Academics: Help Us Improve Financial Reporting

Academics in Standard Setting

The FASB’s mission is to establish and improve financial accounting and reporting standards to provide useful information to investors and other users of financial reports. The FASB accomplishes this mission through a comprehensive and independent process that encourages broad participation. The FASB seeks to be objective in its decision making and actively undertakes research and solicits stakeholder input to inform its decisions.

Research undertaken directly by the FASB tends to focus on gathering specific input on proposals through due process activities. What is learned through these activities is invaluable to the standard-setting process.

By comparison, academic research examines how the accounting profession and financial reporting affect business and markets, and how business and markets affect the accounting profession and financial reporting at a more macro-level.

Academic research is incremental and complementary to that undertaken by the FASB. Frequently, academic research is used to help assess the significance and pervasiveness of a perceived problem in GAAP and to identify and assess potential feasible solutions. The FASB considers academic perspectives and uses academic research in a variety of ways, including:
  • Pre-agenda research
  • Comment letters
  • Stakeholder outreach activities
  • Post implementation review
  • Other means
The FASB also benefits from engaging with academics through high-quality teaching of FASB standards which leads to better trained future accountants and more consistent application of FASB standards.

Academics and other researchers benefit from engaging with the FASB in a number of ways:
  • Availability of Board materials on all FASB projects.
  • Access to high-quality implementation resources.
  • Opportunities to bring students to the FASB. If you would like more information about a student visit, please contact us at adminsupport@f-a-f.org.
  • Constructive feedback on research from the FASB and FASB staff. If you would like to submit an academic paper, please email academics@fasb.org.

How can Academics Participate or Submit a Paper?

A complete and continuously updated list of active FASB projects is available on the FASB website. In addition, the FASB publishes a quarterly e-newsletter, the FASB Outlook, which is designed to inform stakeholders about key FASB projects and activities. The FASB Outlook presents current accounting and financial reporting issues in a “plain-English,” user-friendly format.

You can provide comments on specific projects electronically to director@fasb.org. As part of its open standard-setting process, the FASB asks for public feedback on Invitation to Comment documents, Discussion Papers, Exposure Drafts, and other proposals issued at various stages of a project. Your comment letter submission will become part of the public record.

If you would like to submit an academic paper to the FASB or discuss any current FASB projects or proposed projects to be considered in standard-setting activities, please send an email to academics@fasb.org.

Other Avenues for Academic Participation

  • The Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC), the FASB’s primary advisory group formed in 1973, comprises investors, preparers, auditors, academics, and other users of financial reporting.  Learn about other FASB advisory groups and academic members here.
  • The Academic Resource Group (ARG), which was formed in 2014, comprises academics who meet periodically to provide input to the FASB on various issues
  • Partnerships with the American Accounting Association:
  • The Financial Reporting Issues Conference (FRIC), which is an invitation-only annual conference attended by academics. The materials from FRIC 2020 can be accessed here. The views expressed in these materials do not necessarily reflect the views of the FASB. Official positions of the FASB are arrived at only after extensive due process and deliberation.
  • FASB’s Academic Summer Program, which is an annual program for PhD candidates and young faculty. In order to ensure that your school receives an invitation to nominate a participant (usually sent out in February), email academics@fasb.org.
  • FASB’s Post-Doctoral Fellow Program
 
FASB members and staff discuss the role academics play in the standard-setting process—
and how they may email their research to the Board at academics@fasb.org.

Conceptual Framework

The Conceptual Framework is critical to FASB’s standard-setting process.

The objective of financial reporting—to provide investors and other users with financial information useful in making decisions about providing financial resources to an organization—is the destination standards strive to reach. The concepts comprising the framework serve to guide standards toward that destination.

The FASB’s Conceptual Framework helps the Board in setting sound financial accounting and reporting standards. For example, the framework provides the Board with theoretical guidance in selecting transactions, events, and circumstances to be accounted for.

The Conceptual Framework is also a critical tool in the academic toolkit. It provides stakeholders a frame of reference for understanding the resulting standards, which is useful to students who study accounting and faculty who research and teach it.

The Conceptual Framework is not complete. For example, it currently lacks measurement and presentation principles. Consequently, the FASB has an active project to refresh and complete it. Given the fundamental role the framework plays in accounting standard setting, input from members of the academic community is essential in this process. See the related project pages for more information.

FASB Special Report: The Framework of Financial Accounting and Standards

This book focuses on the conceptual framework developed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to provide a foundation for financial accounting and reporting standards in the United States.

To help readers understand what the conceptual framework is and why it developed as it did, the book also explores the environment in which the principles and standards of financial reporting developed, the forces that shaped them, and how the concepts, principles, and standards relate to each other.

Download the Special Report


More information regarding the Conceptual Framework project and opportunities to engage can be found here.
 

FASB Member Christine A. Botosan and FASB staff discuss the conceptual framework:
What it is, how the Board uses it, what’s coming next, and how you can get involved.

The FASB Post-Doctoral Program

The Post-Doctoral Fellow Program brings academic research and skills to bear in the accounting standard-setting process, with the potential to undertake research activities in other areas. The fellow is a highly motivated Ph.D. graduate (current or within the past two-years) that serves one year on the FASB staff. The fellow obtains experience as an ad-hoc consultant on FASB projects and receives other career-enhancing benefits, including:
  • Opportunities to conduct research and publish findings
  • Access to XBRL data and training
  • Exposure to cutting edge issues – benefiting students, enhancing research relevance
  • Opportunities to develop deep institutional knowledge and a portfolio of relevant research questions, and
  • Opportunities to network with preparers, practitioners, regulators, users, and other academics at the highest levels, and earn external professional recognition.
The FASB benefits from the academic research and skills that the fellow brings to its understanding of accounting issues, including identifying relevant research and integrating results into staff analyses used as a basis for Board decision-making.

The tenure clock is expected to be suspended/delayed during the one-year period of the fellowship. Compensation is competitive with 9-month assistant professor starting salary; payable directly to the candidate (if the candidate is a FASB employee) or alternatively to the university (if the candidate is a university employee).

 
The FASB’s Post-Doctoral Fellowship program brings academic research and skills
to bear in the accounting standard-setting process.

If you are interested in applying, please click the button below when the application process is open and select “Post-Doctoral Fellow”. The application process usually opens in September and closes in December.
 

 

Resources

The FASB recognizes and appreciates the academic community’s critical role in accounting education. You can participate in many supportive activities by:
  • Organizing a student visit to the FASB offices in Norwalk, CT. If you would like more information about a student visit, please contact us at adminsupport@f-a-f.org.
  • Requesting a FASB speaker through a FASB Speaker Request Portal that guides you, step by step, through the process of requesting FASB speakers—including criteria for the acceptance of FASB speaking invitations.
  • Reading FASB In Focus summaries of new and proposed Accounting Standards Updates.
  • Participating in free educational webcasts and webinars on a periodic basis.
  • Watching webcasts of public meetings and read meeting documents and minutes.
  • Accessing the FASB Accounting Standards Codification® Basic View without creating an account.
You can use FASB materials for teaching purposes by: You can stay updated on the FASB’s activities or receive advanced notice on upcoming public meetings and webcasts by subscribing to eNewsletters such as:
  •  Action Alert, which provides real-time updates of FASB activities by topic
  • Quarterly FASB Outlook Newsletter, which presents current accounting and financial reporting issues in a “plain-English,” user-friendly format.