Accounting requirement

The accounting requirement follows from the legal regulation in Section 246 of the German Commercial Code (HGB) and means that an accounting company is obliged to include certain items that can be accounted for as assets or liabilities in its balance sheet. The basic accounting requirement is broken by accounting options and accounting prohibitions.

Definition / explanation

Sinn und Zweck einer Bilanz ist es, die tatsächlichen Vermögens- und Kapitalverhältnisse eines Unternehmens widerzuspiegeln. Daher ist in § 246 Abs. 1 HGB das sogenannte Vollständigkeitsgebot geregelt. Es besagt, dass – soweit gesetzlich nichts anderes bestimmt ist – sämtliche Vermögensgegenstände, Verbindlichkeiten und transitorischen Rechnungsabgrenzungsposten (vgl. § 250 HGB) eines Unternehmens zum Balance sheet date auf der Aktivseite oder der Passivseite der Bilanz auszuweisen sind.

For the assets to be taken into account in the assets, the accounting requirement is thus an activation requirement, for the debts to be listed as liabilities it is a liability requirement.

Unter den Begriff Vermögensgegenstände fallen alle Güter und Rechte, die einer selbständigen Bewertung zugänglich und selbständig verkehrsfähig sind und die im wirtschaftlichen (nicht zwingend rechtlichen) Eigentum des Unternehmers stehen. Eine ausdrückliche Aktivierungspflicht besteht für den entgeltlich erworbenen Goodwill (§ 246 Abs. 1 HGB).

What is accounting option?

The accounting requirement is restricted by accounting options where the capitalization or passivation of items that can be accounted for is at the discretion of the entrepreneur (see Section 248 (2) HGB). An activation option exists, for example, for self-created ones Intangible assets of fixed assets and for low-value assets.

What is an accounting ban?

If, on the other hand, there is a ban on accounting, the disclosure of a balance sheet item on the assets or liabilities side of the balance sheet is prohibited. A prohibition on capitalization, for example, provides for Section 248 (1) HGB for the costs of founding a company. There is a ban on passivation, for example, for provisions for expenses.

Summary

  • The accounting requirement follows from the statutory regulation in Section 246 of the German Commercial Code (HGB)
  • Accounting companies are obliged to include certain items that can be accounted for as assets or liabilities in the balance sheet
  • Accounting option: capitalization or passivation of items that can be accounted for is at the company's discretion
  • Accounting prohibition: It is forbidden to show a balance sheet item on the assets or liabilities side of the balance sheet
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