August 11, 2011

Academics Call for Political Spending Disclosure

A group of 10 academics submitted a rulemaking petition to the SEC earlier this month, asking the agency to consider adopting rules that would require disclosure of corporate political spending. Activism has driven quite a few large companies to disclose details of political contributions in the last few years, but that trend is apparently not enough for this group which calls themselves the “Committee on Disclosure of Corporate Political Spending.”

To read our take on this proposal, check out the upcoming July-August 2011 issue of The Corporate Counsel. If you are not a subscriber, take advantage of our “Free for Rest of 2011” no-risk trial to The Corporate Counsel.

The Big GAAP/Little GAAP Debate

While the debate goes on over whether the US will ultimately cede authority for setting GAAP to the IASB with a move to IFRS, an equally vehement debate is raging in the US over the future of standard setting for GAAP applicable to private and public companies. Edith Orenstein discusses the latest round of comments on this issue in the FEI Financial Reporting Blog. The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) (the body which oversees the Financial Accounting Standards Board, FASB) is considering whether to establish a private company standard setter that is separate and apart from the FASB.

A Blue Ribbon panel recommended earlier this year that an optional set of modifications and exceptions to standard GAAP be established for private companies, however the question of who would actually establish such modifications and exceptions has created controversy, as various groups consider the FASB to be best suited to the task, while others believe that a separate standard-setting body would be preferable. The AICPA and a number of state CPA societies support the idea of setting up a whole new standard setter for private company GAAP, while others such as FEI’s Committee on Private Company Standards suggest a more moderate approach of working within the existing FASB framework.

Of course we have had two standard setters for GAAS for some time, with the PCAOB being the exclusive authority for GAAS applicable to the audits of public companies, while the AICPA continues to establish auditing standards that apply to the audits of private companies. This dichotomy can be somewhat confusing for all of us non-accountants out here (as we also discuss in more detail the upcoming July-August 2011 issue of The Corporate Counsel – so sign up for a free no risk trial today).

More on our “Proxy Season Blog”

Even though the proxy season is over, we still are posting new items regularly on our “Proxy Season Blog” for members. Members can sign up to get that blog pushed out to them via email whenever there is a new entry by simply inputting their email address on the left side of that blog. Here are some of the latest entries:

– They Held a Revolution and Nobody Came
– Proxy Season: The Latest Voting Results
– More on “Annual Meetings: The Use of Floor Proposals”
– The Best Annual Report of 2011? Acuity’s “Storybook Year”
– Advisory Votes Help Shield Directors From Investor Dissent

– Dave Lynn