This issue features our annual coverage of Baruch College’s Financial Reporting Conference. We have published the highlights of the conference for several years now to give readers some insights into the minds of leading representatives of the regulatory, standards setting, and user communities. The professional agenda is driven not only by what these leaders think is important, but also by what their constituents—our readers—think needs to be addressed.
Participants at this year’s conference seemed more interested than ever before in hearing from financial statement preparers, auditors, and users. As several major projects—such as revenue recognition and leases—go into effect, standards setters’ focus has turned to the issues professionals have encountered during implementation. Standards setters are also listening to concern about the volume of recent changes and are tailoring their agenda to be more narrowly focused. Users’ desire for relevant information was discussed as the cause of the increasing use of non-GAAP measures in public company financial reporting. Regulators expressed their concern that investors not be misled, and standards setters speculated on how such information might be constructively and appropriately incorporated into the financial statements.
Other perspectives on important issues in accounting and auditing are presented elsewhere in this issue. Jefferson Jones provides a detailed review of FASB’s ongoing attempts to remove unnecessary complexity from the accounting standards. Sung Gon Chung, Cheol Lee, and Santanu Mitra analyze whether the expanded use of fair value accounting has resulted in more relevant reporting and improved investor confidence. And in a discussion of the materiality concept, Julian Jacoby and Howard Levy argue that auditing standards contain a major flaw in lacking a requirement to quantify sampling precision.