The Financial Accounting Standards Board’s constituents now have a huge opportunity to weigh in on what topics should dominate its standard setting agenda for the next several years.

FASB issued a consultation paper Aug. 4 to solicit feedback about its next batch of topics to improve, and what aspects of them, as well as a potential approach for doing so. 

Practitioners have until Oct. 17 to submit comments. 

Four Areas Earmarked.

The 71-page paper, issued as an “invitation to comment” identifies the following areas as potential agenda candidates:

  • Intangible assets, including research and development;
  • Pensions and other postretirement benefit plans;
  • Distinguishing liabilities form equity; and
  • Reporting performance and cash flows, including the income statement, segment reporting, other comprehensive income and the statement of cash flows.

Those topics were highlighted in a 2015 survey as the top potential areas that FASB should next focus its attention on now that it has completed its bigger projects related to revenue, leases and credit losses.

Polarizing views.

All of the topics have their share of challenges, and it won’t be FASB’s first stab at tackling aspects of some of them.  “Each of those broad topics has been on the agendas of the FASB and other standard setters a number of times,” the paper states.

The topics, however, continue to be identified as areas for which the guidance could be improved.  In some cases, FASB’s stakeholders had polarizing views about the changes, the paper states.

In other cases, issues remain unresolved because the FASB decided to focus its resources on issues that U.S. stakeholders thought were more critical at that time or on convergence efforts with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).

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