News Release 10/31/18

FASB Improves Consolidation Accounting


Norwalk, CT, October 31, 2018—The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today issued an Accounting Standards Update (ASU) that reduces the cost and complexity of financial reporting associated with consolidation of variable interest entities (VIEs). A variable interest entity is an organization in which consolidation is not based on a majority of voting rights.
 
“Simplifying VIE guidance for private companies is based on recommendations from the Private Company Council (PCC) and addresses stakeholder concerns that it is difficult to apply current consolidation guidance for VIEs under common control,” said Russell G. Golden, FASB chairman. “It provides private companies the choice to not apply VIE guidance to their common control arrangements—thereby reducing costs without compromising the relevance of the financial reporting information to financial statement users.”
 

Private Company Accounting Alternative

The new guidance supersedes the private company alternative for common control leasing arrangements issued in 2014 and expands  it to all qualifying common control arrangements.
 
Under the new standard, a private company could make and accounting policy election to not apply VIE guidance to legal entities under common control (including common control leasing arrangements) when certain criteria are met. This accounting policy election must be applied by a private company to all current and future legal entities under common control that meet the criteria for applying the alternative. A private company will be required to continue to apply other consolidation guidance, specifically the voting interest entity guidance.  
 
Additionally, a private company electing the alternative is required to provide detailed disclosures about its involvement with, and exposure to, the legal entity under common control.
 

Decision-Making Fees

The standard also amends the guidance for determining whether a decision-making fee is a variable interest.  The amendments require organizations to consider indirect interests held through related parties under common control on a proportional basis rather than as the equivalent of a direct interest in its entirety (as currently required in GAAP). Therefore, these amendments likely will result in more decision makers not consolidating VIEs.
 
For organizations other than private companies, the amendments in this ASU are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, and interim periods within those fiscal years. The amendments in this ASU are effective for a private company for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020, and interim periods within fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2021. Early adoption is permitted.

More information about the ASU, including a FASB In Focus overview, can be found at www.fasb.org.


About the Financial Accounting Standards Board

Established in 1973, the FASB is the independent, private-sector, not-for-profit organization based in Norwalk, Connecticut, that establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for public and private companies and not-for-profit organizations that follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The FASB is recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission as the designated accounting standard setter for public companies. FASB standards are recognized as authoritative by many other organizations, including state Boards of Accountancy and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The FASB develops and issues financial accounting standards through a transparent and inclusive process intended to promote financial reporting that provides useful information to investors and others who use financial reports. The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) supports and oversees the FASB. For more information, visit www.fasb.org.