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Issuers Play Game of ‘Follow the Leader’ on New Accounting Standards

Issuers Play Game of ‘Follow the Leader’ on New Accounting Standards

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has been hard at work releasing four major updates to U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) since 2014, some of which recently went into effect, while others will be implemented in the next few years. These changes — combined with tax reform and certain deregulatory activities under the current presidential administration — have created a challenging compliance environment for CFOs and controllers. It is precisely this murky landscape that we addressed yesterday during our expert panel presentation, in front of a packed house, during the Workiva User Conference. And if the conversation proved one thing it is that we must all work together, and develop best practices, to help navigate this burdensome transition to new accounting and disclosure standards.

Yesterday’s conference panel sponsored by Intelligize, which will be presented again today (Thursday September 20) at 1pm CT, was entitled “Adventures in Accounting-Land: The Impact of New Standards on Your SEC Disclosures.” We featured several industry experts, including Chris Rogers of Deloitte, Grant Thornton’s Cullen Walsh, Anna Pinedo of Mayer Brown and Bill Andreoni of the Pine Hill Group. The conversation centered on strategies and tactics for drafting financial disclosures in the wake of various accounting rule changes including: Revenue Recognition (Topic 606); Lease Accounting (Topic 842); and Credit Losses (Topic 326).

Whether discussing recent SEC comment letters focused on revenue recognition, or addressing the deceptively broad scope of the new lease accounting standard, our experts agreed on one thing: the key to compliance is benchmarking best practices. As multiple panelists emphasized, it is imperative to review how your peer organizations are handling the transition in accounting standards and how they are articulating each move to the SEC.

Early adopters are beginning to establish best practices and test the SEC’s receptivity, which in turn gives us vital information to benchmark against. Although peer pressure often carries a negative connotation, when it comes to financial disclosures, it’s often a good idea to model after your peers. And, when you do stray from the pack, it’s critically important that you back up each decision with sound reasoning and persuasive evidence.

Intelligize understands the need for organizations to monitor their peers’ filings and disclosures, particularly during a period of such significant transition in accounting standards. This is precisely why we recently launched our latest offering, Accounting Standards & Guidance, which is the only solution of its kind that pulls together and automatically links an array of SEC disclosure documents, including SEC Filings, Comment Letters and Firm Memos, with FASB Codifications, Updates and Proposals.

If you want to know how your peers are addressing recent accounting rule changes in their SEC filings, Accounting Standards & Guidance has you covered. Sign up for a free trial today.

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