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September 18, 2013

FASB reach inflection point, Golden

By Vincent Huck

The Financial Accounting Standard Board (FASB) chairman Russel Golden has given his first major speech since he was appointed in April and said the US standard setter has reached an inflection point in relation to convergence projects.

"We are about to complete the last of the so-called ‘convergence’ projects with the International Accounting Standards Board, ending a ten-plus-year period of intense, bilateral standard setting," he said.

Golden outlined what he believed the priorities of the FASB should be for the next 40 years, priorities which voiced the concerns of stakeholders expressed in a recent survey conducted by FASB’s advisory group.

The complexity of accounting standards should be reduced, he said, while the relevance of information provided by companies should be maintained or improved.

"I believe that the FASB can successfully carry out its mission of improving financial reporting for US capital markets while also seeking to improve and converge financial reporting internationally," he said.

IFRS convergenceGolden outlined three strategic lines. First, FASB should continue to undertake improvements to US GAAP while seeking to promote global alignment with IFRS.

Second, it should advance the development of IFRS by actively providing input on IASB projects. And third, Golden said FASB should enhance its relationship and communications with other national standard setters.

Golden concluded his speech by saying: "I hope that US GAAP and IFRS will be closer in many key areas than they are today."

Stakeholders surveyIn the same week, FASB’s advisory group, the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC), issued the results of a survey in which stakeholders shared their views about FASB’s agenda.

FASAC survey included 18 questions for FASB stakeholders to express their views on the technical agenda, key areas of suggested focus and other related initiatives.

Respondents represented a broad base of FASB stakeholders, including preparers (38%), accounting firms (22%), users (12%), academia (8%), industry organisations (6%), and other (14%).

Asked to explain their priorities, respondents said that accounting standards need to be simpler and that better information is needed, one that is useful to investors and other users of financial reports.

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The Financial Accounting Standard Board

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