FASB and the IASB published for public comment a discussion paper on financial statement presentation. The paper contains an analysis of issues in financial statement presentation and presents the boards’ initial thinking on addressing those issues.
International Financial Reporting Standards and U.S. GAAP provide only limited presentation guidance. In addition, presentation guidelines in GAAP are dispersed across standards . (See “Shaking Up Financial Statement Presentation,” Nov 08, page 56.) To address these issues, as part of their joint project on financial statements, the boards propose to introduce cohesiveness and disaggregation as the two main objectives for financial statement presentation and have developed a principles-based format to achieve that goal. Cohesiveness would ensure that a user can follow the flow of information through the different statements of an entity; disaggregation would ensure that items that respond differently to economic events are shown separately.
“The credit crisis has highlighted the need for clear presentation of financial information that is often complex,” IASB Chairman Sir David Tweedie said in a press release. The paper is available in the “Open for Comment” section of www.iasb.org or at www.fasb.org/draft/index.shtml. Comments are due April 14, 2009.