I once nervously asked a grease-stained, cigar-chomping mechanic named Rocco whether a muffler unit, which appeared far too big to dovetail neatly into my Fiat's exhaust system, would be able to fit without roughly a thousand or so dollars of damage to the undercarriage.
Rocco picked up an oversized wrench and well-worn rubber hammer, patted me on the shoulder with his meaty hand and confidently said, "Don't worry, Billy, I'll make it fit."
Somehow Rocco managed to wedge in the replacement muffler without boring any new holes in my floorboard or puncturing the tailpipe. It was one off those instances where unless something went wrong, you don't want to know how it got done, only that it did.
As a postscript, several years later I sat in amazement when a commercial for Midas Mufflers aired that contained verbatim my concerned conversation with Rocco.
I figured it must happen a lot.
As consumers, the uncertainty of a good fit, whether it's designer jeans or mufflers, more often than not leaves us a bit anxious.
How about financial executives for private companies who prepare their financials in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles?
For years, the Big GAAP vs. Little GAAP debate has raged on. Private companies complain that the standards are not a one-size-fits-all convenience, and that SEC issuers, have different requirements and are not like us.
Conversely, standard-setters and regulators have questioned the merits of having two sets of standards, if nothing else than for litigious concerns of why a company didn't follow GAAP if there's an implosion and the inevitable perception -- whether fairly or unfairly -- of a second set of standards, being well, second rate.
Last week, a task force commissioned by the American Institute of CPAs recommended that the wheels be set in motion to explore potential changes in GAAP to better tailor it for private company financial reporting.
The group, which was established last year, mined responses from 3,700 business owners, public practitioners, finance managers, lenders, investors and sureties.
Private companies, which comprise a huge majority of the 5 million or so companies in the U.S., have traditionally used GAAP, which has only served as high-test gas in the protracted public-vs.-private standards debate.
As a result of the task force research, the AICPA board, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and its overseer, the Financial Accounting Foundation, have agreed to collaborate on possible courses of action.
FASB and the FAF have neither endorsed the task force's findings, nor ignored them, much the same position I'm inclined to take in this battle.
Both sides have cogent points, and to be honest, this issue has resurfaced more than a blackhead on a teenager and if it's going to go forward, then now is as good a time as any.
Just promise you won't use Rocco the mechanic as the poster child for GAAP reform.
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