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What Is Price Level Accounting?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 July 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Price level accounting is a type of financial accounting strategy that seeks to allow for the impact of changes in the value of a currency as the economy goes through a period of inflation or recession. The general idea is to assess the price level in terms of how those shifts in the economy trigger the necessity of changing price levels for the goods and services purchased by the individual, business, or other type of entity. Price level accounting is important, in that the process can make it easier to determine what type of value is received from those purchases, based on the current status of the economy and the price levels that currently prevail.

One of the key benefits to price level accounting is the ability to determine what has occurred with the purchasing power associated with a given currency as the result of shifts in the economy. Since the method calls for posting gains and losses that occur due to changing in pricing taking place during a recession or a period of inflation, it is relatively easy to determine how that purchasing power has been eroded or how it has managed to strengthen somewhat as the economy moves through different phases. This is important for a business, since the data can often make it easier to plan future consumption of goods and services in a manner that helps the business remain financially stable, even in the face of a projected adverse economic situation.

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Governments also benefit from the use of price level accounting methods when assessing the impact of the current economy on the purchasing power of both individual consumers and corporate entities. By understanding how the economy is having a positive or negative effect on what consumers can purchase with the currency currently in circulation, it is possible to make financial decisions that will eventually aid in creating and to a degree maintaining a balance in the days to come. This approach can also be used to project what will likely happen to that purchasing power should the economy move in a given direction at some future point, allowing government officials to plan in advance to either take advantage of positive movement or minimize the impact of a negative movement on that purchasing power.

In general, price level accounting helps to provide a more accurate basis for evaluating the financial situation of a company or other entity. Allowing for shifts in purchasing power associated with the currency used to maintain the accounting records, a company can use the data to understand the real and true worth of its assets and plan for future expenditures accordingly. At the same time, there are some limitations on price level accounting, in that the process of actually calculating the shift in purchasing power and the value of assets based on the current status of the currency can be somewhat complicated and somewhat subjective. In spite of the potential drawbacks, carefully analyzing the impact of the economy on the value of the currency, then applying that data to the financial assets of the business, is worth the effort and can often prove very valuable to charting the future movement of the company.

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