Every year, Baruch College’s Annual Financial Reporting Conference brings together leading representatives of the regulatory, standards setting, and user communities. The 15th conference, held on May 5, 2016, once again provided a forum for the discussion of current topics in financial reporting, accounting and auditing practice, and regulation.
A common theme echoing through the day’s conversations was the importance of listening to feedback from users, preparers, and professionals. As several major projects—such as revenue recognition and leases—go into effect, standards setters’ focus has turned to implementation, and they have solicited input from accountants and auditors about the issues they are encountering and the clarification that they need. Standards setters are also listening to the profession’s concern about the volume of changes taking effect over the coming years and are tailoring the items on their agenda to be more narrowly focused.
The increasing use of non-GAAP measures in public company financial reporting was a particular concern of the SEC representatives, who expressed their concern that investors could be confused by adjustments and company-specific metrics. The speakers from FASB indicated that the proliferation of such measures suggests a user need for similar information to be presented in the financial statements.
The following section contains edited transcripts of the featured speakers’ presentations and summarizes the panel discussions and audience interaction throughout the day’s program. The featured speakers included PCAOB Member Jeanette Franzel, SEC Deputy Chief Accountant Wesley Bricker, and FASB Member Marc Siegel. Panelists included representatives from the SEC’s Divisions of Corporation Finance and Enforcement, FASB, KPMG, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Google, Microsoft, Moody’s, and Fannie Mae. In all cases, the speakers’ comments represent their own views and are not necessarily those of their respective organizations.