State Board Report
The importance of getting quality and timely feedback from private company stakeholders on developing issues was stressed by Private Company Council (PCC) Chairman Billy M. Atkinson. In reviewing for the Western Regional Meeting the PCC’s accomplishments in its first two and a half years, Mr. Atkinson reported the PCC had used a "town hall approach" in different geographic areas to present topic updates to users, preparers and practitioners and have an "open mic" for new issues to be laid out for consideration. Four Accounting Standards Updates that had been proposed by the PCC were issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. The PCC has also initiated discussion topics and commented on FASB projects which have led to considerations for private companies as they relate to relevance or excess costs.
"Based on town halls or otherwise, future issues for private companies could very well include more types of intangible assets to be subsumed into goodwill, fair value accounting and disclosure, expanded VIE considerations and possibly a broader sweep of derivative and hedge accounting and disclosure considerations, among others," Mr. Atkinson stated.
Having served as NASBA Chair 2009-2010, Mr. Atkinson said he is not seeking to extend his three-year term as PCC Chair: "My commitment to my friends and colleagues here at NASBA has been to get this effort off to a stable start and set the tone among all parties for its success." He thanked NASBA leadership and the State Boards for attending many of the PCC’s meetings and for being "a tremendous resource to me as I developed points of view and tactics on issues."
Speaking at the Eastern Regional Meeting, PCC Member George W. Beckwith observed, "I do not believe there is such a thing as a non user of financial statements." Although he serves as chief financial officer of the National Gypsum Company, a family-owned business headquartered in Charleston, SC, and is consequently classified as a "preparer," Mr. Beckwith stated, "I don’t make journal entries, but I do get to see them and make comments. I call myself a ‘user’ because I look at my clients’ statements." He has served on the PCC since its inception and will continue on next year.
Mr. Beckwith summarized the PCC’s work: In its first year, the PCC was establishing relationships and tackling its initial lowhanging- fruit projects. In the second year it was dealing with harder, more complex issues and gelling as a group with the FASB and staff. Now in the third year the review process has started. He too stressed the importance of the PCC’s outreach efforts, to hear from not only the large firms but from the "little guy" too.
The PCC is now working with the FASB and staff on the need for a formal provision of an unconditional one-time option for a company to make an election of a PCC alternative without establishing "preferability."
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