The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) are reviewing their guidelines on lease accounting this year. This paper provides background information on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), FASB and IASB including what their role is in accounting. It details the history of lease accounting for them, changes that have occurred since the original guidelines were issued, and why the FASB and IASB are looking to update the current standards.
The history of lease accounting provides numerous changes to the standards. FASB 13 is the last major change that has been made and that was 30 years ago. The financial community describes the changes that could arise from the FASB and IASB as an effort to bring transparency to company balance sheets. This is a continuing reaction to Enron and certain happenings earlier in the decade that brought off-balance sheet items to the forefront. There is a lot of focus on off-balance sheet obligations now.
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Users of financial statements depend on the statements to provide important information about a company’s performance, financial condition, and the cash flow. Financial statement users include bankers deciding whether to lend money or renew a loan to a company, suppliers deciding to extend you credit. “The FASB and IASB’s conceptual framework objective is to provide a common framework that provides useful and complete accounting information” (Monson, 2001).
Security and Exchange Commission
The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) was established in 1933 after the Crash of 1930. Prior to this time there, no standard setting body existed. Even after its formation, the SEC encouraged the private sector to set them. In 1934, the SEC received the authority to establish financial accounting and reporting for publicly held companies.
Committee on Accounting Procedures
In 1939, the SEC suggested that the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) create a formal standard setting body. The AICPA established the Committee on Accounting Procedures (CAP). During its reign from 1939 to 1959, they issued 51 Accounting Research Bulletins. CAP was not as successful as had been hoped. CAP only issued standards on problems as they occurred. These standards are known as Accounting Research Bulletins or ARBs.
Accounting Principles Board
The Committee on Accounting Procedures was replaced with the Accounting Principles Board (APB) in 1959. They issued 31 opinions and 4 statements over the next 14 years. They are credited with the development of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) from the opinions and statements they issued.
Financial Accounting Standards Board
The APB was replaced by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which was formed in 1973.
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