From the Chairman's Desk:
By Russell G. Golden, FASB Chairman
Training Those in Need
There are more than 1.3 million accountants in the U.S. While not all of them need to know our standards, many accountants who prepare, audit, review, or use financial statements do. Meanwhile, there are only about 80 employees at the FASB. How can so few reach out to so many?
Well, those who work for large accounting firms or public companies likely already have the training and material in place to get up to speed. Their employers make sure of that.
The forums give CPE providers a unique opportunity to discuss accounting standards with Board members and FASB staff.
But what about the rest? How do we reach countless thousands of accountants at smaller private and public companies or not-for-profits? Many of them don’t have the in-house resources or means to hire firms. To learn about our standards, they often rely on continuing professional education (CPE) providers.
To train these providers, we periodically host webinars (we call these online technical forums). We tailor the forums to stand-alone providers and individuals who provide CPE within their organization or to their organization’s clients. We train the providers, and then the providers handle the rest.
The forums give CPE providers a unique opportunity to discuss accounting standards with Board members and FASB staff. Our goal is to help them:
- Prepare for and teach accounting courses, and
- Develop manuals and other publications that become widely used.
Accounting professors don’t typically teach practicing accountants about our standards, but they do teach the next generation.
One recent forum covered half a dozen major new or impending standards. It gave us an opportunity to make clear “what we meant” and reduce uncertainty around how to apply the new requirements. It also provided a venue to ask us questions. It was well attended, and the next forums are slated for March and September 2019.
This year we added a webcast on the FASB’s standard-setting activities specifically designed for university and college accounting educators. This was followed by another first—a joint webcast with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) tailored for academics interested in not-for-profit and governmental accounting.
Accounting professors don’t typically teach practicing accountants about our standards, but they do teach the next generation. We view the webinar for accounting educators as a way to invest in the future—to make sure rising new accountants have solid understandings of FASB’s standards and how to apply them.
The easier it is for an accountant to understand our standards, the easier it is for their organization to report financial information.
Training those in need is an ongoing and important job that truly has a cascading effect. The easier it is for an accountant to understand our standards, the easier it is for their organization to report financial information. The result: Investors and donors can make better decisions about where to put their money with confidence.
For those of you who have already helped us train and educate our stakeholders, we thank you. And for those of you who want to learn more about current projects, recently issued standards, or those that are becoming effective soon—please don’t hesitate to reach out.