Functional currency

Under international financial reporting standards, a functional currency is the currency used in the primary economic environment where an entity operates. This is the environment in which an entity primarily generates and expends cash. You should consider the following primary factors in determining an entity’s functional currency:

  • The currency that primarily influences sales prices (usually the currency in which prices are denominated and settled).
  • The currency of the country whose competition and regulations primarily influence sales prices.
  • The currency that primarily influences labor and other costs of goods sold (usually the currency in which prices are denominated and settled).

Less critical deciding factors are the currency in which an entity retains receipts from its operations, and the currency in which debt and equity instruments are issued.

When determining the functional currency of an entity’s foreign operation, consider the following factors:

  • Autonomy. Whether the operation is essentially an extension of the reporting entity, or it can operate with a significant degree of autonomy. The functional currency is the reporting entity’s in the first case, and the local currency in the later.
  • Proportion of transactions. Whether the foreign operation’s transactions with the reporting entity constitute a high or low proportion of the operation’s activities. The functional currency is the reporting entity’s in the first case, and the local currency in the later.
  • Proportion of cash flows. Whether cash flows from the foreign operation directly affect the cash flows of the reporting entity, and are available for remittance. The functional currency is the reporting entity’s if so, and the local currency if not.
  • Debt service. Whether a foreign operation’s cash flows can service its debt obligations without funds transfers from the reporting entity. The functional currency is the reporting entity’s if funds transfers are needed, and the local currency if not.

Related Courses

IFRS Guidebook