Aug 11th 2009
The long awaited moment is here. On July 1st, the Accounting Standards Codification became the only source of GAAP. It combines all the FASB standards (FAS, APB, ARB, FSP, EITF), the AICPA SOPs and all the other Level A-D accounting literature into one easy to use spot. The Codification does not change GAAP, it merely reorganizes it into an easy to research format. I personally can't find anything under the new system, but I am sure as we get used to it, it will get easier. So why should you care about the Codification if it doesn't change GAAP? Because you have to change all of the references to the old to the new system. You will find these references in your SEC 10Q and 10K filings, any regulatory filings, SOX flows, policies, procedures and in about another cajillion places. I would suggest you make everybody aware of the change now and when they come across an old reference they should take the time to change it. To translate from the old to the new, the FASB gives us a neat tool called the cross reference tool. If I type in FAS 133, paragraph 9(c) I will get FASC 815-10-15-83. If I type in FAS 133, I will get about five different Subtopics that could possibly include the reference I am looking for. If I don't know where in FAS 133 my reference might reside, I can pull up Subtopic 815 and combine sections. This will show all the sections and paragraphs under 815 and will look very similar to what we are used to seeing. The GAAP Codification is divided into 8 Topics: 200-Presentation; 300-Assets; 400-Liabilities; 505-Equity; 605-Revenue Recognition; 700-Expenses; 800-Broad Transactions; and 900-Industry. Within each Topic are Subtopics and within each Subtopic there are Sections and Paragraphs. For instance under 200-Presentation you will find Subtopics: 205-Presentation of Financial Statements; 210- Balance Sheet; 215-Statement of Shareholders Equity; 220-Comprehensive Income; 225-Income Statement; 230-Statement of Cash Flows; and 235-Notes to Financial Statements. So happy translating and let me know how easy you think the new system is to use.