From the Chairman's Desk
By Russell G. Golden, FASB Chairman

2014 promises to be a busy year for the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Working with the International Accounting Standards Board, we expect to issue new standards on revenue recognition and financial instruments—both classification and measurement and impairment. We also expect to make major progress on the leasing project, and we will continue our work on insurance.

We’ll begin work on developing a new agenda that will focus on “big picture” projects and other projects that will seek to reduce complexity and promote transparency.
As these joint projects with the IASB wind down, we’ll begin work on developing a new agenda that will focus on “big picture” projects—the disclosure framework is one example—as well as other projects that will seek to reduce complexity and promote transparency through improvements in recognition, measurement, disclosure, and interpretation. (You’ll see this work discussed more fully in the “On the Agenda” article elsewhere in the newsletter.)

As we introduce new standards, we’ll also make an extra effort to communicate to you how you can most efficiently implement them through a new program of education and guidance.

More broadly, we’ll focus on building a new model of international cooperation in what I’ll call the “post-convergence era,” working with the IASB and other national standard setters to promote the development of accounting standards that are more closely converged. The goal would be to continue our effort to develop more converged standards, while also addressing the specific needs of individual capital markets.

As we improve U.S. GAAP, I believe the FASB also can promote and enhance the quality, comparability, and consistency of international financial reporting.
The FASB’s first priority is to improve financial reporting for the benefit of investors and other users of financial information in U.S. capital markets—and in other markets around the work where U.S. GAAP is used. But as we improve U.S. GAAP, I believe the FASB also can promote and enhance the quality, comparability, and consistency of international financial reporting.

We think we can achieve this goal:
  1. Through the continued development of GAAP
  2. By actively participating in the development of IFRS
  3. By enhancing our relationship and communications with other standard setters.
(For a more detailed discussion of these ideas, please click here to view a speech I delivered at an AICPA conference last month in Washington, DC.)

As we consider updating our agenda, we’ll also be guided by a survey completed last year by more than 100 members of FASB advisory groups and other stakeholders. The group included representatives of preparers, investors and other financial statement users, auditors, academics, and industry organizations.

Interestingly enough, the top projects those respondents thought should be included on the FASB’s agenda for the next three to five years were: In the coming weeks, I expect that the Board will begin the process of adding new projects to our agenda—and taking some projects off. As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments. To share your views, email fasboutlook@fasb.org.