Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)


Corey Ferreira


Reviewed by


May 23, 2023

This article is Tax Professional approved


The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is a vital organization that sets and improves accounting standards for public, private, and non-profit organizations in the United States. With a focus on promoting transparency, accountability, and comparability in financial reporting, FASB collaborates with other standard-setting bodies such as the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to ensure consistency in financial reporting worldwide.

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A brief history of FASB and its establishment in 1973

In a world where financial reporting was once a wild west, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) came to the rescue. Established in 1973, FASB was born out of a need for consistency and accuracy in financial reporting.

This game-changing organization was a response to the accounting scandals and financial crises of the time. Its creation marked a turning point in the way businesses and organizations would report their financial information, bringing much needed transparency and trust to the financial world.

In response to a series of high-profile accounting scandals, such as Enron and WorldCom, that shook the financial world and eroded public trust, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) was established to address the need for improved accounting standards and practices. These scandals highlighted the importance of having a transparent, consistent, and reliable set of accounting principles to prevent financial fraud and ensure accurate financial reporting.

Understanding FASB: definition, purpose, and importance

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is an independent, private organization that plays a crucial role in the financial reporting world. Established in 1973, its primary purpose is to set and improve accounting standards for public and private companies, as well as nonprofit organizations in the United States.

By establishing these standards, FASB helps to ensure that financial information is presented in a consistent, transparent, and easily understandable manner. This is important for investors, regulators, and other stakeholders who rely on accurate financial statements to make informed decisions.

Over the years, the FASB has issued a number of Accounting Standards Updates (ASUs) to address new financial reporting issues and improve existing guidance. These updates are essential for maintaining the relevance and usefulness of financial reporting in today’s ever-changing business environment.

Setting financial standards globally with FASB

One key aspect of FASB’s work is its collaboration with other national and international standard-setters. This includes the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), which aims to develop a single set of high-quality, globally accepted accounting standards. Working together, these organizations help to promote consistency and comparability in financial reporting around the world.

This makes FASB a vital organization that sets and refines accounting standards to ensure clear, consistent, and transparent financial reporting. This, in turn, enables investors and other stakeholders to make well-informed decisions based on accurate and reliable financial information.

The relationship between FASB and GAAP

The FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) and GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) share a close relationship, with FASB being the organization responsible for establishing and updating GAAP. As the authoritative body for accounting standards in the United States, FASB’s mission is to create and maintain a comprehensive set of accounting principles that ensure transparency and consistency across financial reporting.

When businesses and organizations adhere to GAAP, they follow a set of guidelines and rules set forth by the FASB. This helps to ensure that financial information is presented accurately and comparably, ultimately benefiting investors, regulators, and other stakeholders.

In essence, FASB’s role is to develop and maintain GAAP, while organizations implement these principles in their financial reporting activities.

The role of FASB in setting accounting standards for public and private companies

As a nonprofit organization, FASB ensures that financial statements are transparent, consistent, and easily comparable to provide a clear picture of a company’s financial health.

One notable example of FASB’s impact on the accounting world is the issuance of the Statement of financial accounting Standards No. 157, also known as Fair Value Measurements. Established in 2006, this standard provided guidelines for companies to measure and report the fair value of their assets and liabilities, promoting better transparency and comparability across the financial sector.

Another significant event in FASB’s history was the convergence project with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to harmonize the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International financial reporting Standards (IFRS). This joint effort aimed at creating a single set of high-quality global accounting standards, making it easier for investors and other stakeholders to understand and compare financial statements across borders.

In 2014, FASB issued a major update to the revenue recognition standard, known as Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2014-09, which significantly changed how companies recognize revenue from contracts with customers. This standard aimed to simplify the process and enhance comparability across industries and countries, ultimately benefiting both companies and investors.

Who’s the board behind Financial Accounting Standards Board (as of May 2023)?

Name Title Term Expires
Richard R. Jones Chairman June 30, 2025
James L. Kroeker Vice Chairman June 30, 2027
Christine A. Botosan Board Member June 30, 2024
Marsha L. Hunt Board Member June 30, 2027
Gary R. Buesser Board Member June 30, 2023
Frederick L. Cannon Board Member June 30, 2026

Source: FASB Board Members

FASB’s future vision and direction for accounting standards

In conclusion, the FASB plays a crucial role in shaping the financial landscape by establishing and improving accounting standards. Its continuous efforts ensure transparency and comparability in financial reporting, benefiting investors, businesses, and the economy as a whole. Embracing both FASB and GAAP is essential for a thriving financial ecosystem that supports informed decision-making and fosters growth.

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.
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