Like orange barrels signaling road construction, the Financial Accounting Standards Board is advising accountants to sit tight through some reconstructive work in the coming months in the online Accounting Standards Codification.
The codification is the online repository that contains all authoritative Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. FASB developed the codification and launched it in 2009 to make accounting rules easier to search and maintain. The codification also reassembled all of GAAP away from a chronological arrangement of historical accounting pronouncements to a complete set of rules arranged by topic.
The FASB routinely updates the codification due to changes in accounting standards, but the reconstruction will be more significant in coming months, the board has advised. The improvements to the structure of the content of the codification will not result in any changes to the rules themselves, the FASB says.
Changes will be most apparent in industry topics, the board advises, with the structure of the content in some topic areas changed to simplify them. “Over the last few years, substantial amounts of guidance in these topics were superseded, which often left a few paragraphs of remaining guidance stranded between long passes of superseded guidance,” the board says.
The huge new accounting standard on revenue recognition takes effect in 2017, replacing hundreds of historical accounting pronouncements, many of which were geared to specific industry sectors. The new standard does away with that industry-specific guidance to put all industry sectors on common ground in terms of the rules they will follow to determine when and in what amounts to recognize revenue in financial statements.
The FASB says it will be removing the intersecting topic structure from some of the industry topics, leading to a more efficient and user-friendly topic structure. The changes will occur through maintenance updates to the codification, and information on the changes will be available through a link in the status table of the affected topic or subtopic.
The earliest simplifications are focused on Topics 952, 220, and 225, which cover franchisors, comprehensive income, and the income statement, respectively. The board advised it will be making changes “over the next several months.”