New FASB Accounting Codification Changes GAAP Research and References (E.g., FAS 109 and FIN 48)

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By Laura C. Kinney, Esq. Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, Washington, DC

The accounting profession experienced a major change on July 1, 2009, when the Financial Accounting Standards Board (the “FASB”) launched the FASB Accounting Standards Codification (the “FASB ASC”). The FASB ASC replaced all previously existing financial accounting standards (other than U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission pronouncements) to become the single source of authoritative nongovernmental U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). From now on, instead of issuing new standards (e.g., FAS 109), the FASB will issue updates to the FASB ASC.

The thousands of U.S. GAAP pronouncements that comprise GAAP are now reorganized into approximately 90 topics under the FASB ASC; this significantly changes the presentation of GAAP. This change will affect how financial statement preparers both research and reference GAAP. Preparers will no long refer to FASB Statements, FASB Financial Interpretations, Emerging Issues Task Force Issues, AICPA Accounting Statements of Position, Accounting Principles Bulletins, and all other pronouncements. Instead, references to GAAP will more closely resemble the Internal Revenue Code. Those in the tax field will no longer reference FAS 109 or FIN 48 but instead reference the topics:

• FASB ASC 740 (expenses),

• FASB ASC 805 (business combinations),

• FASB ASC 830 (foreign currency matters), and

• FASB ASC 980 (regulated operations).

Financial statement preparers must apply the FASB ASC to interim and annual periods ending after September 15, 2009, which means prepares must begin using it for periods beginning on or about July 1, 2009. For private calendar year companies that do not file interim statements, the first set of financial statements to use the FASB ASC would be their December 31, 2009 financial statements.

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