TIC Asks FASB to Address Definition Confusion; Committee Also Seeks More Credit Loss Guidance

August 17, 2017

The Technical Issues Committee (TIC) of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) met in July in Norwalk, Conn. with standard setters at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the Private Company Council (PCC) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).  Their discussions covered implementation issues related to existing standards and guidance that is being developed.  TIC’s comments were informed by the practice experience of AICPA members.

In the meeting with FASB members and staff, TIC noted that there are multiple definitions throughout the FASB codification of the terms “public business entities” (PBEs) and “public,” “non-public” and “private” entities, and emphasized the uncertainty and unnecessary complexity that can result.  In addition, TIC provided examples of when confusion arises about the definition of not-for-profits, which are not technically PBEs, but that are conduit debt obligors.

During dialogue with FASB and PCC, TIC offered recommendations about the need for additional implementation guidance for the standard Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments and discussed proposed updates to accounting standards related to stock compensation, simplifying the classification of debt in a classified balance sheet (current versus noncurrent) and changes to the disclosure requirements for inventory.  TIC also highlighted confusion about the definition of the term “readily determinable fair value” in practice, particularly for employee benefits plans and not-for-profits.  In addition, TIC supported simplified variable interest entities guidance for private companies.

During the meeting with GASB, TIC discussed the recently issued Exposure Draft Certain Disclosures Related to Debt, Including Direct Borrowings and Direct Placements – An Amendment of GASB Statements No. 34 and No. 38, an Invitation to Comment on Financial Reporting Model Improvements – Governmental Funds, the standard regarding Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) Implementation Issues, and projects on revenue and expense recognition and on capitalization of interest cost, as well as others.