Norwalk, Conn. -- The Financial Accounting Standards Board has released a proposed 2015 GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy for public review and comment, containing computer-readable financial reporting labels coded in Extensible Business Reporting Language, or XBRL.

XBRL is an open-source computer language that allows companies to tag the thousands of pieces of financial data included in typical long-form financial statements and related footnote disclosures. The tags are supposed to allow users of financial statements to electronically search for, assemble and process data so the data can be accessed and analyzed by investors, analysts, journalists and regulators, although problems with the tagging have frequently hampered such efforts.

The 60-day comment period is intended to allow users of the taxonomy to provide feedback on these updates. It is also intended to afford SEC filers, service providers, software vendors, and other interested parties the opportunity to become familiar with and suggest revisions to the taxonomy, including incorporating new elements for current filings. The deadline to submit written comments on the proposed taxonomy is Oct. 31, 2014.



Washington, D.C. -- The Securities and Exchange Commission said in late August that it had issued a whistleblower award of more than $300,000 to a company employee who performed audit and compliance functions and reported wrongdoing to the SEC after the company failed to take action when the employee reported it internally. The SEC noted that this is the first award for a whistleblower with an audit or compliance function at a company. The name of the whisteblower was not identified.

The whistleblower award recipient reported concerns of wrongdoing to the appropriate people within the company, including a supervisor. But when the company took no action on the information within 120 days, the whistleblower reported the same information to the SEC. The information provided by the whistleblower led directly to an SEC enforcement action.



Norwalk, Conn. -- The Financial Accounting Standards Board has issued a new accounting standards update to provide guidance on disclosing uncertainties about a business' ability to continue as a going concern, while further distancing U.S. GAAP from International Financial Reporting Standards.

Accounting Standards Update No. 2014-15, Presentation of Financial Statements - Going Concern (Subtopic 205-40): Disclosure of Uncertainties about an Entity's Ability to Continue as a Going Concern, offers guidance to improve financial reporting of going concern uncertainties, focusing on management's responsibility to evaluate whether there is substantial doubt about an organization's ability to continue as a going concern and to provide related footnote disclosures.

Under U.S. GAAP, financial statements are prepared under the presumption that the reporting organization will continue to operate as a going concern, except in limited circumstances.

Financial reporting under this presumption is commonly referred to as the going concern basis of accounting and is critical to financial reporting because it establishes the fundamental basis for measuring and classifying the company's assets and liabilities.

Under the new amendments to U.S. GAAP, disclosures are required when there is substantial doubt about an entity's ability to continue as a going concern or when substantial doubt is alleviated as a result of consideration of management's plans. Under IFRS, the assessment period is at least one year from the financial statement date or balance sheet date, with no upper time limit. The assessment period is within one year after the date that the financial statements are issued or available to be issued.

The amendments apply to all companies and not-for-profit organizations. They become effective in the annual period ending after Dec. 15, 2016, with early application permitted. The update and a FASB In Focus document are available on FASB's Web site.

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