The Financial Accounting Standards Board has finalized some technical corrections to its standard on financial statements and proposed new guidance on accounting for certain cloud computing costs.
FASB issued final new guidance to address six specific issues that required “correction or improvement” to the original financial instruments standard, according to Accounting Standards Update No. 2018-03, which is now codified under Topic 825 of the Accounting Standards Update. The guidance addresses equity securities that have no readily determinable fair value, forward contracts and purchased options, presentation requirements for certain fair value option liabilities, fair value option liabilities that are denominated in a foreign currency, and transition for certain equity securities.
FASB adopted the new financial instruments standard in 2016 to make some targeted improvements to the recognition, measurement, presentation, and disclosure of financial instruments. The board also added Topic 321 on investments in equity securities, which represented a number of “consequential amendments” to the Accounting Standards Codification, FASB said.
Key guidance in FASB’s recent technical corrections clarify that companies must use a prospective, or go-forward, transition approach only for equity securities that they opt to measure using the new measurement alternative. The new guidance also says companies that voluntarily stop using the measurement alternative for equity securities that are not easily measured at fair value must measure that security and others like it at fair value.
The full standard on recognizing and measuring financial instruments takes effect in the first quarter of 2018 for calendar-year public companies, so the recent guidance containing technical corrections takes effect along the same time line.
Separately, FASB also issued a proposed Accounting Standards Update to clarify the accounting for implementation costs related to any cloud computing arrangement that is a service contract. The proposal is meant to clarify aspects of ASU No. 2015-05 on intangibles, which addressed how to account for fees paid in cloud computing arrangements.
FASB says companies implementing that guidance have asked for further clarification on certain specific cloud computing arrangement costs. Existing guidance is not explicit, and different practices have emerged, so FASB decided to issue a clarification.
The board is accepting comments on the proposal through April 30.