Das Going-Concern-Prinzip ist die Annahme der Unternehmensfortführung. Das Going-Concern-Prinzip wird bei den Grundsätzen ordnungsgemäßer Rechnungslegung unterstellt. Beispielsweise werden keine Wertansätze verwendet, die vielleicht bei einer Liquidation realisiert werden können. Vermögenspositionen werden bei Annahme der Fortführung (Going-Concern-Prinzip) gekauft, wenn der ihnen zurechenbare Earned value höher ist als die acquisition cost.
Consequently, the acquisition costs are a lower bound or a conservative estimate for the capitalized earnings value or going concern value.
For this reason, historical valuations, possibly corrected, are used in the going concern principle.
The going concern principle fulfills two functions:
1. Assessment function: The assumption that the company will continue as a going concern must be checked for its degree of probability. The going concern principle thus forces accounting to estimate future corporate development. In order to provide well-founded information for the investors, the possibility is to be prevented that the accounting is based on either a continuation of the company or a liquidation, completely arbitrarily.
2. Selection function: The result of the assessment function is then either going concern or non-going concern. The selection function, which then defines the principles of proper accounting to be applied in each case, is based on this assessment of the company's future. The going concern principle contains three core elements, which are anchored equally in the definitions of the American Accounting Association, the International Accounting Standards and in European specialist recommendations on accounting:
1. The assumption that the company will continue as a going concern: The decisive factor is less the legal continuity of the company than its economic continuity, i.e. the continuation of business activities.
2. Absence of information to the contrary: the assumption that the company will continue as a going concern may only be assumed if there is no information available that suggests a different assumption.
3. Implementation and completion of the existing projects: In order to assume that the company will continue as a going concern, it must be ensured that the existing plans and investments can be fully implemented.