Difference Between Book Value and Fair Market Value

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Book Value and Fair Market Value

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The calculation of the book value and the market value is of the utmost importance since it is one of the factors that determine whether or not an investor will put money into a certain business. The value that an investor is willing to pay for a share of a company's stock is referred to as the market price. Investors may put themselves on the route to achieving their financial objectives by being familiar with the computation of book value.

The historical cost of an asset is subtracted from the total amount of cumulative depreciation and amortization to arrive at its "book value," which is the asset's accounting worth. The actual price at which an asset may be purchased or sold on the market is known as the asset's market price. The market value of an asset is equivalent to this price. It is also possible to interpret it as the real value of the company in comparison to the worth of other companies operating in the market.

The worth of a commercial instrument or asset, as recorded in the financial records of the company, is referred to as the "Book Value," which is self-explanatory given its name. On the other side, the term "Market Value" refers to the sum of money at which anything may be purchased or sold in a particular market.

Book Value vs Market Value

The primary distinction between book value and market value is that book value refers to the recorded value in the books and is calculated by subtracting the total liabilities from the total assets. The cost at which an item ought to be tradable value in free in unfastens on the open market is referred to as the asset's fair market value (FMV).

Book value is an estimate of how much an organization's wealth is worth. Alterations are made to it regularly. The book value may be calculated by subtracting the total liabilities from the total assets of the company. The worth of the firm's assets is what is instantly liquidated when the company closes its books. This sum is then divided up among all of the company's shareholders.

When certain conditions are satisfied, the price at which an asset might be sold on the open market is considered to be its fair market value. Fair market value also refers to the worth of an item. The state requires that everyone be fully informed about everything, that they are acting in their own best interests, and that they have sufficient time to come to a choice on what to do. The concept of "fair market value" is often used in the context of tax law and the real estate market.

Difference Between Book Value and Fair Market Value in Tabular Form

Parameters Of Comparison Book Value Fair Market Value
Meaning The event is documented in the book. The cost of any asset when it is sold on the open market is its fair market value.
Reflect Equity in the Corporation Asset value.
Fluctuation is Not subject to change; rather, it is estimated on a regular basis. Changes its value often.
Availability It is not difficult to get. There are instances when it is easy to determine, and other times when it is not.
Calculation pertaining to Real Property It is dependent on the terms that the buyer and the seller agree upon.

What is Book Value?

The enterprise's most valuable asset is its book value, which measures its worth. It is the figure that may be located on the balance sheet. The shareholders believe this to be an approximation of the amount that they would get in the event that the company was liquidated. Book value is a useful tool for investors to use when trying to assess the worth per share of a company.

To express this in monetary terms, the book value is the difference between the company's gross assets and its gross liabilities. Take, as an example, the case of firm ABC, which has total assets of 50 million and total liabilities of 10 million. The financial records of the corporation indicate that the value will be forty million dollars. The corporation sells all of its assets and then pays off all of its debts with the proceeds. The business will have a book value of twenty million dollars.

The phrase "total benefits" refers to all financial and non-financial advantages, such as money, short-term investments, the amount that will be received, and tangible assets like property, machinery, and plants. There's also the possibility that the financial statement counts intangible assets like a brand name or other intellectual property that's included there as assets. The total liability accounts for all obligations, payables, and taxes that have been postponed.

Constraints on the Value of Books

Figures relating to the book value are reported either quarterly or yearly. Understanding the changes that have occurred over the last several months may not be helpful to the investor. Book value is a word used in accounting, and any necessary modifications are recorded in the relevant financial accounts.

The most important adjustment that must be made to assets is known as depreciation. It may be challenging to have a firm grasp of the accounting rules and procedures that pertain to depreciation. Book value does not take into account accurate claims or the selling worth of the item. It might be difficult to place a monetary value on intangible goods.

Book value refers to the value that is shown on the Balance Sheet of the firm where the asset is held. According to generally accepted accounting standards, the asset's record value should be determined by taking its whole historical cost and subtracting the total amount of accumulated depreciation.

When it comes to a business, the "book value" is equivalent to the organization's "net worth." To determine it, take the entire assets and subtract from that number the total value of all the liabilities and intangible assets. It refers to the amount of money that will be kept by the firm if it is instantly dissolved. It is anticipated that this sum will be dispersed across all of the various stockholders.

What is Fair Market Value?

In general, the fair market value is the amount that the endeavour, asset, or another item would cost if it were to be set up in a marketplace that was open or competitive. It is a phrase that is often used in the real estate industry. Even in the context of tax talks incorporating endeavours, the word may be encountered. It is focused on arriving at a price that is agreeable to all parties involved.

When determining the precise amount of coverage to provide, insurance firms consider the item's "fair market value." It should not be confused with the market value or the evaluated value. Expressions like "fair market value" may be found in legal documents. The ideas of economics are taken into consideration in the fair market value. Analyzing a property's fair market value also contributes to the process of accumulating property tariffs. It is the difference between natural power and power that has been acquired, and it is dependent on the length of time the owner has possessed the land.

Fair market value constraints

This may cause large price fluctuations that take place several times during the year. Some companies do not reap any benefits from using this accounting approach at all. These businesses often have assets whose values see large shifts during the year. Volatile benefits have the potential to reflect changes in revenue that aren't true to the company's long-term financial picture, which may lead to the appearance of false profits or losses in the short term.

Overall, misery loves to be in the company of others: A single company's decline in net income as a result of asset losses can have a domino effect on an entire sector or industry. Because of the volatile nature of the market, falling values tend to spread like a virus and often set off selling that was not justified. There is more investor stability, which is beneficial to the overall profitability of a region or industry, when this method of accounting is not applied, and when downward values are not needed to be determined.

The highest amount that a buyer is willing to pay for an item in a competitive market is referred to as the asset's market value, and it is defined as the term "market value." It is the price at which the asset may be bought and sold in the marketplace.

When we discuss the worth of a firm in terms of the market, we are referring to the value of the public corporation. The common name for this concept is "market capitalization." The answer that you get when you multiply the total number of shares by the price per share that is currently being offered on the market is the market value of the company. It is a given quantity, but its basis is not definitive, which means that the current market price of a share is set on the basis on which the company's transactions take place. Although it is a specific amount, its basis is not definite.

The market value of a business may be affected by an almost infinite variety of variables, including profitability, performance, liquidity, or even something as basic as news, which can either boost or reduce the firm's market value.

Main Differences Between Book Value and Fair Market Value in Points

  • The precise worth of a company's assets is referred to as the book value of those assets. The value of the advantages in the free market is what is referred to as "fair market value."
  • The worth of a book fluctuates on an annual basis. Fair market value swings a much.
  • There is a profit to be made when the book value is greater than the market value. When there is no urgency to sell, the sum that the seller sets is judged on whether or not it is acceptable based on fair market value.
  • Only the company's physical assets are taken into account when determining its book value. The worth of an asset is determined by its "fair market value."
  • Book value becomes easily accessible. The price that is agreed upon by both parties constitutes the fair market value of the asset.
  • The asset's book value is equal to its cost less its depreciation. The value of the asset as it appears on the balance sheet is what defines its worth on the market. The value of an object is represented by the price that is reached between a buyer and a seller after negotiation.
  • However, the Book Value represents the true value of either the asset or the firm, while the Fair Market Value is the greatest value that may be assigned to either.
  • The calculation of book value takes into account only tangible assets, but the calculation of market value takes into account both tangible and intangible assets.


The company's book value, as well as its fair market value, are both very important metrics connected to the business. The difference between an asset's "book value" and its "fair market value," which is the value it would have on the day it was last traded, may be shown by comparing the two terms. Before investing in any firm, it might be difficult for an investor to choose which value is the most important to take into consideration. The information on the book value provides the investor with a factor to consider when selecting whether or not to invest in a certain company.

An economist will tell you that a company's market value reflects its true worth better than any other valuation method. It is an accurate representation of the current market strategy. Both of these values are constantly shifting. It is crucial to have a solid understanding of the factors that go into determining the book value and the fair market value. As an investor, you should do your best to familiarise yourself with the feelings of the markets as well as the book value and the market value.

According to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the items on the balance sheet are shown in book value (GAAP). On the other hand, the assets will be represented on the balance sheet at their fair values by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). As soon as possible, it is anticipated that all nations would implement IFRS. Following the implementation of IFRS, the gap that now exists between the two values will become much narrower.


  1.   https://www.jstor.org/stable/3666236
  2.   https://www.jstor.org/stable/2490400


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"Difference Between Book Value and Fair Market Value." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 19 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-book-value-and-fair-market-444>.

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