FASB has issued a proposal for public comment to amend Topic 810 of the Accounting Standards Codification to address concerns around Accounting Standards Update No. 2015-02, the most recent amendment to consolidation guidance that took effect in 2016. And that new set of rules was enacted to address concerns with yet an earlier change in the consolidation rules.
It’s been a long haul for FASB to try to improve the rules that govern when an entity is required to consolidate onto its balance sheet a “variable interest entity,” or a stand-alone entity in which multiple parties have varying levels of control and risk. Major accounting collapses of the early 2000s called big attention to weakness in the accounting rules that enabled companies to engage in VIE activity with little or no visibility to investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission called for action in its 2005 off-balance-sheet study, commissioning FASB to shore up the rules.
In its latest proposal, FASB is trying to further hone the requirements around how to decide who ultimately should consolidate a VIE to the corporate balance sheet. The proposal focuses on how an entity should consider interests held through related parties. FASB also says it may consider as part of a separate initiative yet to come whether still more changes are in order to the guidance for common control arrangements.
FASB has not set an intended effective date for its latest proposal. The board is accepting comments on the proposal through July 25 and plans to consider the effective date as part of its redeliberation process.