The objective of IAS 37 is to ensure that appropriate recognition criteria and measurement bases are applied to provisions, contingent liabilities and contingent assets and that sufficient information is disclosed in the notes to the financial statements to enable users to understand their nature, timing and amount. The key principle established by the Standard is that a provision should be recognised only when there is a liability i.e. a present obligation resulting from past events. The Standard thus aims to ensure that only genuine obligations are dealt with in the financial statements – planned future expenditure, even where authorised by the board of directors or equivalent governing body, is excluded from recognition.
Provision: a liability of uncertain timing or amount.
present obligation as a result of past events settlement is expected to result in an outflow of resources (payment)
a possible obligation depending on whether some uncertain future event occurs, or a present obligation but payment is not probable or the amount cannot be measured reliably
a possible asset that arises from past events, and whose existence will be confirmed only by the occurrence or non-occurrence of one or more uncertain future events not wholly within the control of the entity.