NEWS RELEASE 06/01/05
FASB Issues Accounting Standard That Improves the Reporting of Accounting Changes as Part of Convergence Effort with IASB
Norwalk, CT, June 1, 2005—The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued Statement No. 154, Accounting Changes and Error Corrections, a replacement of APB Opinion No. 20 and FASB Statement No. 3. The Statement applies to all voluntary changes in accounting principle, and changes the requirements for accounting for and reporting of a change in accounting principle.
Statement 154 requires retrospective application to prior periods’ financial statements of a voluntary change in accounting principle unless it is impracticable. Opinion 20 previously required that most voluntary changes in accounting principle be recognized by including in net income of the period of the change the cumulative effect of changing to the new accounting principle. Statement 154 improves financial reporting because its requirements enhance the consistency of financial information between periods.
Statement 154 is the result of a broader effort by the FASB to improve the comparability of cross-border financial reporting by working with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) toward development of a single set of high-quality accounting standards. Michael Crooch, FASB Board member and Board collaborator on the project, said, “This is one example where the Board concluded that the IASB requirements result in better financial reporting. We were able to make a meaningful improvement in U.S. GAAP while converging with the IASB.”
Statement 154 requires that a change in method of depreciation, amortization, or depletion for long-lived, nonfinancial assets be accounted for as a change in accounting estimate that is effected by a change in accounting principle. Opinion 20 previously required that such a change be reported as a change in accounting principle.
In keeping with the goal of simplifying U.S. GAAP, the Board decided to completely replace Opinion 20 and Statement 3 with one Statement rather than amending both. Therefore, Statement 154 carries forward many provisions of Opinion 20 without change, including the provisions related to the reporting of a change in accounting estimate, a change in the reporting entity, and the correction of an error. Statement 154 also carries forward the provisions of Statement 3 that govern reporting accounting changes in interim financial statements.
Statement 154 is effective for accounting changes and corrections of errors made in fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2005. Earlier application is permitted for accounting changes and corrections of errors made occurring in fiscal years beginning after June 1, 2005. The Statement does not change the transition provisions of any existing accounting pronouncements, including those that are in a transition phase as of the effective date of this Statement.
The Statement may be accessed from the FASB’s website at www.fasb.org.
About the Financial Accounting Standards Board
Since 1973, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has been the designated organization in the private sector for establishing standards of financial accounting and reporting. Those standards govern the preparation of financial reports and are officially recognized as authoritative by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. 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. For more information about the FASB, visit our website at www.fasb.org.