July 14, 2009

Early Problems for XBRL? A Mismatch with FASB’s GAAP Codification

With mandatory XBRL now upon us for larger companies, it’s troublesome that – as noted in this recent article – the FASB’s new codification of accounting standards that was launched on July 1st (and becomes effective on September 15th) has created a mismatch since all of the mandated XBRL standards apply to the FASB’s now-superseded standards. Thanks to Neal Hannon of The Gilbane Group, who started the sleuthing on this issue (eg. see his blog about whether the SEC can handle XBRL filings).

A new XBRL taxonomy is scheduled to be released in early ’10 to solve this problem – but there needs to be a solution to cover the period between the codification’s 9/15 effective date and when the new taxonomy is available next year. To tackle this, I hear that the FASB is working with XBRL US to produce an extension taxonomy that is supposed to bridge the GAAP between the old references and the codification – but we don’t yet know when that will be released.

But clearly it needs to be well before the Codification’s 9/15 effective date because all the XBRL providers need as much time as they can get to incorporate the changes into their software. In other words, we needed that yesterday since the Codification’s effective date is only two months away. I’ll continue to follow this story – but this looks like a real mess.

More on “FASB Charging for ‘Souped-Up Version’ of Accounting Standards”

Recently, I criticized the FASB for charging for a premium version of their new GAAP codification. I received a number of emails from members agreeing with me, including this one:

The FASB is going to catch a lot of heat for charging for a user friendly version. That is such bad business. Why pay FASB $850 when you can get even more from other service providers for an additional nominal amount? And any CPA who already has one of those services will continue with those other services. I don’t have a service now because I don’t feel it’s necessary at this point in my level of understanding of GAAP.

And I refuse to pay the FASB to do something they decided to do and to access what they insist we must use going forward. I would be happy to continue to use my hard copy standards but they’ve been touting that doing so will be unacceptable and referencing anything but the Codification incorrect. I think that messaging is just propoganda to get people to fork over the $850 annually. The FASB needs to think about what their mission is and hiding information from users is not going to help satisfy their mission – even if it is just bells and whistles. That was the big hook for the Codification – it will make your searching easier. Bunk if I have to pay for that.

By the way, one member noted that I was correct and that the FASB used to charge for access to their full standards. Then, Sarbanes-Oxley changed that by giving them (sort of) independent funding, and the FASB no longer charged for their standards. Selling their standards was a means of sustenance in the old days, apart from hat-in-hand to constituents. Based on the angry reactions I’ve heard, I think FASB needs to publicly explain why it’s charging for the new Codification’s bells & whistles – people are pretty miffed but they also are afraid to speak out…

The SEC’s “IDEA” Becomes “Next-Generation EDGAR”

Without much fanfare – which is understandable because it was forced to by a lawsuit – it seems as though the SEC has renamed “IDEA” as “Next Generation Edgar,” as evidenced by this search page. Personally, I would stick with old-fashioned “Edgar” as any technology tool is constantly evolving and labeling it as “next generation” just takes away from Edgar’s important branding and doesn’t really add anything.

Note that the URL for the SEC’s search page still has “Idea” lodged within it…

– Broc Romanek