Trustees Working on Protocols to Reopen to Visitors

The nation’s two main accounting rulemaking boards have not yet fully opened their offices to outside visitors, but trustees at the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) are working on appropriate protocols to enable that, Executive Director John Auchincloss said. The FAF, which holds oversight responsibility for FASB and GASB, closed its offices in early 2020 to both staff and visitors in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. In October, staff returned to the office with a new flexible hybrid schedule that enables them to work from home and in the office at least three days a week, Auchincloss explained at the February 15 quarterly trustee meeting. When visitors are allowed back at the boards’ offices, it will likely be at a new location, as the boards are moving their headquarters this fall to 801 Main Street, a little more than a mile from their current headquarters at Merritt 7 Corporate Park in Norwalk, Connecticut, Auchincloss said.


Conditions for Rate Regulation Accounting Rules Clarified

On February 22, the IASB said that its new rate regulation accounting rules would stipulate that a regulator must exist within the conditions that are necessary for a regulatory asset or liability to exist. The regulatory assets or liabilities need to be enforceable, according to the board’s discussions. A regulator would be defined as “a body that is empowered by law or regulation to determine the regulated rate or a range of regulated rates.” The board also voted to include guidance to clarify that self-regulation is scoped out. “There have to be two regulatory conditions—need to be enforceable rights and obligations and there needs to be a regulator,” IASB Chair Andreas Barckow said, summarizing 11 board member views. IASB member Mary Tokar dissented on requiring a regulator to exist on grounds that it could send a message that “as long as you have a regulator you don’t have to assess enforceability.” The discussions are the start of redeliberations on IASB Exposure Document (ED) 2021-1, “Regulatory Assets and Regulatory Liabilities,” which was issued in January 2021. The board received 128 comments to the proposal by the July 2021 deadline.

Academic Research Sought on Revenue, Leases, Credit Loss Rules

A joint conference will be held by the IASB and FASB in tandem with The Accounting Review in New York on November 2–4, 2022, the IASB announced on February 16. The conference, “Accounting for an Ever-Changing World,” will discuss academic research on revenue, leases, and credit loss accounting rules in order to “foster a dialogue between the academic community and standard-setters by encouraging research that supports the IASB and the FASB in their post-implementation reviews of recent major standards.” Specifically, academic research will be discussed on ASC Topic 606 and IFRS 15, Revenue from Contracts with Customers; ASC Topic 842 and IFRS 16, Leases; and ASC Topic 326, Financial Instruments–Credit Losses, and IFRS 9, Financial Instruments. “Academics, standard-setters, and practitioners will be attending the conference which will include a plenary session, academic papers with discussions, and panel sessions,” IASB member Ann Tarca said in a video announcement. Research papers will be accepted until May 15.