Outgoing Financial Accounting Standards Board Chair Russell Golden spoke to the rulemaker’s fourth-quarter activities and the transition to his successor, EY’s Richard Jones, at a Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) board of trustees meeting Tuesday.
In the fourth quarter, FASB did not add any new projects to the agenda, a decision made with Jones’ full-time starting date next week in mind. “We have agreed to, in the second quarter, have a broad-based agenda discussion with the Board as to which projects we want to move forward on and which projects we want to take off our agenda,” Golden said.
Of note, FASB staff has been performing research on embedded leases, share-based payments in asset acquisitions, and supply chain finance, according to its fourth-quarter report.
In the meantime, Golden highlighted FASB’s significant change in philosophy to defer effective dates of new accounting standards for private companies, not-for-profit organizations, and smaller public companies. ASU 2019-10 is intended to give FASB the opportunity to monitor implementation and make cost-effective changes to standards before they are implemented by companies other than larger public companies. The effective dates for credit losses (Topic 326), derivatives and hedging (Topic 815), and leases (Topic 842) were deferred as a result.
“We believe it’s been widely supported by smaller public companies as well as members of the Securities and Exchange Commission staff,” Golden said of the change.
Golden also referred to his final speech as chair at an AICPA conference in December, where he discussed FASB’s accomplishments and the remaining items he hopes to accomplish. This include reference rate reform. Voting is finished, and the standard is expected to be issued in the next few weeks, Golden said.
He also mentioned FASB’s efforts to continue to simplify the accounting for distinguishing liabilities from equity (including convertible debt). The Board hopes to finalize this standard before June 30.
The Board will continue to monitor implementation of major standards including revenue recognition, leases, hedging, insurance, and credit losses, Golden said. He mentioned FASB will hold a lease roundtable in April to discuss issues public companies face and to consider putting in place cost-effective solutions for private companies. Among those issues are the determination of the discount rate and embedded leases. Golden added he is hopeful FASB will make a decision to move forward on changes to goodwill accounting.
In response to an FAF board member’s question about his plans for transitioning his responsibilities to Jones, Golden stated that, consistent with other board changes, FASB staff will provide an in-depth history about each project on the agenda to prepare Jones to vote on July 1. Golden plans to introduce Jones to domestic and international stakeholders over the remainder of his term, along with briefing him on FASB’s processes, goals, and staffing.