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How to Handle FASB’s Unfair Value Standard

Colleen Cunningham | November 4, 2008

I had planned to write a completely different column for this month—but, much like the Treasury Department, was inspired by recent events regarding the credit crisis to change course.

Let’s talk about fair value accounting.

First, it amazed me that the so-called Bailout Bill, as passed, had provisions associated with fair-value accounting in it. Congress isn’t exactly the group that should be determining accounting standards! Last I looked, neither the House nor the Senate had any working accountants in their membership. If they only took the time to study what the Financial Accounting Standards Board was doing in the first place, they might have been able to voice their concerns well in advance of when Financial Accounting Standard No. 157, Fair Value Measurements, actually arrived.

I’ve been outspoken about the implementation issues associated with FAS 157, well in advance of its issuance. I do not, however, believe that this particular...

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