Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bean There, Done That

Prof. Dave Albrecht of Concordia College reports in his blog, The Summa, that today (November 10) is that most raucous of commemorations, Accounting Day. (Actually, I added the raucous part.)

Curious? See Albrecht's recent post on this subject, Accounting Day 2010, (in which he notes Nov. 10 has been recognized as Accounting Day because "On November 10, 1494, volume 2 of Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita (Everything About Arithmetic, Geometry and Proportion) was published... [authored by] Luca Pacioli [the book] included a description of the bookkeeping/accounting system of Venice. In honor of this contribution, Pacioli has carried for centuries the title of Father of Accounting." More curious? See wikipedia's writeup on Pacioli.

Alas, Albrecht also points out in his post Accountant's Day Honors Pacioli, citing New Mexico State Univ. accounting professor Ed Scribner, “Recent DNA evidence reveals that Pacioli is not actually the Father of Accounting …”.

FASB, IASB Activities
How did our modern-day Pacioli's at the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and the International Accounting Standards Board, celebrate this day? (This may be a good time to remind you of the disclaimer posted on the right side of this blog.) I can imagine the board members and staff raising a glass of bubbly (ginger ale, that is, or maybe Alka Seltzer) in honor of Accounting Day...

But seriously, what was on the standard-setters plate(s) today? Here's a synopsis of FASB's Summary of Board Decisions reached at their board meeting earlier today:

Disclosure of Certain Loss Contingencies (including Litigation): FASB staff summarized comment letters received on FASB's proposal, and identified issues for redeliberation.

Significantly, signalling a holistic look at this issue, FASB's summary adds: "The board directed the staff to work with the staffs of the SEC and PCAOB to understand their efforts in addressing investor concerns about the disclosure of certain loss contingency through increased focus on compliance with existing rules. The Board also directed the staff to review filings for the 2010 calendar year-end reporting cycle to determine if those efforts have resulted in improved disclosures about loss contingences." [On this note, see also our earlier post regarding the SEC's recent Dear CFO letter, which addresses contingency disclosures among other things.]

Disclosures About an Employer's Participation in a Multiemployer Plan: FASB agreed not to make this proposed standard effective this year. Redeliberations will continue.

Investment Properties: The Board instructed the staff to develop a scope proposal that would include entities whose primary activities are investing in real estate and who have some characteristics similar to investment companies, for example, the entity has unrelated investors, and the entity intends to provide investors with returns from both rental income and capital appreciation. Additionally, the Board agreed that lessors of properties that are outside the scope of the investment properties guidance would be affected by the FASB Exposure Draft, Leases (Topic 840), and should therefore focus their attention and comments to the Board on that proposed guidance.

Going Concern. (No, not that Going Concern, this Going Concern.) FASB was slated to discuss the status of this project and the "timing for issuance of a Proposed Accounting Standards Update on disclosures about risks and uncertainties and the liquidation basis of accounting." Check back to FASB's Summary of Board Decisions for an update on the results of this discussion.

Joint Board Meetings on Financial Instruments: FASB is also holding a series of joint board meetings with the IASB this week, via videoconference, focusing on the financial instruments project. Results of the joint board meetings are being posted here.

How Did You Spend Accounting Day?
Getting back to our theme of Accounting Day - and by the way, many of our readers are attorneys, is there a Lawyer's Day? - Prof. Albrecht describes in his blog some of his plans to celebrate this day. Ready to join the fun? (And its not even busy season!) You can still enter Prof. Albrecht's Annual Bean Counter's Contest (online of course) if you post your entry by 11:59 pm CT tonight (Nov. 10).

So, how did you spend Accounting Day?

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