The Emerging Issues Task Force (EITF) was formed in 1984 in response to the recommendations of the FASB's task force on timely financial reporting guidance and an FASB Invitation to Comment on those recommendations. The mission of the EITF is to assist the FASB in improving financial reporting through the timely identification, discussion, and resolution of financial accounting issues within the framework of the FASB Accounting Standards CodificationTM (Accounting Standards Codification), which represents the source of authoritative standards of accounting and reporting, other than those issued by the SEC, to be applied by nongovernmental entities.

The EITF was designed to promulgate implementation guidance within the framework of the Accounting Standards Codification to reduce diversity in practice on a timely basis. The EITF was designed to minimize the need for the FASB to spend time and effort addressing narrow implementation, application, or other emerging issues that can be analyzed within existing GAAP.

Task Force members are drawn from a cross section of the FASB’s constituencies, including auditors, preparers, and users of financial statements. The chief accountant or the deputy chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission attends Task Force meetings regularly as an observer with the privilege of the floor. Similar privilege is granted to the chairman (or a designate) of the Financial Reporting Executive Committee (FinRec) of the AICPA, and to a designate of the Private Company Council. Hillary H. Salo, FASB Technical Director, is chairman of the Task Force. FASB Board members also attend EITF meetings and participate in the discussion.

Make-up of the Task Force is designed to include persons in a position to be aware of emerging issues before they become widespread and before divergent practices become entrenched. Therefore, if the group can reach a consensus on an issue, usually that is taken by the FASB as an indication that no Board action is needed. If the Task Force is unable to reach a consensus, it may be an indication that action by the FASB is necessary. A consensus on an EITF issue is reached if no more than three of the voting members present at the meeting object to a proposed position on an issue and only after that position has been exposed for public comment as a consensus-for-exposure that was ratified by the Board. Although FASB Board members do not vote on consensuses at Task Force meetings, all consensuses must be approved by a majority of the FASB.

Meetings of the Task Force are open to the public and generally are well attended. Effective June 2004, all meeting materials and meeting minutes are posted to the FASB website and may be downloaded at no charge. Final guidance derived from EITF consensus positions is included in the FASB Accounting Standards CodificationTM.