Accounting


The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) each published an exposure draft (ED) containing joint proposals to improve and align the accounting for business combinations ( www.iasb.org/current/ed.asp ; www.fasb.org/draft ). The proposals retain the current requirement in both International Financial Reporting Standard 3 and FASB Statement no. 141 to account for all business combinations by means of a single method, in which one party always is identified as acquiring the other. Among the principal changes would be a requirement to measure the acquired business at fair value and recognize the goodwill attributable to any noncontrolling interests, not just to the acquirer.

The IASB and FASB also published EDs proposing that noncontrolling interests be classified as equity within the consolidated financial statements and that acquisitions of noncontrolling interests be accounted for as equity transactions ( www.fasb.org/draft/ed_business_combinations_replacement_of_fas141.pdf ; www.fasb.org/draft/ed_noncontrolling_interests.pdf ). Comments on all the EDs are due October 28.

The SEC released a staff report on off-balance-sheet arrangements, special purpose entities and transparency of filings by issuers reflected in a sample of filings by 200 public companies ( www.sec.gov/news/studies/soxoffbalancerpt.pdf ). In the report, which the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires the SEC to deliver to the president and Congress, commission staff recommended among other things that FASB reconsider and refine its accounting guidance for defined-benefit pension and other post-retirement benefit plans and for leases. The report also discouraged companies’ use of transactions motivated primarily by accounting and reporting—rather than economic—considerations.

FASB issued Staff Position (FSP) no. 150-5, Issuer’s Accounting under FASB Statement No. 150 for Freestanding Warrants and Other Similar Instruments on Shares That Are Redeemable ( www.fasb.org/fasb_staff_positions/fsp_fas150-5.pdf ). The guidance is effective for reporting periods beginning after June 30, 2005.

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