The 17th Annual Financial Reporting Conference, hosted by Baruch College this past May 3, once again brought together regulators, standards setters, preparers, auditors, and users to discuss current topics in accounting, auditing, and reporting.
The theme this year was transition, as several large projects reflecting fundamental accounting and auditing issues—FASB’s revenue recognition and leasing standards, the PCAOB’s new auditor’s report—move into the implementation stage. As these new standards become a given, regulators are shifting their focus to how they operate in the real world, and standards setters are looking toward future projects on their agenda.
The speakers at the conference each underlined the importance of reporting standards and the work of auditors and accountants. SEC Chief Accountant Wesley Bricker spoke about the critical role financial reporting plays in the modern global economy and the equally critical role accountants and auditors play in securing the reliability of such reporting. FASB Chair Russell Golden stressed that board’s dedication to developing standards that enhance the usefulness of financial reports, emphasizing its outreach to stakeholders and its principles-based methodology for developing the recently implemented standards. And in his keynote address, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Director Alan Beller championed the cause of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting, detailing how his board tried to create sustainability standards that will be relevant for investors. Panels throughout the course of the conference covered the current activities of the SEC, FASB, and PCAOB, including the latter’s complete turnover in membership in late 2017. Perspectives from the private sector were provided by representatives from Moody’s, Google, Financial Executives International (FEI), KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The following articles present the featured speakers, as well as summaries of the panel discussions held throughout the day. The comments and opinions expressed at the conference and reproduced here represent the speakers’ own views and not necessarily those of their employers or affiliated organizations.