Agreeing to Disagree, Part 1

London -- The International Accounting Standards Board has released a new document describing some of its most recent tentative decisions from the first half of the year on the standards for lease accounting, including what appears to be an about-face on how leases should be categorized, opening up a new gulf between it and the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

The IASB has tentatively decided to propose a single lessee model that would require the recognition of interest and amortization for all leases recognized on a lessee's balance sheet. FASB, for its part, has tentatively decided to propose a dual model that retains the existing distinction between finance leases and operating leases. FASB's model would result in no change to a lessee's income statement.

 

... And Part 2

New York -- The IASB has issued the final element of its own long-awaited financial instruments accounting standard after failing to reach a consensus with the U.S. FASB on key elements related to credit losses and loan impairments.

The package of improvements included in IFRS 9, Financial Instruments, includes a logical model under International Financial Reporting Standards for classification and measurement, a single, forward-looking "expected loss" impairment model and a substantially reformed approach to hedge accounting. The new standard will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, with early application permitted.

As part of IFRS 9, the IASB has introduced a new, expected-loss impairment model that will require more timely recognition of expected credit losses. The new standard requires entities to account for expected credit losses from when financial instruments are first recognized and to recognize full lifetime expected losses on a more timely basis.

The IASB was unable to reach an agreement with FASB, so there is no converged standard in IFRS and U.S. GAAP on financial instruments as the two boards had planned under the Norwalk Agreement of 2002.

 

XBRL US Offers Free SEC Data Quality Tools

Washington, D.C. -- XBRL US, a nonprofit organization that helps develop Extensible Business Reporting Language data tags in the U.S., is offering free data tools to help companies improve their XBRL financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and avoid "Dear CFO" letters from the SEC over problems in their filings.

XBRL US has developed a set of free resources that provide industry- and company-specific information on XBRL filings. They include tools that allow filers to obtain reports based on their own XBRL filing that show the total count of all errors in a filing, broken down by statement and footnote, along with a detailed description and resolution of errors specific to the pension footnote.

 

AICPA Amends Comfort Letters

New York -- The American Institute of CPAs' Auditing Standards Board has amended its standards for providing so-called "comfort letters" to underwriters and other parties requesting such letters. The ASB has issued Statement on Auditing Standards No. 129, Amendment to SAS No. 122 Section 920, Letters for Underwriters and Certain Other Requesting Parties, as Amended, to address implementation issues and avoid unintended changes to previous practice. Section 920 addresses the auditor's responsibilities when engaged to issue CPA comfort letters to requesting parties in connection with a non-issuer's financial statements that are included in a registration statement or other securities offerings.

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