Clarifying Accounting for Intangible Assets May Take Years

The accounting for intangible assets has been a contentious accounting issue for most of FASB’s history, and the board would like to clear it up. But FASB is beginning to face the reality that the issue’s complexity all but guarantees that it will not be dealt with quickly. “While I agree that, for us accountants, it would be really nice to evaluate where there are differences, to come up with some type of more consistent approach across the various areas, I’m reluctant to do that without further research to figure out what is exactly the problem we’re trying to solve,” FASB member Lawrence Smith said. “Because are users of financial statements really comparing film companies to title plant companies to software companies? If they’re not, are we just creating a nice, internal consistency where we all feel a lot better, but at the end of the day we introduce a lot of costs into the system?”


Chinese Ministry of Finance Accounting Director to Join Board

The IFRS Foundation, the IASB’s parent organization, announced on May 11 that Jianqiao Lu, the director of the Accounting Regulatory Department in the Chinese Ministry of Finance, and that country’s chief accounting standards setter, will join the IASB in August. Lu was credited by the IASB for leading the effort to align Chinese accounting standards with IFRS. He once led China’s governmental accounting standards reform working group and also led projects to develop accounting standards for nongovernmental not-for-profit organizations. Lu also helped form the Asian-Oceanian Standard-Setters Group (AOSSG), which is one of the regional bodies that consults with the IASB on its standards-setting activities, and he has been a member of other IASB advisory panels, including the Accounting Standards Advisory Forum and the Emerging Economies Group. “Dr. Lu’s long-term deep expertise in accounting standard-setting makes him an excellent addition to the board,” said IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst in a statement.


Auditing Standards Board Discusses Alignment with PCAOB

The AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board (ASB) is meeting to discuss how it might reduce the differences between its auditing standards and those issued by the PCAOB at its next meeting. The agenda for the May 15–18 meetings in Chicago highlights the standards for communications with audit committees, audits of supplemental information, and related party transactions. During the four-day meeting, the ASB is also addressing other items, including an auditor’s involvement with exempt offering documents and an expansion of audit reports as a result of changes made by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB). The agenda also includes a discussion about attestation engagements that do not involve an assertion or conclusion in which an accountant performs a limited set of specified procedures or reviews.

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