- In 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued eighteen Accounting Standards Updates (ASUs). There are several major areas expected to be updated in 2015, including leases, disclosure framework, and accounting for financial instruments. To help you review the most recent updates, links are provided to the detailed FASB information for each of the 2014 ASUs.
- The Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center has recently released a Plan Advisory (the Advisory) on the importance of hiring a quality auditor in respect to your employee benefit plan; this advisory covers the financial statement audit's significance to users, and the risk a plan sponsor will face if a quality audit is not performed. The Advisory also provides guidance in evaluating auditor qualifications, and includes a complete overview of the proposal process.
- The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has rolled out the long-awaited update of its accounting and review standards. Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) No. 21, Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services: Clarification and Recodification, represents one of the AICPA’s most significant revisions of its nonaudit standards since 1979. Among other things, the guidance creates a bright line between accounting (or preparation) services and reporting (compilation or review) services and lays out distinct requirements for each type of service. This article outlines what the clarified guidance means to those who use CPAs to perform nonaudit services — including reviews, compilations, and financial statement preparations — to report their historical and prospective financial results.
- The Society of Actuaries recently released new mortality tables for use by plan sponsors when measuring benefit plan costs and obligations. The new tables, RP-2014 (mortality tables) and MP-2014 (longevity improvement scale), will most likely result in higher defined benefit obligations in benefit plans.
- In 2002, FASB and the IASB agreed to work together to develop high-quality, compatible accounting standards that could be used for both domestic and cross-border financial reporting. Since then, the bodies’ efforts to achieve the so-called “convergence” of US GAAP and IFRS have had their ups and downs. Going forward, US standard setters propose an informal, collaborative model that will minimize differences in financial reporting, in lieu of the IASB’s one-size-fits-all approach. This article looks back at what’s happened with convergence to date and examines the future direction of financial reporting in a global marketplace.
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