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Rwt1 Business Report

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Business Research Report
Impact of FASB on Company A

Presented to: CEO of Company A
Assessment Code: RWT1 Table of Contents

Executive Summary 3
Introduction 4
Research Findings 4
FASB History 4 Public Corporation Requirements (GAAP) 5
Investor Impact 6
Recommendations 7
Conclusion 8
References 9

Executive Summary
The purpose of this report is to research the accounting and reporting standards of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and report the impact FASB may have on our company. The following research explains the history and purpose of FASB, the accountability requirements on public corporations, the effectiveness of FASB in setting standards in order to improve financial reporting in the public sector, and finally, the impact on and satisfaction of the investment community in regards to FASB’s imposed standards.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) was established in 1973 and has been the designated organization in the private sector for establishing standards of financial accounting in governing the preparation of financial reports by nongovernmental entities. These standards, which are enforced by the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, are important to the efficient functioning of the economy. It is in the best interest of a capital market that investors and potential investors have complete and reliable information provided them so they can make proper decisions in resource allocation as well as capital distribution.

Introduction
Making sound investment decisions is contingent upon investors being provided with reliable and useful accounting and financial reporting. Creditors and other stakeholders benefit from financial information being truthful, timely and useful. The following report discusses the accounting and financial standards set forth by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB); an organization that provides such standards and guidelines for publicly traded companies.
As CPA of this company, I have completed research to define and evaluate some of the key accounting and reporting requirements of the FASB (including GAAP), the impact these requirements may have on our company and how the investment community feels about the imposed FASB standards. Research will prove that by implementing FASB standards and adhering to GAAP, will lead to a positive company reputation and ultimately growth as we gain new investors.
My research concentrates on three specific areas:
1. The history of the FASB
2. FASB requirements imposed on public corporations
3. The impact that FASB has on the investment community and the level of satisfaction of the investment community as it pertains to these imposed requirements.

FASB History
Research: The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) was founded in 1973 as a private and independent organization governed by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). The organization’s primary purpose is to establish the rules and standards of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) for the interest of the public. (“Facts about FASB”) “Since its inception in 1973, the FASB has issued 168 Statements of Financial Accounting Standards and a series of concepts statements”. (Facts about FASB, n.d.) The FASB's mission is "to establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting for the guidance and education of the public, including issuers, auditors, and users of financial information”. (FASB Financial Accounting Standards Board, 2012)
This mission is accomplished by an objective standard-setting process that takes into consideration stakeholders’ views (Cantoria, 2011) and commits to adhering to the following principles:
1. Improve the usefulness of financial reporting by focusing on the primary characteristics of relevance and reliability, and on the qualities of comparability and consistency. (Reither, 1997)
2. Keep standards current to reflect changes in methods of doing business and in the economy. (Reither, 1997)
3. Consider promptly any significant areas of deficiency in financial reporting that might be improved through standard setting. (Reither, 1997)
4. Promote international convergence of accounting standards concurrent with improving the quality of financial reporting. (Reither, 1997)
5. Improve common understanding of the nature and purposes of information in financial reports. (Reither, 1997)
Analysis: The intent of the FASB is to issue understandable principles that accountants can apply when auditing corporations so that investors can have full disclosure of financial situations that may impact their investment decisions.
Public Corporation Requirements (GAAP)
Research: Disclosure laws and regulations are monitored and enforced by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). SEC regulations have a direct impact on what are known as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). (SEC, 2009) The main requirements of GAAP are:
1. Understandability - Common understanding of the nature and purpose of financial reports. (Victor, 2008)
2. Relevance - information must be timely to allow users of this information to predict or forecast future value. (Victor, 2008)
3. Reliability - The quality of information that assures that information is unbiased, reasonably free from error and is truthful in presentation. (Victor, 2008)
4. Comparability - Financial information of one firm can be quantitatively compared to that of another. (Victor, 2008)
5. Consistency of financial information – The dependability that financial information reported each period is unchanged with regard to policies and procedures. (Victor, 2008)
Analysis: The characteristics of understandability, relevance, reliability, and the qualities of comparability and consistency of financial information are critical considerations when determining the usefulness of financial information to economic stakeholders. (SEC, 2009) Financial information should be understandable to avoid costly investment decisions made simply because the data provided was presented in an ambiguous manner. With regards to relevance, if a company releases their financials 6 months after their fiscal year ends as opposed to 4 weeks after, the information is not as attractive to investors who need financial data expediently to make informed decisions and thus renders this information useless. The reliability factor simply means that companies, creditors and investors are able to feel confident that information presented is done so in the most qualitative, objective and non-deceptive manner. (Paul, 2008) This signifies that the information is both reliable and useful to all stakeholders. If the reliability factor is not present, there is no purpose in submitting financial information as it will be considered to be of no value. Comparability and consistency are the final two GAAP requirements that are critical to stakeholders. Businesses must be able to be compared to other like businesses, and the consistency of each firm’s accounting method should be accurate and unchanged.

Investor Impact
Research: The primary goal of the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) is to protect investors and maintain markets that are both fair and efficient. (Securities and Exchange Commission, 2011) The SEC maintains that all investors should have access to all of the pertinent facts of an investment prior to buying it. The information provided should be timely, all-inclusive and accurate so that stakeholders can make sound investment decisions. This intermediate function of the SEC is necessary as corporations benefit by using investor dollars to grow and invest in new technologies and establish a greater market base.
The SEC works directly with investors in order to listen, and respond to any concerns. The SEC also educates the investment community on what financial information is required to be disclosed by public organizations so they can make practical decisions on whether to buy, sell, or hold a particular security. (SEC, n.d.) Investors, creditors, and other users of financial information are a primary source for explaining what financial information is useful to them. It is critically important to engage a wide range of investors in the standard-setting process to ensure all perspectives are included. (Securities and Exchange Commission, 2011)
When the stock market crashed in 1929, investors lost great sums of money as well as confidence in the banking systems and capital markets as a whole. (The Stock Market Crash of 1929, n.d.) To restore the public’s faith in the markets, Congress passed the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These two acts created the SEC. The main purpose for these laws was:
1. To ensure that companies publicly offering securities for investment dollars disclosed to the public the truth about their businesses, the securities they are selling, and the risks involved in investing.
2. To ensure people who sell and trade securities – brokers, dealers, and exchanges –treat investors fairly and honestly, putting investors' interests first.

To monitor the securities industry, the agency's functional responsibilities are organized into five Divisions and 19 Offices, each of which is headquartered in Washington, DC. This monitoring is necessary to prevent corruptive financial practices of public companies. However, even with these monitoring functions in place, it has been necessary to enact even more far-reaching regulations to protect investors against corporate mischief. In 2000, the energy company, Enron became synonymous with corporate corruption. Exposure of this infamous historical event led to the passing of one of the most aggressive U.S. securities acts, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
The Enron Scandal: Enron owned a large network of U.S. natural gas pipelines that stretched from border to border and originally was involved in transmitting and distributing electricity and natural gas throughout the United States. Through the use of accounting loopholes, special purpose entities, and poor financial reporting, Enron was able to hide billions in debt from failed deals and projects. The CFO misled Enron's board of directors and audit committee on high-risk accounting practices and also pressured the accounting and auditing firm of Arthur Andersen to ignore these issues. Because the true financial status of the company was hidden, the company’s accounting records portrayed Enron to be a healthy, thriving company and investors were misled into continuing to invest in its stocks. (Duffy, 2002)
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 authorized a number of reforms to increase corporate responsibility, enhance financial disclosures and mitigate corporate and accounting fraud. The passing of this act also created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to oversee the activities of the auditing profession. (Miller& Pashkoff, 2002)
Analysis: When a public firm offers an option to purchase its stock, this allows investors to assist in the growth of the organization. Consequently, the firm has the potential of instituting greater technologies, an expansive market base, world-changing innovations, etc. Subsequently, the aforementioned lend to a stronger economy. The SEC provides investors with as much education and company disclosure as possible to assist in making wise investment and spending decisions. It is in an organizations best interest that investor approval is ranked as a high priority when forecasting successful growth and longevity.
Recommendations
Based on the above research, my recommendation is that our firm adheres to the standards of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) because it is beneficial and mandatory for public companies. As a new publicly held firm, my belief is that it would be significantly advantageous for us to use GAAP standards in our accounting practices. This decision will appeal to the investment community and allow for the potential financial support that is needed to meet our organizational goals and expectations. The immediate steps that should be taken are outlined as follows:
1. Contact FASB and engage in open dialogue of the policies and procedures that have been put in place for public firms.
2. Become familiar with GAAP standards and begin implementing these standards immediately into our day-to-day operations.
3. Create a series of checks and balances which includes regular internal audits to make sure our firm continues to adhere to these standards on an ongoing basis.
4. Provide FASB and the SEC with questions, feedback, and suggestions on a regular basis to maintain an active role during this conversion and going forward.

Conclusion
In today’s world of scandal and greed, it is critical that we establish our organization as one of financial integrity and forthright disclosure in accordance with the law. To foster growth and longevity, we must encourage a climate that puts the investor’s rights first. Honesty will only enhance our organization’s reputation and ultimately lead to more investors and long-term growth.
Utilizing the GAAP characteristics of understandability, relevance, reliability, comparability and consistency will help maintain our position as a firm that can be counted on to deliver complete and straightforward financial information.
With the FASB working to establish and improve on financial reporting requirements that are fair for all stakeholders, the SEC enforcing regulations and implementing the standards of GAAP within our organization, we will flourish as a company as investors feel more confident in making the decision of where invest their capital.

Source Document
Research of accounting and reporting standards of Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
Deborah S Epps, 000165481
Main Idea #1: The history of FASB
Cantoria, C. (2011). How are GAAP rules determined? Retrieved on November 12, 2012 from http://brighthub.com/office/finance/articles/77231.aspx
Reither, Cheri L. (1997). How the FASB approaches a standard-setting issue. Accounting Horizons, (Vol. 11, No. 4), 91-104
Facts about FASB. (n.d.).Retrieved on November 5, 2012 from http://www.fasb.org/jsp/FASB/Page/SectionPage&cid=1176154526495
FASB Financial Accounting Standards Board. (2012) Retrieved on November 5, 2012 from http://www.valuebasedmanagement.net/organizations_fasb.html
Main Idea #2: The requirements imposed by FASB on public corporations
Victor, Darrell. (2008) Financial accounting: Qualitative characteristics of financial statements. Retrieved on November 9, 2012 from http://spiffyd.hubpages.com/hub/Financial-accounting-Qualitative-characteristics-of-financial-statements
SEC. (2009). The investor’s advocate: How the SEC protects investors, maintains market integrity, and facilitates capital formation. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved on November 14, 2012 from http://www.sec.gov/about/whatwedo.shtml
Paul, Stephanie. (2008). General accepted accounting principles or GAAP: What does it mean? Retrieved on November 9, 2012 from http://www.legalzoom.com/business-management/running-your-business/general-accepted-accounting-principles-or
Main idea #3: Impact FASB has on the investment community, and the satisfaction of the investment community with the imposed standards
The stock market crash of 1929. (n.d.).Retrieved on November 15, 2012 from http://www.themoneyalert.com/stockmarketcrashof1929.html
Duffy, Michael (2002). What Did They Know And...When Did They Know It? Retrieved on November 12, 2012 from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1001698-1,00.html
Securities and Exchange Commission. (2011) Retrieved on November 11, 2012 from http://www.freerisk.org/wiki/index.php/Securities_and_Exchange_Commission
Obtaining the investors' perspectives. (n.d.). Retrieved on November 1, 2012 from http://www.cfo.com/article.cfm/14587240
Miller R. I., Pashkoff, P. H., (2002).Regulations under the sarbanes-oxley act. Journal of accountancy. Retrieved on November 11, 2012 from http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/Issues/2002/Oct/RegulationsUnderTheSarbanesOxleyAct.htm

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