The Financial Accounting Standards Board is looking for some guidance from capital market participants that could prove critical to how the board moves forward on accounting changes in the future.
First, FASB has issued for public comment a new chapter for its conceptual framework focused on financial statement presentation. It’s not a proposal to change the presentation directly, but instead it’s a proposed basis for how presentation questions might be viewed down the line.
FASB’s conceptual framework is a kind of rulebook on how to write rules. It provides FASB with a framework for how to develop accounting standards so that accounting principals are consistently applied to new rule-making projects.
The proposed rewrite of the chapter on financial statement presentation maps out factors the board would consider in determining financial statement line items and specific items to include in each. FASB wanted to clarify and further develop the principles on presentation to help inform future standard setting.
Separately, FASB also is asking for input on its technical agenda, looking for ideas for potential improvements to accounting and financial reporting the board should consider pursuing. Now that FASB has wrapped up some major projects around revenue recognition, leases, and financial instruments, including credit impairment, the board is deciding how to prioritize future improvements going forward.
FASB’s invitation to comment on the agenda discusses some issues that have been stewing on the back burner, such as intangible assets, pensions and other postretirement benefits, liabilities versus equity, and reporting on performance and cash flows. There, the board is considering tackling the cash flow statement, the income statement, and segment reporting.
Those are some of the issues that popped up most frequently in FASB’s recent survey of its various advisory group members. In its invitation to comment, FASB is asking stakeholders whether their views are consistent with what the board heard through its survey, or if there are other areas the board should explore as well.
FASB is asking for comment on the conceptual framework chapter by Nov. 9. Comments on the agenda priorities are due on Oct. 17.