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financial statement translation

Financial statement translation is the process through which a firm restates, —in the currency in which a company presents its financial statements—, all assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses, gains and losses that are denominated in foreign currencies. This process of financial statement translation results in accounting FX gains and losses.

There are three main financial statement translation methods available. With the current/noncurrent method, all the foreign exchange denominated current assets and liabilities are translated at the current exchange rate, while non-current assets and liabilities are translated at the historical exchange rate.

With the monetary/nonmonetary method, monetary items such as cash, accounts receivable and payable, are translated at the current exchange rate, while nonmonetary items (inventory, fixed assets) are translated at the historical exchange rate.

Finally, with the current rate method, all balance sheet and income statement items are translated at the current exchange rate. No matter what financial statement method is used, the resulting FX gains and losses are paper only, and rarely affect cash flows.