Intangibles, ESG, and digital assets are on the FASB’s new research agenda

BVWireIssue #232-3
January 26, 2022

goodwill, fair value, fair value measurements, goodwill impairment, impairment testing, intangible, accounting, financial accounting standards board (FASB)

In response to feedback received in an agenda consultation, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) announced that its research agenda now will include the following projects (in no particular order):

  • Accounting for exchange-traded digital assets and commodities. Accounting and disclosure for a subset of these assets and commodities will be explored.
  • Accounting for and disclosure of intangibles. Potential improvements will be considered for items including accounting and disclosure of intangibles, including software costs, internally developed intangibles, and research and development.
  • Hedge accounting, Phase 2. Stakeholder feedback will be sought to further align hedge accounting with risk management activities beyond the targeted changes made in Accounting Standards Update No. 2017-12, Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities.
  • Accounting for financial instruments with environmental, social, and governance (ESG)-linked features and regulatory credits. ESG issues remain high on the list of investor priorities.
  • Accounting for governments grants, invitation to comment. Feedback will be sought on whether the requirements in IAS 20, Accounting for Government Grants and Disclosure of Government Assistance, should be incorporated into US GAAP.
  • Agenda consultation. Feedback will be solicited on the financial reporting issues that FASB should consider adding to its agenda and the priority of those issues.

Goodwill project: An important but controversial project by the FASB concerns how to account for certain identifiable intangible assets acquired in a business combination. In late 2020, the FASB tentatively decided to reintroduce the amortization of goodwill over a 10-year period. The next step in the project is to issue an exposure draft for public comment. The valuation community is united in its opinion that, from a user perspective, the benefits of the transparency and information the current impairment model provides outweigh the costs.

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