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What is the Monetary Unit Assumption? Definition Meaning Example

What is the Monetary Unit Assumption? Definition Meaning Example

Inflation infers the rise in the price of commodities and a decline in a currency’s purchasing power. The monetary unit assumption is limited in that it does not include the impact of inflation when recorded in the books of accounts. This may make the accounting information misleading to external users of financial statements because it does not depict the change in the dollar value over time. For instance, in the example above, where company ABC purchased office equipment in 2005 and 2020, the value of the commodities in both years is compounded to make $500,000. Therefore, when that information is presented to an external party or user of accounting information, the information may depict a false representation because the equipment has a difference in value. The office equipment purchased in 2005 is valued at $150,000 when the dollar value may have been more substantial, and the equipment purchased in 2020 is worth $350,000 hence the difference in purchasing power.

All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. It is well-known that a business may have diverse kinds of assets, including land and buildings, government securities and shares of other companies, inventories of raw materials and finished goods, and cash and claims against debtors. Our mission is to empower readers with the most factual and reliable financial information possible to help them make informed decisions for their individual needs. Our writing and editorial staff are a team of experts holding advanced financial designations and have written for most major financial media publications. Our work has been directly cited by organizations including Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Investopedia, Forbes, CNBC, and many others.

An example of a company using the monetary unit assumption is when an automotive company records that it purchased a vehicle for $15,000 years ago. The records in the books of accounts would show that the vehicle account has a worth of $37,700 after summing up $22,700 and $15,000. This is because the impact of inflation and changes in purchasing power are not recorded in the monetary unit assumption.

The name was first applied to a gold coin minted by King John II of France in 1360, which bore on one face the Latin legend Johannes Dei gratia Francorum rex (“John, by the grace of God, king of the Franks”). Because this coin also carried the figure of the king on horseback, it was known as the franc à cheval to distinguish it from another coin of the same value later issued by Charles V of France. This latter coin was called the franc à pied because it showed the monarch on foot standing under a canopy. During the 17th century the minting of gold francs ceased, but the name was freely applied by the French public to the new unit of exchange—the livre tournois, a gold coin subdivided into 20 sols.

  1. Usually it is defined by a monetary authority, such as the national central bank for the currency concerned.
  2. Let’s meet Jake, who has just assumed ownership of the family’s manufacturing business.
  3. Representative money is money printed on paper representing the value of an item or commodity.
  4. For instance, Nineteen EU member states use a common currency known as the euro (€).

Money can be defined as any legal tender issued by the government and accepted as a payment for goods or services offered, taxes, and debt repayment. Thus, a currency is a monetary unit used by the buyer to obtain goods or services from a seller. Thus, a country may not use its currency in another country unless it is converted to the local currency at an exchange rate. For instance, Nineteen EU member states use a common currency known as the euro (€).

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The second part of the assumption is that the books of accounts do not consider the difference in the purchasing power depicted in both years, as is evident in the balance sheet, which only records the total amount of the money incurred to acquire the equipment. The monetary unit principle asserts that money is a measurement unit, and every transaction to be recorded in a company’s financial records must be measurable in monetary terms. Therefore, all transactions in a business setup should be expressible in a particular currency. The assumption is that once a transaction or business activity occurs, it is first converted into money before being recorded in financial or accounting books.

These countries, most of which formerly constituted French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa, became members of the Franc Zone; their currencies were linked to the French franc at a fixed rate of exchange and were freely convertible into that franc. In 1999, however, as France began to phase out the French franc, the currencies became linked to the euro. Under the monetary unit assumption, it is assumed that only those transactions with monetary value should be recorded in the books of accounts. Almost every country trades with other countries either within their regions or overseas. In most cases, barter trade is not practical, so money is used in such circumstances. However, countries have different types of currencies or money with different units of account.

The development of competition among them will affect the implementation effect of currency convertibility. According to the three aspects of trade in goods and services, capital flows and national policies, the supply-demand relationship of different currencies determines the exchange ratio between currencies. The currency may be Internet-based and digital, for instance, Bitcoin[16] is not tied to any specific country, or the IMF’s SDR that is based on a basket of currencies (and assets held).


The impact of monetary policy on the total amount and yield of money directly determines the changes in the international exchange rate. Fiscal policies, such as transfer payments, taxation ratios, and other factors, dominate the profitability of capital and economic development, and the ratio of national debt issuance to deficit determines the repayment capacity and credit rating of the country. Such policies determine the mechanism of linking domestic and foreign currencies and therefore have a significant impact on the generation of exchange rates. Franc, originally a French coin but now the monetary unit of a number of countries, notably Switzerland, most French and former Belgian overseas territories, and some African states; at one time it was also the currency of France, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

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The franc was formally established as the monetary unit of France in 1799 and made divisible into 10 decimos and 100 centimes. The Swiss franc was adopted by France’s client state, the Helvetic Republic (made up of cantons of Switzerland), in 1799. In 2002 the franc ceased to be legal tender in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg after the euro, the monetary unit of the European Union, became those countries’ sole currency. Under the monetary unit assumption, an asset purchased for $12,000 in 2003 and another asset purchased for $12,000 in 2016 would have the same cost.

This could give the reader of the financial statements a false impression of the value of the assets, especially if many of them are older assets that are not as efficient. Also, assume that a particular company’s success is attributed to customer loyalty. The company may significantly benefit from this, but the company cannot quantify loyalty in monetary terms. Therefore, the accounting team cannot record customer loyalty in the company’s accounting books since there is no monetary value attached to it. A donating through crowdfunding, social media, and fundraising platforms describes the standard unit of value attributed to a particular currency. It is the unit that a country uses to measure the value of items and transactions.

What Is A Currency?

Another form of currency gaining popularity is virtual currency, a digital, unregulated currency issued and controlled by the developer. Basic economic activities like buying and selling, otherwise known as trade or commerce, dates back thousands of years. However, in ancient times, there was no common medium of exchange like currencies. But, this type of trade could not be sustained and led to several losses, especially for those who exchanged more valuable items for less ones. Around 600 BC, the first currency, the Mesopotamian shekel, appeared in Lydia (present-day Turkey). Unlike most of the national currencies that they replaced, euro banknotes do not display famous national figures.

The monetary unit assumption does not take into account the impact of inflation, or the rise in prices and the corresponding decrease in the purchasing power of money. The monetary unit assumption does not provide for differences in the value of a dollar due to the passage of time. The monetary unit assumption states that all accounting records should be made in terms of monetary units.

Assets and liabilities should be stated at cost less any subsequent adjustments to the cost of assets through Depreciation or amortization. Originally, https://simple-accounting.org/ currency was a form of receipt, representing grain stored in temple granaries in Sumer in ancient Mesopotamia and in Ancient Egypt.

Local currencies can also come into being when there is economic turmoil involving the national currency. An example of this is the Argentinian economic crisis of 2002 in which IOUs issued by local governments quickly took on some of the characteristics of local currencies. The level of exchange rate is an important factor in maintaining exchange rate stability, both before and after currency convertibility. The exchange rate of freely convertible currency is too high or too low, which can easily trigger speculation and undermine the stability of macroeconomic and financial markets.