At this time next year we may be bidding a fond farewell to U.S. generally accepted accounting principles — or we may not. Regulators are still undecided about whether to require U.S. companies to abandon U.S. GAAP in favor of international financial reporting standards. But advocates and opponents of the switch came up with forceful arguments for their positions in 2009, as reported in several of the accounting stories listed below.
Meanwhile, a rancorous debate continued over fair-value accounting rules, with standard-setters eventually delivering new guidance and new rules to settle a scorching issue. There were important developments in other areas, too, including revenue recognition, lease accounting, financial-statement presentation, auditing, and a big “dirty” secret about contingent liabilities. All of these developments and more were covered in our best accounting and auditing stories of 2009, presented here.
The decision about whether the nation’s corporations should report under international accounting standards has foundered amid a change of Presidents and a corresponding change of leadership at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
U.S. adoption of global accounting standards would be intended to create a level global playing field, but within U.S. borders, its benefits would differ dramatically from company to company.
At a mere 230 pages, a new version of the international accounting standards for nonpublic entities may win a big following, sooner or later.
It’s time to start preparing for the arrival of international accounting standards.
Companies may be burying billions more in environmental liabilities than their financial statements show.
A long-planned overhaul of financial statements gets a rough reception from preparers at its initial unveiling, particularly from banks. Meanwhile, a survey says a large majority of CFOs don’t even know about the proposal.
The answer will prove pivotal to companies’ balance sheets when a new lease accounting standard comes out.
Elements unique to long-term contracts pose a challenge for FASB and IASB in their bid to create one standard covering all customer relationships.
The accounting standards-setter approves rules aimed at unveiling attempts to hide losses.
The U.S. and international accounting standards boards mull the divide between them on how banks should recognize changes in a loan’s fair value.
On hiatus while other fair-value questions were debated, the hotly-contested issue of why companies can book a gain when their credit rating sinks has returned to center stage.
Without directly changing fair-value rules, a new FASB rule allows banks to “roll forward” noncredit losses and avoid a hit to earnings.
Okaying a proposal on how to gauge the price of financial instruments in illiquid markets, the board says that preparers should use their judgment.
In a “plain English” summary of its recent actions on fair value, the FASB proves that it can, in fact, speak plain English.
In newly proposed guidance, board encourages companies to use more judgment — and do more work — when assessing the current value of assets stuck in an inactive market.
A generally accepted definition of “continuous auditing” remains elusive, and expert practitioners remain rare. Here are some tips from the trenches for getting a program going.
Not satisfied with monitoring small data samples, more companies are seeking complete automation of the audit function.
A biotherapy firm’s continuous controls monitoring program, which is essentially run by its internal audit team, is credited with creating numerous (though unquantifiable) benefits.
While the PCAOB’s year-one review of its revised standard for auditing financial-reporting controls offers praise, it also outlines some problem areas.
The justices will hear oral arguments this fall over whether the audit firms’ regulator — and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act — is constitutional.
The good news is that the hikes trail the inflation rate. The bad: companies are taking on more audit burdens internally.