Is going concern an assumption or a presumption?

Going concern is an assumption in many accounting documents and is the favourite for accountants. Here is an example:

“Ordinarily, information that significantly contradicts the going concern assumption relates to the entity’s inability to continue to meet its obligations as they become due…”  [1]

often with an adjective attached, for instance a fundamental assumption

The accounting firm KPMG like to use going concern as a presumption:

“The going concern presumption – i.e. that the company will be able to meet its obligations when they become due – is fundamental to financial reporting.”  [2]

Instead of presumption, they could have used another word ‘assumption’ used by many other accountants in the same context. I guess they wanted to add another word to the other seven used by accountants. To be pernickety, this choice must be related to the difference in meaning between ‘presumption’ and ‘assumption’. So let’s see what is involved!  Not much.

Most dictionaries give the same meaning in this context ‘to take for granted.’ So here KPMG is being unnecessarily complicated by choosing presumption instead of what most accountants use: assumption. No you will say, presumption is a little more assertive than assumption so not quite the same.

But so what?

[1] Taken from AU Section 341 The Auditor’s Consideration of an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern* Source: SAS No. 59. See section 9341 for interpretations of this section. Effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after January 1, 1989, unless otherwise indicated.

[2] Source, here is the link to KPMG’s use of going concern as a presumption:

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