MAJOR CHANGES

New leaders stepped up at the country's two main accounting standards-setters, as Russell Golden succeeded Leslie Seidman as chair of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, while David Vaudt succeeded Robert Attmore as chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

Events in Washington and beyond promised to have a major impact on the profession. First, the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, raising significant tax issues for same-sex couples around the country. Then the Obama administration announced the postponement of the employer mandate requirements of the Affordable Care Act, giving businesses a full extra year to be confused about them. Finally, the House of Representatives passed a bill prohibiting the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board from requiring mandatory auditor rotation. A few weeks later, the United Kingdom's Competition Commission issued a provisional decision recommending that companies there put audits out for bid every five years.

The American Institute of CPAs and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy set aside their differences over the AICPA's release in June of its Financial Reporting Framework for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, pledging to cooperate on financial reporting frameworks for private companies and to develop tools to help accountants determine which frameworks are appropriate in which situations.

FASB and the Private Company Council voted in mid-July to finalize the Private Company Decision-Making Framework, which outlines the criteria they intend to use for determining whether and under what circumstances it is appropriate to adjust financial reporting requirements for private companies following U.S. GAAP.

Separately, the board issued a new accounting standards update, ASU No. 2013-09, that defers indefinitely certain disclosures about investments held by nonpublic employee benefit plans in their plan sponsors' own non-public equity securities.

FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board announced a series of joint public roundtable meetings on different continents to discuss their revised joint proposals on leasing standards that were published in May. The roundtables will be held around the world starting in September.

The IASB published a discussion paper exploring possible changes to its Conceptual Framework, noting that the existing framework does not cover some important areas, and some guidance needs updating.

GASB issued a proposed statement on the transition provisions of its new pension standards for state and local governments, with the goal of eliminating a potential source of understatement in a government's first year of implementing its new pension standards.

The PCAOB said that it is taking a closelook at the nearly 1,000 accounting firms that have registered with the board, but do not audit public companies or broker-dealers, and may decide to drop many of them.

Things didn't get better for the IRS. Even as Congress continued to pursue the service's handling of conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status, a watchdog group revealed that the IRS had accidentally exposed tens of thousands of Social Security numbers online, and a report questioned some aspects of the service's spending on executive travel. Finally, the IRS itself admitted that it made an interest calculation error on certain CP 2000 notices mailed at the start of July.

The AICPA and XBRL US introduced an XBRL US GAAP Certificate Program to provide finance and accounting professionals with information and training in building XBRL-formatted financial statements.

 

CORRECTIONS

In "Coordinating Your Cloud" (July 2013, page 30), we misspelled Kacee Johnson's name -- it should not have a "y" in it.

In our Top Firms by AUM ranking, when we noted how many firms in the Rising Stars category are affiliated with BAM, we gave a percentage that was too low; in fact, 65 percent of the Rising Stars are affiliated with BAM. In addition, Schneider Downs Wealth Management Advisors is listed as being headquartered in South Park, Pa.; it is, in fact, headquartered in Pittsburgh.

Our apologies for the errors.

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