Efforts to Modernize Technology Systems to be Completed Next Year
The Financial Accounting Foundation’s (FAF) project to replace the obsolete technology used to produce and distribute FASB and GASB accounting rules will be completed in the second quarter of 2022, instead of this year as previously announced, according to its August 24 discussions. The FAF, under its Content, Vision, and Enablement (CV&E) initiative, aims to bring the accounting rulemaking boards’ technological systems into the 21st century, thereby saving costs in the long run. “In the near term the project will deliver tremendous business value through better internal processes and technology backbone that can continue to adapt as our needs and the available technology changes,” FAF Executive Director John Auchincloss said during the meeting. The CV&E initiative will restructure the FASB and the GASB websites, restructure content, and upgrade their fulfilment and distribution system. It involves three components: operationalizing the board’s content strategy; implementing a new publishing platform; and redesigning the business processes underpinning its content creation, production, and distribution. The FAF, the trustee body with oversight responsibility of the accounting rulemaking boards, is on track with the last component of the project.
New Outreach Method Tries to Reach Financial Statement Users
GASB launched a new outreach approach to generate more input from financial statement users about changes it has proposed on accounting rules for correcting errors, board Chair Joel Black said at a recent board trustee meeting. The accounting profession can now submit responses electronically to board questions via an online portal for GASB Exposure Draft (ED) 32-1, Accounting Changes and Error Corrections, as opposed to the traditional comment letter submission process, which some find daunting, he said at the Financial Accounting Foundation’s (FAF) August 24 meeting. In tandem with the online portal, the board published three short videos about ED 32-1, detailing various aspects of the changes with a goal of encouraging more engagement from users. The videos explain the categories of the proposed changes and how they are described, how the changes would be displayed in financial statements, and what disclosures would be required. “After they watch the videos, they are directed to the electronic input form so they can find it easier to participate in the process,” Black explained.
State and Local Governments Not Signaling Need for Accounting Guidance on ARPA
State and local governments have not specified broad concerns about how to report the billions of dollars of federal funding they received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, according to recent remarks by GASB Chair Joel Black. GASB therefore does not plan on issuing a technical bulletin about reporting ARPA funds, as it has for prior stimulus funds, but is open to doing so if necessary, Black said on August 24 at the Financial Accounting Foundation’s (FAF) quarterly trustee meeting. “So far we have determined we don’t need any official guidance similar to the technical bulletin we issued to the CARES Act a year ago,” he said. “Most of the technical inquiries we’re getting on ARPA funds are specific to a unique government or maybe governments within a specific state, but answers wouldn’t necessarily apply across multiple governments.” GASB is “asking people to provide us with input if they need help from an accounting perspective related to the ARPA funds that many governments have now received,” said Black. “We certainly want to be available and to issue such guidance.” ARPA is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill that was signed into law by President Biden mid-March in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It provides a total of $350 billion in assistance to states, counties, municipalities, territories, and tribal governments, to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.