Some of the arguments which might be used are outlined below:
1. Cost is definite and reliable; other values would have to be determined somewhat arbitrarily and there would be considerable disagreement as to the amounts to be used.
2. Amounts determined by other bases would have to be revised frequently.
3. Comparison with other companies is aided if cost is employed.
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14. Revenue is generally recognized when (1) realized or realizable, and (2) earned.
The adoption of the sale basis is the accountant’s practical solution to the extremely difficult problem of measuring revenue under conditions of uncertainty as to the future. The revenue is equal to the amount of cash that will be received due to the operations of the current accounting period, but this amount will not be definitely known until such cash is collected. The accountant, under these circumstances, insists on having “objective evidence,” that is, evidence external to the firm itself, on which to base an estimate of the amount of cash that will be received. The sale is considered to be the earliest point at which this evidence is available in the usual case. Until the sale is made, any estimate of the value of inventory is based entirely on the opinion of the manage-ment of the firm. When the sale is made, however, an outsider, the buyer, has corroborated the estimate of management and a value can now be assigned based on this transaction.