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FASB@40 conference.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in June, held a conference in New York on Sept. 12, at which it looked both back and ahead.

The day-long event featured past chairs, former and past FASB members, representatives of FASB-affiliated organizations and guests from several of its constituencies.

The opening discussion, A Look Back: Controversies/Key Issues of the Past 40 Years, featured the five living of the six former FASB chairs, Donald Kirk (1978-1986), Dennis Beresford (1987-1997), Edmund L. Jenkins (1997-2002), Robert H. Herz (2002-2010) and Leslie F. Seidman (2010-2013). Moderated by James Leisenring, a former FASB member and International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) member, the group discussed important moments and key issues of the past 40 years. Later in the day, the current FASB chairman, Russell G. Golden, provided closing remarks.

The keynote speaker, Judd A. Gregg, (former Republican senator and governor of New Hampshire), is now chief executive officer for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

Marie Hollein, Financial Executives International president and CEO, was in attendance at the event, which drew more than 200 people to the Marriott Marquis. Hollein was impressed with the scope of the agenda and the speakers. She is also particularly pleased with the ongoing relationship FEI maintains with FASB, "as the voice of senior-level financial executives."

In his remarks, Golden thanked the five past chairs for attending and discussing the issues that they confronted during their tenure on the board. He said "in reflecting on the challenges of the past ... many of them are not dissimilar to the challenges that we face today--and the challenges that we are likely to face in the future."

Golden noted that prior to forming FASB in 1973, Reginald H. Jones, chairman of the board of General Electric Co., addressed the Financial Accounting Foundation, cautioning that the work of the new FASB would not be met with universal approval, and he urged corporate American to support that work.

Golden said he hears "the echo of that remark every time I read through incoming comment letters and news coverage of our projects, whether it involves leasing, credit losses, insurance or another area of accounting."

Golden said that 40 years after its founding, FASB has arrived at an important inflection point in these areas:

* FASB is about to complete the last of the so-called -convergence projects with the International Accounting Standards Board, ending a 10-plus-year period of intense, bilateral standard setting;

* Work has just begun with the Private Company Council, established last year by FASB parent organization, the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF);

* FASB is in the second year of the new Post implementation Review process, which is intended to help it better understand whether standards it sets achieve the purpose for which they were intended; and

* New chairs of FASB and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) began terms at the same time (for the first time in history).

He then outlined what he believes FASB priorities should be for its next 40 years: improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations; reduce the complexity and cost of accounting standards while maintaining or improving the relevance of information provided by both private and public companies; improve the way important information about standards is communicated in an effort to build and improve a broad-based awareness and understanding of the board's projects; and increase collaboration with FAF and GASB and build a collective organization that better serves the needs of all of the constituents.

Golden articulated his vision for the standard setter, which "includes completing our joint projects now underway with the International Accounting Standards Board, developing a new model for our global relationships and determining a new, updated agenda for the FASB."

This also includes, said Golden, "working with FAF and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) to "realize a vision for the future that will serve the needs of users of U.S. GAAP reports and promote the convergence of global accounting standards."

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Title Annotation:EVENTS; Financial Accounting Standards Board
Publication:Financial Executive
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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