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FASB US GAAP Financial Accounting Standards Board

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FASB US GAAP Financial Accounting Standards Board

FASB Financial Accounting Standards Board

Organization Profile


Since 1973, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has been the designated organization in the private sector for establishing standards of financial accounting and reporting (US GAAP). Those standards govern the preparation of financial reports. They are officially recognized as authoritative by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (Financial Reporting Release No. 1, Section 101) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) (Rule 203, Rules of Professional Conduct, as amended May 1973 and May 1979). Such standards are essential to the efficient functioning of the economy because investors, creditors, auditors and others rely on credible, transparent and comparable financial information.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has statutory authority to establish financial accounting and reporting standards for publicly held companies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Throughout its history, however, the Commission’s policy has been to rely on the private sector for this function to the extent that the private sector demonstrates ability to fulfill the responsibility in the public interest.

The Mission of the Financial Accounting Standards Board
The FASB Mission is to establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting for the guidance and education of the public, including issuers, auditors and users of financial information.

Accounting standards are essential to the efficient functioning of the economy because decisions about the allocation of resources rely heavily on credible, concise, transparent and understandable financial information. Financial information about the operations and financial position of individual entities also is used by the public in making various other kinds of decisions.

The FASB develops broad accounting concepts as well as standards for financial reporting. It also provides guidance on implementation of standards. Concepts are useful in guiding the Board in establishing standards and in providing a frame of reference, or conceptual framework, for resolving accounting issues. The framework will help to establish reasonable bounds for judgment in preparing financial information and to increase understanding of, and confidence in, financial information on the part of users of financial reports. It also will help the public to understand the nature and limitations of information supplied by financial reporting.

The Board’s work on both concepts and standards is based on research aimed at gaining new insights and ideas. Research is conducted by the FASB staff and others, including foreign national and international accounting standard-setting bodies. The Board’s activities are open to public participation and observation under the "due process" mandated by formal Rules of Procedure. The FASB actively solicits the views of its various constituencies on accounting issues.

Main Address

Financial Accounting Standards Board
401 Merritt 7
P.O. Box 5116
Norwalk, Connecticut 06856-5116

Telephone: +1 (203) 847-0700
Fax: +1 (203) 849-9714

Activities Services


To accomplish its mission, the FASB acts to:

- Improve the usefulness of financial reporting by focusing on the primary characteristics of relevance and reliability and on the qualities of comparability and consistency;
- Keep standards current to reflect changes in methods of doing business and changes in the economic environment;
- Consider promptly any significant areas of deficiency in financial reporting that might be improved through the standard-setting process;
- Promote the international convergence of accounting standards concurrent with improving the quality of financial reporting; and
- Improve the common understanding of the nature and purposes of information contained in financial reports.

The Board follows certain precepts in the conduct of its activities:

¨ To be objective in its decision making and to ensure, insofar as possible, the neutrality of information resulting from its standards. To be neutral, information must report economic activity as faithfully as possible without coloring the image it communicates for the purpose of influencing behavior in any particular direction.

¨ To weigh carefully the views of its constituents in developing concepts and standards. However, the ultimate determinant of concepts and standards must be the Board’s judgment, based on research, public input and careful deliberation about the usefulness of the resulting information.

¨ To promulgate standards only when the expected benefits exceed the perceived costs. While reliable, quantitative cost-benefit calculations are seldom possible, the Board strives to determine that a proposed standard will meet a significant need and that the costs it imposes, compared with possible alternatives, are justified in relation to the overall benefits.

¨ To bring about needed changes in ways that minimize disruption to the continuity of reporting practice. Reasonable effective dates and transition provisions are established when new standards are introduced. The Board considers it desirable that change be evolutionary to the extent that it can be accommodated by the need for relevance, reliability, comparability and consistency.

¨ To review the effects of past decisions and interpret, amend or replace standards in a timely fashion when such action is indicated.

The FASB is committed to following an open, orderly process for standard setting that precludes placing any particular interest above the interests of the many who rely on financial information. The Board believes that this broad public interest is best served by developing neutral standards that result in accounting for similar transactions and circumstances in a like manner and different transactions and circumstances should be accounted for in a different manner.

An Independent Structure
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
The FASB is part of a structure that is independent of all other business and professional organizations. Before the present structure was created, financial accounting and reporting standards were established first by the Committee on Accounting Procedure of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (1936–1959) and then by the Accounting Principles Board, also a part of the AICPA (1959–73). Pronouncements of those predecessor bodies remain in force unless amended or superseded by the FASB.

Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC)
FASAC has responsibility for consulting with the FASB as to technical issues on the Board’s agenda, project priorities, matters likely to require the attention of the FASB, selection and organization of task forces and such other matters as may be requested by the FASB or its Chairman. At present, the Council has more than 30 members who are broadly representative of preparers, auditors and users of financial information.

Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF)
The FAF, which was incorporated to operate exclusively for charitable, educational, scientific and literary purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is responsible for selecting the members of the FASB and its advisory council, ensuring adequate funding of their activities and for exercising general oversight with the exception of the FASB’s resolution of technical issues.

In 1984, the Foundation established a Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) to set standards of financial accounting and reporting for state and local governmental units. As with the FASB, the Foundation is responsible for selecting its members, ensuring adequate funding and exercising general oversight. The Foundation also receives funds and approves the FASB budget.

The Foundation is separate from all other organizations. However, its Board of Trustees is made up of members from constituent organizations having interest in financial reporting. Nominees from constituent organizations are approved by the Trustees. There also are Trustees-at-large who are not nominated by those organizations, but are chosen by the sitting Trustees. The constituent organizations are:

* American Accounting Association
* American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
* Association for Investment Management and Research
* Financial Executives International
* Government Finance Officers Association
* Institute of Management Accountants
* National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers
* Securities Industry Association


Convergence of IAS and US GAAP:


On October 29th, 2002 the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) have issued a memorandum of understanding marking a significant step toward formalizing their commitment to the convergence of U.S. and international accounting standards. The agreement between the FASB and IASB represents their latest commitment, following their September joint meeting, to adopt compatible, high-quality solutions to existing and future accounting issues.


Compare also:  OECD  |  Sarbanes-Oxley  |  World Trade Organization  |  Global Corporate Governance Forum

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