The Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board have released their long-awaited converged standard on revenue recognition after more than a decade of effort. The standard for the recognition of revenue from contracts with customers is intended to improve the financial reporting of revenue and improve comparability of the top line in financial statements globally.
Big Four firm KPMG and Top 100Firm Rothstein Kass announced that they would be merging, in a month that also saw a spate of other mergers involving large firms.
Christopher Cox, the formerSecuritiesand Exchange Commission chairman whose support for converging International Financial Reporting Standards with U.S. GAAP was crucial in setting up a "roadmap" for harmonizing the two sets of accounting standards, has reversed course, telling a group of accountants at a conference that he had come to "bury IFRS." Too much time had passed since the original suggestion, he maintained: "The moment has passed. Full-scale adoption of IFRS in the United States might once have been possible, but it is no longer."
The Internal Revenue Service hasadopted a"Taxpayer Bill of Rights" that it said would become a cornerstone document to provide the nation's taxpayers with a better understanding of their rights. It groups multiple existing rights into 10 broad categories to help make taxpayers more aware of them. Included in the lists are rights to: be informed; receive quality service; pay no more than the correct amount of tax; challenge the IRS's position and be heard; appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum; finality; confidentiality; representation; and a fair and just tax system.
Separately, the service has issued final regulations that modify the standards governing written tax advice and update related provisions.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, theformer chair of the Senate Finance Committee, warned that tax season could be delayed next year if approval of tax extenders legislation is put off until after the mid-term elections in November.
Ohio became the first state to allow continuing professional education in 10-minute increments. Pending approval by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, CPAs will be able to take CPE in blocks as short as 10 minutes and accrue it toward the state's 120-hour CPE requirement. Other states are said to be working on similar proposals.
Revenue recognition wasn't the only thing on FASB's plate: It also issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2014-10: Development Stage Entities (Topic 915) to improve financial reporting for development-stage entities, eliminating the inception-to-date information and differences in consolidation guidance. The new guidance aims to reduce the overall cost and complexity associated with financial reporting for development-stage entities.
Meanwhile, in ASU No. 2014-11, Transfers and Servicing (Topic 860), the board addressed some of the problems with financial reporting on repurchase agreements, such as those that contributed to the demise of MF Global. The new guidance aligns the accounting for repurchase-to-maturity transactions and repurchase agreements executed as a repurchase financing with the accounting for other typical repurchase agreements.
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board adopted a new auditing standard, along with amendments to other auditing standards, to require auditors to pay more attention to three critical areas of the audit: related-party transactions, significant unusual transactions, and a company's financial relationships and transactions with its executive officers.
The PCAOB is continuing to find a high degree of problems in audits of broker-dealers, despite some improvements, according to board member Jeanette Franzel.
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board published two proposed statements to improve financial reporting by state and local governments of other post-employment benefits. It also published a third exposure draft that would establish requirements for pensions and pension plans that are outside the scope of the pension standards that GASB released in 2012.
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