Streamlined Pension Disclosure Rules Move Forward

Two years after releasing a proposal to improve the disclosure requirements for pensions and other postretirement benefits, FASB has begun to publicly debate the disclosure requirements that will remain and those that will be dropped. The discussion, which took place on February 14, was part of the board’s broader project to improve U.S. GAAP requirements for the information in the notes to financial statements. The board agreed to scrap several disclosure requirements that were singled out for deletion in the proposal, but FASB members did not agree to add all of the extra disclosures from the proposal.


Potential Consensus Emerges on Utilities Accounting

On February 22, the IASB took a significant step forward in its long-delayed effort to write a standard for rate-regulated industries such as utilities and transportation services. The board unanimously agreed that a utility or transportation company’s right to increase or lower its rates by an amount that is the result of past events meets the definition of an asset or liability, respectively. The tentative decision settled a debate that had for years stymied the international board’s efforts to create a standard for utility companies, public transit operators, and other business that cannot increase the prices they charge to customers without the approval of a regulatory body.


Webinar to Explain Updated Reporting Models for Revenues and Expenses

GASB plans to hold a webinar on March 14 covering its project to develop more comprehensive guidance for a broader range of transactions. The webinar, which will be conducted by GASB staffers Paulina Haro, Randy Finden, and Dean Mead, is scheduled to include an overview of the revenue and expense recognition project and a review of the two models presented in its invitation to comment, “Revenue and Expense Recognition.” One model is based on the existing definition for exchange transactions and called the exchange/nonexchange model, and the second is called the performance obligation/no performance obligation model. The board also wants to discuss the differences between the reporting models in the draft document and current accounting practices.