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1. Financial reporting - balance sheet - liabilities.

A form of liability where there is uncertainty as to the amount and timing of final settlement.

Relevant accounting standards include IAS 37 and Section 21 of FRS 102.

Under IAS 37, an entity must recognise a provision in its balance sheet if - and only if:

  • A present obligation (legal or constructive) has arisen as a result of a past event (the obligating event), and
  • Payment is probable ('more likely than not'), and
  • The amount can be estimated reliably.

Under IAS 37, items that fall short of these criteria may be possible obligations.

Possible obligations are contingent liabilities for accounting purposes under IAS 37, disclosed but not accrued / recognised.

2. Accounting - noun.

A reduction in the carrying amount, or net book value, of an asset to recognise an estimated reduction in value.

Examples include bad debt provisions and provisions for depreciation.

3. Accounting - verb.

To create an accounting provision, or increase the amount of a provision.

4. Law.

A significant individual part of a law, for example a tax anti-avoidance provision.

5. Contract law.

A significant individual part of a contract, for example a clause or a term in a contract.

See also