Accounting for derivatives has never been easy, but the Governmental Accounting Standards Board has proffered some thoughts on how it might be done, and 85 concerned industry professionals generally agreed - but not completely.GASB project manager Randy Finden said that the bulk of the board's complex preliminary views document could be boiled down to two sentences: "Put all derivatives in the balance sheet at fair value. Fair-value changes will be reported as gains and losses in income, except for hedging gains and losses, which will be reported on the balance sheet as deferrals."

That sounds nice and simple - until you remember that the issue is derivatives, those multi-faceted, definition-defying instruments that evolve as fast as anyone can set standards for their treatment.

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