No Wonder We Can’t Keep Up

I was reading a publication produced by our auditor, Ernst & Young on all of the standard setting activity for 2012 and I realized I have good reason to feel like I can’t keep up with everything going on.

The FASB only issued 3 final standards (now called ASUs for all of us who grew up with FAS’s for all those years).  Of course, maybe it’s really 4 because they issued separate ASUs for technical corrections to the ASC in general and technical corrections to the SEC portion of the ASC, but who am I to quibble with my auditor on such things. Either way, not too bad so far, but the FASB also issued or worked actively on 12 exposure documents.  Now were starting to get up in the numbers.  Of course 12 documents would not be so bad if they covered specific topics related to different industries so everyone is not impacted by all 12, but that is not the case here.  We’re talking about messing with revenue leases and impairment of customer receivable which means just about every business that exists will be impacted by many of these proposed standards.  Of course it doesn’t stop there, the FASB launched the PCC to look into private company accounting issues and started two other projects on disclosures and going concern.  The EITF was also busy reaching 3 consensus opinions and exposing documents on 4 other issues.

Not to be outdone, the SEC issued 3 final rules including rules on reporting on conflict minerals (if you think you are not impacted, you may need to think again as some reports expect that thousands of companies – public and private – will be impacted by the reporting requirements).  The SEC also issued 16 proposed rules and other releases in 2012 and that doesn’t include any of the work on IFRS, XBRL or work to be done under the JOBS act.  The PCAOB also started to get busy again and issued one final auditing standard as well as one audit practice alert document.  The PCAOB also released 9 other documents outlining proposed rules or asking for input on concept releases.  These include the now infamous release on mandatory auditor rotation as well as an equally important release on potentially significant changes to the auditor report.

Of course the ASB also issued a new standard as well as several other documents and the GASB issued 4 new standards, 2 exposure drafts and at least 3 other significant documents.  The AICPA also issues its proposed framework for private company reporting and COSO issued 2 exposure drafts to revise its Internal Control framework which is the de facto internal control standard for 85% of public companies that have to comply with Sox section 404.

And that’s just the U.S. accounting and auditing standards.  It doesn’t include all of the IRS changes, the new developments in the valuation world (didn’t you know the SEC expects all of you public company preparers to be valuation experts now), and international standards for accounting from the IASB and auditing from the IAASB.  I must admit I have to laugh when people tell me they can’t get enough CPE done to maintain their license.  You could spend 140 hours on CPE and not keep up let alone only the 40 required in most jurisdictions. I want to look at them and ask, then how do you plan to keep your job because you are expected to know about all of these changes and more!

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