Definition: A provision is an amount set aside for the probable, but uncertain, economic obligations of an enterprise.
A provision is an amount that you put in aside in your accounts to cover a future liability.
The purpose of a provision is to make a current year’s balance more accurate, as there may be costs which could, to some extent, be accounted for in either the current or previous financial year. These costs that distinctly belong to a specific year could be misleading if accounted for in the future.
A provision is not a form of saving, even though it is an amount that is put aside for a future plausible cost or obligation. Provisions resulting impact is a reduction in the company's equity.
When accounting, provisions are recognized on the balance sheet and then expensed on the income statement.
There are several factors which can prompt provisions for liabilities. Certain criteria must be fulfilled before one may treat an obligation as a provision.
These criterions are:
Some examples of provisions are:
In the United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), a provision means an expense. On the other hand, in the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), a provision means a liability.
So, in the United States, a provision made for for income taxes is the same
as an income tax expense, while internationally, a provision for income taxes means a liability for income taxes payable.