The standard guideline for accounting for construction firms is AC109/IAS11: Construction Contracts, which recognises that contract start and end dates usually fall into different accounting periods. This creates the problem that forms the primary focus of this study: the allocation of contract revenue and costs to the accounting periods in which construction work is performed. Critical to the above allocation is the ability to determine percentage of completion of contract and cost to completion at the balance sheet date (reporting date). The important activities in this regard are to “measure” and “estimate” reliably. AC109/IAS11 contains detailed guidelines on what is to be done with regard to the above. Questions then arise as to who must do what is required, and how it must be done. It seemed apparent that the guidelines used for determining the stage of completion should correspond with the guidelines for on site cost control. South African literature on the subject is limited to textbooks with detailed guidelines to assist accounting students and qualified accountants. In this study an attempt was made to obtain clarification on key aspects from the experts on the subject, namely the registered auditors and accountants of contractors. The results of a survey indicated that they interpret AC109/IAS11 to require no other skills than general accounting abilities. It also showed that certain important terms and activities described in AC109/IAS11 were interpreted in a way that differed from how built environment professionals would interpret the same terms and use them in “on site cost control”. It appears from the study therefore, that problems in construction accounting could arise due to the fact that certain guidelines and terms in AC109/IAS11 are not consistently interpreted by all involved.
Dissertation (MSc (Construction Management))--University of Pretoria, 2008.