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FASB Plans 2014 Taxonomy Release, Webcast to Explain

Tammy Whitehouse | August 27, 2013

The Financial Accounting Standards Board will soon publish its proposed 2014 GAAP Taxonomy to give companies a preview of what they will use in the coming year for filing financial statements in XBRL.

The proposed taxonomy is scheduled to be published on Aug. 30, says FASB. It will include changes for updates to accounting standards in the past year as well as a revised calculation hierarchy, which demonstrates mathematical relationships between various elements of the Taxonomy. FASB is planning a webcast for Sept. 10 to explain the changes to the Taxonomy as well as the board's growing series of XBRL Implementation Guides. Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission also will be on hand to address current XBRL filing issues, FASB says.

In May, FASB asked for feedback on its proposed changes to the calculation hierarchy intended to make the Taxonomy more useful to preparers and users of financial statements. The calculation hierarchies indicate which elements in the Taxonomy are totals and which elements are added together to arrive at a total.

The current GAAP Taxonomy provides calculation hierarchy for every statement or disclosure presentation where there are summation relationships, regardless of whether there may be any overlap. The revised hierarchy would eliminate inconsistencies, FASB says. As an example, FASB says the 2013 Taxonomy includes 19 separate summations for revenues, several of which are inconsistent. FASB proposed in May to reduce the number of summations to three.

                        

                         *Source: FASB.

FASB will expose the proposed 2014 Taxonomy for a period of public comment, then consider feedback and finalize the Taxonomy for the SEC's consideration. The SEC must approve and accept the Taxonomy before it is fully released for preparer use. According to the timeline from prior years, that usually occurs in the spring.

As XBRL use continues and the Taxonomy is updated annually, the board's staff has narrowed the number of changes necessary, according to data provided by FASB. In the 2011 GAAP Taxonomy, the staff made thousands of changes to reflect new definitions as well as new and deprecated elements. With the transition from 2013 to 2014, the changes in each category number fewer than 500.