FASB Chairman Pushes for Consistency in corporate disclosures

October 30, 2013, 4:18 PM ET

FASB Chairman Pushes for Consistency

By Emily Chasan

Senior Editor

The top U.S. accounting rule maker signaled this week he wants to focus on improving consistency in corporate disclosures, as the U.S. standard setter starts to move in a new direction. The Financial Accounting Standards Board is wrapping up a decade-long effort to bridge U.S. and international standards. Now Russell Golden, the new FASB chairman, intends to make it easier for investors to compare companies in different sectors with specific financial reporting needs. The board’s objective is to ensure investors have the information they need to make decisions about how to allocate capital among companies.“That aspect of our mission implies consistency and argues against too much change,” Mr. Golden said in commentsto a meeting of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy in Hawaii.

In the U.S., the board is currently working on a framework to improve, coordinate and possibly reduce the volume of corporate disclosures. Last month, a FASB advisory group concluded this was the board’s most pressing need. U.S. rules must evolve to remain relevant as the economy changes, he said.

Throughout history this balance between the consistency and relevance of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) has ebbed and flowed, Mr. Golden said. More standardized accounting rules helped develop railroads, steel manufacturing and automobile companies, while a failure of comparable information led to the Great Depression.

In today’s Internet economy, with more access to financial information than ever before, Mr. Golden said comparable and relevant financial data is crucial to keeping the cost of capital low for companies around the world.  Mr. Golden said the board will still be active in the development of International Financial Reporting Standards.

“Even as we strive to minimize differences,” he said, “we believe that we must first serve the users of GAAP financial statements, while making sure that GAAP illuminates any differences whenever and wherever they may occur.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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