FASB Tackles Financial Statement Disclosures
September 10, 2012
Recognizing the need for improved effectiveness of financial statement disclosures, the Financial Accounting Standards Board added a disclosure framework project to its agenda in 2009. According to FASB Chairman Leslie F. Seidman, "Many stakeholders have expressed concerns about the relevance and sheer volume of information in the notes to the financial statements, and that some information is either missing or difficult to find." As a first step in soliciting feedback from a broad audience, the FASB issued a Discussion Paper (DP), Invitation to Comment - Disclosure Framework, in July.
In order to achieve the objective of the Project a framework that results in consistent decisions about disclosure requirements must be developed. For most entities, that information centers on the ability to assess the organization's prospects for future cash flows. While that may be important to some users of not-for-profit entities' (NFPs) financial statements, there are other aspects such as long-term sustainability that are equally, if not more, important. The FASB recognizes this and has requested input from NFPs on this topic.
The approach outlined in the DP is in the form of a series of questions that address the relevance of information needed to assets the entity's prospects for future cash flows. Under this approach, disclosure would be limited to information that:
- is unique to an entity or its industry;
- is not already apparent from the basic financial statements;
- is not readily available from public sources; or
- could make a material difference in the assessment of future cash flows.
The DP can be downloaded from the FASB website. The deadline for comments is November 16, 2012. NACUBO encourages independent institutions to submit comments directly to FASB or send comments to NACUBO for inclusion in our industry comment letter.
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