FASB takes big steps on disclosure effectiveness

The board also addressed concerns about its standard on credit losses.

FASB's ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness of disclosures in the notes to financial statements led to multiple changes announced by the board.

Two changes to FASB's conceptual framework will help the board identify and evaluate disclosure requirements in accounting standards and clarify the concept of materiality, FASB Chairman Russell Golden said in a news release.

FASB also issued two Accounting Standards Updates (ASUs) that are designed to improve the effectiveness of note disclosures. In the conceptual framework, newly added Chapter 8, Notes to Financial Statements, describes the purpose of notes, the nature of appropriate content, and general limitations. The board also updated Chapter 3 of the conceptual framework to align FASB's definition of "materiality" with other definitions in the financial reporting system.

The new fair value measurement disclosure requirements are published in ASU No. 2018-13, Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Disclosure Framework — Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Fair Value Measurement. The amendments take effect for all organizations for fiscal years, and interim periods within those fiscal years, beginning after Dec. 15, 2019. Early adoption is permitted.

New disclosure requirements for employers that sponsor defined benefit pension or other post-retirement plans are published in ASU No. 2018-14, Compensation — Retirement Benefits — Defined Benefit Plans — General (Topic 715-20): Disclosure Framework — Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Defined Benefit Plans. These amendments take effect for public companies for fiscal years ending after Dec. 15, 2020. For private companies, the amendments take effect for fiscal years ending after Dec. 15, 2021. Early adoption is permitted.

FASB addresses credit loss standard concerns. FASB issued Proposed ASU, Codification Improvements to Topic 326, Financial Statements — Credit Losses, to amend the transition requirements and scope of the board's new standard on credit losses in response to concerns about the standard that were expressed to FASB.

Comments on the proposal were due Sept. 19 at FASB's website.

FASB simplifies accounting for cloud computing service costs. FASB recently issued guidance designed to reduce complexity for the accounting for costs of implementing a cloud computing service arrangement in ASU No. 2018-15, Intangibles — Goodwill and Other — Internal-Use Software (Subtopic ٣٥٠-٤٠): Customer's Accounting for Implementation Costs Incurred in a Cloud Computing Service Arrangement That Is a Service Contract.

For public business entities, the changes take effect for fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2019, and interim periods within those fiscal years. For all other entities, the amendments take effect for annual reporting periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2020, and interim periods within annual periods beginning after Dec. 15, 2021. Early adoption is permitted, including adoption in any interim period.

Wright reappointed as PCC chair. Candace Wright, CPA/CFF, has been reappointed as chair of the Private Company Council (PCC). Her second three-year term will end on Dec. 31, 2021. Timothy Curt, CPA, CGMA, and David Lomax also were reappointed for two-year terms as PCC members.

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