Consolidation Method

A method of accounting for investments where investor has majority control over investee

Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. Start Free

What is the Consolidation Method?

The consolidation method is a type of investment accounting used for incorporating and reporting the financial results of majority-owned investments. This method can only be used when the investor possesses effective control of the investee or subsidiary, which often, but not always, assumes the investor owns at least 50.1% of the subsidiary shares or voting rights.

Consolidation Method

The consolidation method works by reporting the subsidiary’s balances in a combined statement along with the parent company’s balances, hence “consolidated”. Under the consolidation method, a parent company combines its own revenue with 100% of the revenue of the subsidiary.

Learn more about the various types of mergers and amalgamations.

How Does the Consolidation Method Work?

The consolidation method records 100% of the subsidiary’s assets and liabilities on the parent company’s balance sheet, even though the parent may not own 100% of the subsidiary’s equity. The parent income statement will also include 100% of the subsidiary’s revenue and expenses. If the parent does not own 100% of the subsidiary, then the parent will allocate to the noncontrolling interest the percentage of the subsidiary’s net income that the parent does NOT own. When the companies are consolidated, an elimination entry must be made to eliminate these amounts to ensure there is no overstatement.

The elimination adjustment is made with the intent of offsetting the intercompany transaction and the shareholders’ equity, such that the values are not double-counted at the consolidated level.

Consolidation Method Example

Parent Company has recently just begun operation and, thus, has a simple financial structure. Mr. Parent, the sole owner of Parent Company, injects $20M cash into his business. This appears as the following journal entry.

Dr. Cash 20,000,000
Cr.  Shareholder’s Equity 20,000,000

As such, Parent Company’s balances are now 20M in assets and 20M in equity.

The next month, Parent Company sets up Child Inc, a new subsidiary. Parent Company invests $10M in the company for 100% of its equity. On Parent’s books, this shows up as the following.

Dr. Investments in Subsidiary 10,000,000
Cr.  Cash 10,000,000

Parent Company now has $10M less cash, but still has a total of $20M in assets. In this simplified example, we debit investments in subsidiary since Child Inc has no other assets or liabilities.

On Child’s books, the same transaction would show up as follows.

Dr. Cash 10,000,000
Cr.  Shareholder’s Equity 10,000,000

At the end of the year, Parent Company must create a consolidated statement for itself and Child Inc.  Assuming no other transactions occur in the year, the consolidated statement would look like the following:

Parent CompanyChild Inc.Elimination AdjustmentConsolidated
Investment in Subsidiary10,000,000-10,000,0000
Shareholder's Equity20,000,00010,000,000-10,000,00020,000,000

As can be seen above, the elimination adjustment is necessary so as not to overstate the consolidated balance sheet. If the elimination adjustment were not made, the consolidated assets of both companies would total 30,000,000, which is not true, as money was simply moved between the two companies. In other words, not making the elimination adjustment would result in a false creation of value.

Other Accounting Methods

When an investor does not exercise effective control of the company it invests in, the investor may possess a minority interest in the company. Depending on the influence this minority interest holds, the investor may either account for the investment using the cost method or the equity method.

The cost method records the investment as an asset and records dividends as income to the investor. The equity method records the investment as an asset, more specifically as an investment in associates or affiliates, and the investor accrues their proportionate share of the investee’s income. This share is known as the “equity pick-up”.

Additional Resources

This has been a guide to the consolidation method of accounting for investments. To learn more, check out these other relevant CFI articles:

0 search results for ‘