and impairment losses as well as, accruals, provisions and employee benefit obligations. Also estimates may be required in determining the bad debts, useful life and residual value of an item of plant and machinery and inventory obsolescence. The process of estimation involves judgements based on the latest information available.
An estimate may require revision if changes occur regarding circumstances on which the estimate was based, or as a result of new information, more experience or subsequent developments. Change in accounting estimate means difference arises between certain parameters estimated earlier and re-estimated during the current period or actual result achieved during the current period.