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News Now

Washington
FASB chair addresses non-public entity international rules
WASHINGTON (3/14/11)--Leslie Seidman, a longtime Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) board and staff member who was appointed chairman last December, has indicated an increased priority in working directly with stakeholders as FASB focuses on improving accounting rules for nonpublic entities, including credit unions. These efforts are partially a result of the primary recommendationin a blue ribbon panel’s report (use resource link to read related News Now story) that a separate standards-setting board be established for nonpublic entities, Seidman noted. “I view the primary recommendation of the blue ribbon report as a very serious message to the FASB that we have to do a better job of listening to our private company constituents and understanding the unique needs of the users of their financial statements and the cost-benefit issues that the preparers of the financial statements are dealing with,” the FASB chairman said. Seidman, addressing a U.S. Chamber of Commerce luncheon late last week, said FASB is focusing on greater outreach with nonpublic entities and has asked FASB staff to try to articulate the different needs of the users of nonpublic entities’ financial statements as they move through the standard-setting process. Further, Seidman said that FASB is experimenting with different ways of obtaining input from nonpublic entities and that FASB is “very interested in trying to make it easier for people to participate in the [standard-setting] process.” Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Assistant General Counsel Luke Martone, who attended the Chamber’s session on the future of financial reporting, confirmed what the FASB chairman said, noting that CUNA has heard from several credit unions that they have been contacted by FASB regarding the potential impact of current and upcoming accounting proposals. Seidman also indicated that FASB is making some progress toward, as the Chamber session was titled, “achieving global harmonization of financial reporting” through a convergence of FASB rules with those of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). In its efforts to achieve a single set of accounting standards, she noted FASB has increased the frequency of meetings with the IASB, including several meetings scheduled for March instead of the usual one. IASB chairman Sir David Tweedie also spoke at the event, making his case for the United States to adopt international accounting standards this year. FASB's Seidman noted, however, that although FASB is interested in adopting convergent standards, it will refrain from doing so if it appears that this would not be in the best interest of entities that report under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles—or GAAP.


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