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Revised White Paper Issued on Governmental and Business Financial Reporting

Helping distinguish between governmental and business financial reporting, a revised White Paper has been issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”). The White Paper, Updated: Why Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Is—and Should Be—Different , elaborates that the difference between governmental accounting and reporting standards and the standards for for-profit businesses require independent standards so that the information provided meets the needs of stakeholders when assessing government accountability, as well as to help make political, social and economic decisions. The White Paper also provides guidance on specific questions that typically arise regarding why general purpose governments cannot use accounting standards developed for for-profit businesses. Download the White Paper from the GASB website.

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Financial Restatements Lowest in 15 Years

Audit Analytics is reporting the lowest total number of financial restatements among publicly traded companies since 2002. In its May report, Audit Analytics said restatements dropped 6.83 percent last year (671 companies). Separately, the percentage of financial restatements in 2016 was the lowest since 2007. Regulatory oversight is receiving partial credit for the low numbers. Audit Analytics Director of Research Don Whalen was not surprised by the downward trend, saying that improved internal controls over financial reporting have helped companies. Whalen noted the improved internal controls are due largely to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s efforts and the Committee. Read More.

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FASB to Update Definitions for Key Accounting Concepts

At its May 3 meeting, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) voted to expand efforts to update its Conceptual Framework. The decision impacts potential updates to Concepts Statement (“CON”) No. 6, Elements of Financial Statements, which provides definitions for key financial reporting concepts like assets, liabilities, and revenues. Board members also agreed to preserve the goal of financial reporting as mentioned in CON No. 8, Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting—Chapter 1, the Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting. Viewed as the main characteristic of the Conceptual Framework, the chapter says that a financial reporting’s objective is to offer useful financial. Read More.

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GASB Takes Detailed Look at Financial Reporting

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) is currently working on or performing research concerning three projects to improve financial reporting for governmental entities. Two of the interrelated efforts, Financial Reporting Model Reexamination and Revenue and Expense Recognition, are currently on the GASB’s technical agenda. The third project, the Note Disclosures Reexamination, was added to the GASB’s pre-agenda research. The GASB timed each project in a staggered way to work on them in unison to be issued successively and in a timely manner. More on the financial reporting projects is available on GASB.org.

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Comment Letters Ask FASB to Limit Future Projects

Some trade groups want the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) to provide more leeway for implementing current accounting standards before taking on new projects. In feedback to the FASB’s Invitation to Comment, Agenda Consultation, groups like the American Bankers Association (“ABA”) asked the board to consider the time and costs needed when new standards are implemented. The ABA also noted that standards involving revenue, leases, credit losses and financial instrument measurement and classification require significant undertaking that could last over several years. Other comment letters to the agenda consultation document came from the Institute of Management Accountants (“IMA”), which advised. Read More.

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GASB Statement on Pollution Remediation Helps Financial Statement Users

A Post Implementation Review (“PIR”) by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (“GASB”) has determined that GASB Statement No. 49, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pollution Remediation Obligations, achieves its purpose of offering more reliable reporting of a government’s pollution remediation obligations. According to the PIR team, GASB Statement No. 49 resolves the main issues causing its stated need and provides financial statement users with valuable information. In addition, GASB Statement No. 49 attained its expected benefits, and no standard-setting process recommendations were offered. More on the Post Implementation Review of GASB Statement No. 49 is available in the news release.

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