New York (Sept. 10, 2003) -- Improving and simplifying U.S. GAAP and moving toward international convergence on accounting standards are among the strategic initiatives targeted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board as the standard-setter adjusts to life under Sarbanes-Oxley.

“I’m not a big fan of buzzwords such as ‘transparency,’” FASB chairman Robert Herz told a gathering of roughly 200 CPAs at a conference here. “But we want to improve financial disclosure and get better and more information in general. Accounting and financial reporting really matter.”

Herz addressed a list of current front-burner FASB projects, a roster topped by revenue recognition, stock-based compensation and pension disclosure.

Herz told attendees that a pair of exposure drafts from the U.S. and the International Accounting Standards Board on “retroactive applications” of standards and discontinued operations, respectively, would be out in the coming weeks.

He also touched on other sensitive accounting areas such as leasing standards, which he said could be improved both domestically and internationally.

Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t think leasing standards could be improved?” asked Herz rhetorically.

And as for FASB’s tradition of proceeding at a glacial pace on projects, Herz said that the organization’s pace has unquestionably stepped up, but added a caveat.

“While we tend to move quicker than before, we don’t want to do it by cutting necessary due process.”

-- Bill Carlino

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