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FASB changes leadership, not direction

New board chairman to focus on convergence projects and private companies.

By Ken Tysiac
July 2013

Russell GoldenRussell Golden, whose technical expertise as a FASB staff member led him to a spot on the standard-setting board in 2010, was scheduled to succeed Leslie Seidman as FASB’s chairman on July 1.

Golden said the board’s immediate priorities include completing international convergence projects and ensuring that accounting standards for private companies are relevant. Upon being named as the next chairman, he discussed several important issues during a conference call with reporters.

Here are some of his comments:

On priorities: “The initial priorities will be the completion of the four MoU [memorandum of understanding] projects [and] focusing on improving accounting for private companies. There will also be … a survey [conducted in May] that will be produced by the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council, or FASAC, which is an important survey to gather information about potential agenda items for the FASB. So following the results of that survey, I would want to consult with stakeholders, consult with senior staff, and consult with members of the board to develop the priorities following the completion of the MoU projects.”

On the new Private Company Council (PCC): “I believe the PCC is off and running and has been doing an absolutely fantastic job. The members of the PCC and the chairman [Billy Atkinson] are extremely committed to working through, with the board, improvements to private company accounting standards, and I believe that will be a great step forward to produce more relevant and more cost-efficient standards for the private company community.”

On the disclosure framework project, which aims to have financial statements reflect only relevant information and reduce clutter: “I think the disclosure framework is a very important project to both improve transparency to investors and to reduce the cost to investors as well as to preparers. I’m very pleased the project is moving along, and I hope to treat that with my fellow board members as a priority to finish in the coming months an exposure document.”

On future work with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB): “We’ve been working quite extensively recently on the four MoU projects, which are Accounting for Financial Instruments—Classification and Measurement, Accounting for Financial Instruments—[Credit] Impairment; Revenue Recognition; Leases; and Insurance.

“We are close to issuing a very important, converged solution on revenue recognition, which I have been working on for a number of years and I believe will be a good success, and will improve financial reporting for companies across the world.

“[After] the MoU projects, the primary way in which we will continue to work with the IASB is providing advice as part of the Accounting Standards Advisory Forum, [and] working with them on the implementation efforts of … these very important, large projects, with the goal that we can educate our constituents, we can help them make the interpretation, and, most importantly, we can continue to sustain a converged conclusion.”

On the chances for a converged solution on the Accounting for Financial Instruments—Credit Impairment project: “As you know, that project is out for proposal, and we, jointly with the IASB, plan to hold a number of field visits, a number of other workshops and tools to gain input from our stakeholders across the globe, and I’m committed to working through these issues to arrive at a converged, improved solution.”

Ken Tysiac is a JofA senior editor. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact him at ktysiac@aicpa.org or 919-402-2112.

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