SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
THE C OMPANY
We are a globally integrated payments company that provides our customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Our principal products and services are credit and charge card products, along with travel and lifestyle related services, offered to consumers and businesses around the world. Our various products and services are sold globally to diverse customer groups, including consumers, small businesses, mid-sized companies and large corporations. These products and services are sold through various channels, including mobile and online applications, affiliate marketing, customer referral programs, third-party service providers and business partners, direct mail, telephone, in-house sales teams, and direct response advertising.
Refer to Note 24 for additional discussion of the products and services that comprise each segment. Corporate functions and certain other businesses and operations are included in Corporate & Other.
PRINCIPLES OF CONSOLIDATION
The Consolidated Financial Statements are prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP). Significant intercompany transactions are eliminated.
We consolidate entities in which we hold a “controlling financial interest.” For voting interest entities, we are considered to hold a controlling financial interest when we are able to exercise control over the investees’ operating and financial decisions. For variable interest entities (VIEs), the determination of which is based on the amount and characteristics of the entity’s equity, we are considered to hold a controlling financial interest when we are determined to be the primary beneficiary. A primary beneficiary is the party that has both: (1) the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact that VIE’s economic performance, and (2) the obligation to absorb the losses of, or the right to receive the benefits from, the VIE that could potentially be significant to that VIE.
Entities in which our voting interest in common equity does not provide it with control, but allows us to exert significant influence over operating and financial decisions, are accounted for under the equity method. We also have investments in equity securities where our voting interest is below the level of significant influence, including investments that we make in non-public companies in the ordinary course of business. Such investments are initially recorded at cost and adjusted to fair value through earnings for observable price changes in orderly transactions for identical or similar transactions of the same company or if they are determined to be impaired. See Note 4 for the accounting policy for our marketable equity securities.
Monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are translated into U.S. dollars based upon exchange rates prevailing at the end of the reporting period; non-monetary assets and liabilities are translated at the historic exchange rate at the date of the transaction; revenues and expenses are translated at the average month-end exchange rates during the year. Resulting translation adjustments, along with any related qualifying hedge and tax effects, are included in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) (AOCI), a component of shareholders’ equity. Translation adjustments, including qualifying hedge and tax effects, are reclassified to earnings upon the sale or substantial liquidation of investments in foreign operations. Gains and losses related to transactions in a currency other than the functional currency are reported in Other, net expenses in the Consolidated Statements of Income.
AMOUNTS BASED ON ESTIMATES AND ASSUMPTIONS
Accounting estimates are an integral part of the Consolidated Financial Statements. These estimates are based, in part, on management’s assumptions concerning future
Free historical financial statements for American Express Co..
See how revenue, income, cash flow, and balance sheet financials have changed over 54 quarters since 2010. Compare with AXP stock chart to see long term trends.
Data imported from American Express Co. SEC filings. Check original filings before making any investment decision.