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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

AICPA Technical Practice Aid Addresses Natural Disasters

September 21, 2005

In response to Hurricane Katrina, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) issued Technical Practice Aid 5400.05 on September 12. The aid identifies certain issues that may arise in accounting for losses from natural disasters and lists relevant accounting literature for nongovernmental entities to consider in addressing those financial reporting issues.

The aid points practitioners to literature and guidance for recognizing, measuring, and disclosing losses from natural disasters. The relevant accounting literature is organized around the following series of questions that might arise when considering accounting losses incurred as a result of a natural disaster: 

  • How should losses from a natural disaster of a type that is reasonably expected to reoccur be classified in the statement of operations?
  • When should an asset impairment loss related to a natural disaster be recognized?
  • When should a liability for non-impairment losses and costs related to a natural disaster be recognized?
  • What is the accounting for insurance recoveries to cover losses sustained in a natural disaster?
  • What are the additional considerations related to business interruption insurance recoveries?
  • What are the required disclosures regarding the impact of a natural disaster?

The technical practice aid is available at

NACUBO staff resource: Sue Menditto, director, accounting policy.