The FASB Fellowship Programs

THE FASB PRACTICE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

The FASB Practice Fellow Program is an opportunity for manager-level public accountants to actively participate in the financial accounting standards-setting process. Practice Fellow candidates who are nominated by their firms are expected to be considered for partnership within two or three years from the beginning of their terms. Candidates have a minimum of nine years experience. The Practice Fellows commit to a two year program at the FASB with the understanding that they will return to their firms at the end of that period.

The Practice Fellow’s role is to act as a project manager focusing on implementation and emerging practice problems. This means making recommendations to the Board on technical issues; developing and drafting Statements, Interpretations, FASB Staff Positions (FSPs), and Questions and Answer Implementation Guides; preparing Issues Summaries and minutes; and leading discussions at meetings of the Emerging Issues Task Force. Practice Fellows research problems; analyze comments from business, academic, and practicing members of the FASB constituency; and lead Board discussions on current accounting issues. Practice Fellows typically concentrate on projects that require quick attention and timely response by the Board.

These projects are normally smaller in scope and shorter in duration than the Board’s major projects, which may last for more than two years. During a two-year term at the FASB, a Practice Fellow will typically manage a variety of projects and act as a consultant on others and will answer numerous questions about the application of accounting standards posed by preparers, auditors, and regulators.

THE FASB ASSOCIATE PRACTICE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

The FASB Associate Practice Fellow Program is an opportunity for manager-level public accountants to actively participate in the financial accounting standards-setting process. Associate Practice Fellow candidates who are nominated by their firms are expected to have four to seven years of experience. The Associate Practice Fellows commit to an 18-24 month term at the FASB with the understanding that they will return to their firms at the end of that period.

In light of the FASB and IASB’s 2008 revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the increased focus on joint projects between the FASB and the IASB, the Associate Practice Fellow’s role is to act as an assistant project manager focusing on one of the joint projects. This means working with project managers and practice fellows through the Board’s decision process. Associate Practice Fellows research problems; analyze comments from business, academic, and practicing members of the FASB constituency; and will be called upon to formulate solutions and to significantly contribute to the standards-setting process.

THE FASB INDUSTRY FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

The FASB Industry Fellow Program is an opportunity for industry accounting professionals to actively participate in the financial accounting standards-setting process. With this program, the FASB seeks to bring the experience and knowledge of industry accounting executives to the development of financial accounting standards. The objectives of the program are to incorporate directly into the process of setting financial accounting standards:

  1. The industry viewpoint and perspective from recent experience in the application of financial accounting standards.
  2. A sharpened focus on the perceptions of those involved in the preparation of financial reports.

The president or chief financial officer of a company that wants to take part in the Industry Fellow Program can nominate an outstanding, mid-career employee who has maximum potential for advancement. Candidates selected as Industry Fellows spend two years at the FASB, after which they return to the sponsoring company. The objective of the Program is to provide an experience that is highly beneficial to the sponsoring firm, the industry executive, and the FASB.

The Industry Fellow’s role is to act as a project manager focusing on implementation and emerging practice problems. This means making recommendations to the Board on technical issues; developing and drafting Statements, Interpretations, FASB Staff Positions (FSPs), and Questions and Answer Implementation Guides; preparing Issues Summaries and minutes; and leading discussions at meetings of the Emerging Issues Task Force. Industry Fellows research problems; analyze comments from business, academic, and practicing members of the FASB constituency; and lead Board discussions on current accounting issues. Industry Fellows typically concentrate on projects that require quick attention and timely response by the Board.

Industry Fellows also serve as consultants to bring an industry perspective to projects managed by other staff members, including major technical agenda projects like derivatives and hedging and business combinations. Fellows that serve on such projects will often lead the staff effort for an issue or a group of related issues.

Leading the staff effort on a project involves articulating the issues, identifying alternative possible approaches and formulating staff recommendations, gathering and organizing relevant background information, presenting issues and recommendations to the FASB at public meetings, drafting due process documents and the ultimate standards, and extensive communication activities with high level representatives of constituent organizations. Industry Fellows often have the opportunity to speak on technical subjects at conferences sponsored by groups like the FEI and the NAA.

BENEFITS OF THE FASB FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS

The most obvious benefit is that Fellows broaden their knowledge of accounting and financial reporting. But more important, perhaps, is the opportunity to enhance their communications and problem-solving skills and to stimulate their creativity. In working through the Board’s decision process, they are called upon to formulate solutions and present them in a concise and convincing manner. The recommendations they develop and present to the Board will be challenged by Board members who have diverse views and by a constituency with divided opinions. Fellows have found that this experience contributes greatly to their individual professional development and strengthens the self-confidence needed to handle difficult client situations.

Fellows work directly with the FASB constituency and particularly with the Emerging Issues Task Force. This means frequent contact with recognized professionals in public accounting, academe, industry, and government—as well as organizations such as the AICPA’s Accounting Standards Executive Committee, the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council, various industry groups, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other federal government regulatory agencies. Such contacts provide Fellows with valuable experience on which to draw when confronted with tough problems both at the FASB and later in their careers.

Fellows also have ample opportunity to further develop their oral and written communications skills through formal and informal discussions with Board, staff and various groups, speaking engagements, and published articles. The XBRL Fellow will lead educational sessions for the Board and/or staff members, prepare related awareness and educational materials for use by FASB Board and potentially develop business case materials for application of XBRL to specific FASB products, processes and other topics as identified and agreed. Practice and Industry Fellows lead educational sessions for the Board and staff, negotiate project issues, and learn to successfully communicate the reasons for the staff’s recommended solutions. External communication by Fellows is important to the FASB because it introduces new standards; it is also beneficial to the Fellows by providing added visibility as a professional.

For further information, please contact:

Ginny Cintron
Personnel Manager
Financial Accounting Foundation
401 Merritt 7
P.O. Box 5116
Norwalk, CT 06856-5116
vicintron@f-a-f.org