September Accounting and Auditing Highlights

In Sept. 11 meetings, the Financial Accounting Standards Board voted to extend the comment period of the proposed accounting standards update, Consolidation (Topic 810): Measuring the Financial Liabilities of a Consolidated Collateralized Financing Entity, by a month to Oct.30.

The extension request came from the American Bankers Association and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

FASB also voted to issue a public comment proposal that would amend current accounting for development stage entities to eliminate the inception-to-date presentation requirements and incremental disclosure requirements for development stage entities.

Under U.S. GAAP, a company is considered a development-stage entity if it is devoting substantially all of its efforts to raising capital and no sales have as yet been derived from its principal operations. 

The joint leasing standard comment period closed Sept. 13 and as of Sept. 26, the boards had logged almost 600 comment letters.  The proposal has met with more support in Europe than in the U.S.

 Redeliberations are scheduled to begin on the proposal in December or in early January at the close of the public roundtable meetings which so far have been held in London, Connecticut and Sao Paolo -- the remaining two will take place on Oct. 3 in Los Angeles and Oct. 4 in Singapore.

Delegates from the community of equipment lessors and others in the leasing sector at the public roundtable meeting in Connecticut took the position that future accounting for lease-related income should be akin to their treatment in current IASB rules.

The panels hope to issue final rules in 2014.

FASB’s Chairman Russell Golden on Sept. 12 in comments at the FASB@40 Conference in New York said the board planned to issue the final rules on impairment of financial instruments, including loans, in the first half of 2014. FASB also aims to issue the final standard on classification and measurement of instruments around the same time, he said. 

In joint meetings with the International Accounting Standards Board Sept. 17 the boards continued to attempt to reach a solution on their “must –converge” project on how banks and other companies report loan and other credit losses.  Despite the “must-converge” goal of the boards, in the last two years the boards continue to diverge in their suggested solutions.

 The auditing highlight for September was the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Sept. 18 divided vote for a the controversial proposal requiring public companies to disclose the ratio of the median pay of their employees to that of their chief executive officers.  

This was mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act Rule 953 (b). The SEC received around 20, 000 comment letters on the proposal. 

 One comment letter supporting the proposal stated that only disclosure of the chasm between CEOs and average employees will “discourage the outrageous and reckless pay practices that fueled the 2008 crash.”  Another letter suggested that the legislation needed to also restrict the use of compensation relative to the pay of competitor CEOs, thus stopping the “arms race “of packages.  

The arguments to the contrary have been that global workforces, differing payroll systems, and different types of compensation paid across business units make the ratio calculation extremely expensive, complicated and burdensome.

One of the significant objections to the proposed rule is that “all employees” includes full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, U.S. and non U.S. employees employed by the company or any of its subsidiaries as of the last day of the company’s last –completed fiscal year.


Compiled by Laura Tieger-Salisbury, Accounting Policy and Practice Report Copy Editor