FASB adds a new project on private companies

BVWireIssue #114-3
March 21, 2012

The FASB has received more than 7,000 comment letters in connection with its recent initiative to create a Private Company Standards Improvement Council (PCSIC), which would work jointly with the FASB to develop criteria for determining whether and when exceptions or modifications to U.S. GAAP are warranted for private companies. (For more on the PCSIC, see BVWire #109-2.)

In her “2012 Chairman’s Outlook on the FASB” webcast last week, Leslie Seidman said the trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) plan to discuss all of the feedback at their next meeting in May. “We have heard a wide range of views—at one end, the perspective that significant changes are required; and at the other end, the view that there should be no differences in recognition and measurement,” Seidman said, as reported by the Journal of Accountancy. (For instance, the AICPA believes that any board with private company oversight should be independent of the FASB.)

The FASB is developing a decision-making framework to determine when deviations from U.S. GAAP are appropriate for private companies; if FAF establishes the new PCSIC, then the board will wait for the council’s feedback before finalizing its framework.

Last week, the board also added a new project to clarify the definition of a “nonpublic entity.” The board is currently soliciting feedback from investors, creditors, and other stakeholders; among other things, it wants to know whether:

  • Financial statements are providing useful information that appropriately reflects the economics of the entity’s activities, resources, and obligations;
  • Financial statements include information that is unnecessary, redundant, or confusing;
  • Proposed changes in accounting and reporting will result in communication from a company or organization that is more clear, complete, and comparable; and
  • The costs of implementing and complying with a new standard are justified by the increased benefits of the information improvements.
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