Wayne Carnall, chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporate Finance, has been seeing so many hits on the SEC’s website lately that he’s comparing the agency to pop sensation Lady Gaga.

The SEC’s Financial Reporting Manual, containing the SEC staff’s views on a variety of topics, has been getting about 180,000 hits a month lately. “It’s a very popular document,” Carnall said at the New York State Society of CPAs’ SEC conference on Tuesday. “We’re almost up to Lady Gaga in star status.”

He may have been joking, but the truth is that a lot of companies and their accountants want to know what the SEC staff has been thinking. They may not be ready to describe themselves as the SEC’s “little monsters” and hold up their hands like claws when they wave, as Gaga’s fans do, but they are eager to find out what the SEC has in mind. That’s why the SEC has been assembling about 24 years’ worth of staff views on financial reporting and intends to incorporate them in the manual by sometime next year, according to Carnall.

The manual was first posted online in 2008 and proved to be an immediate hit, though not quite so big as “Bad Romance” or "Pokerface." The Center for Audit Quality has been prodding the SEC to add more of its older staff views to the manual by citing views from as far back as 1985 during meetings with the SEC staff.

Carnall cautioned that the Financial Reporting Manual is “not the type of document you’d take to the beach.” It’s extremely detailed and covers thousands of different topics. You might even say it’s a monster. You can check it out here.

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