Primarily as a result of efforts by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) agreed at its January 29, 2014 meeting to perform research on accounting issues in employee benefit plans (EBP) financial statements.
Ongoing liaisons between FASB and the AICPA Employee Benefit Plans Expert Panel and Employee Benefit Plan Audit Quality Center Executive Committee, including a 26-page discussion memorandum outlining current accounting concerns with EBP financial statements that was submitted to the FASB by the Expert Panel, led the FASB chairman and other Board members to agree to the research project.
The discussion memorandum identifies areas in current accounting affecting employee benefit plans that are conflicting, redundant, irrelevant, or incomplete due to the specialized characteristics of plans. It also provides observations about difficulties encountered in practice with current plan accounting but does not suggest possible resolutions.
The discussion memorandum will serve as a starting point to help FASB better understand the uniqueness of EBPs and the related accounting and reporting issues as it considers what, if anything, should be done to achieve more meaningful, understandable and relevant financial statement reporting. Details about the discussion memorandum and other AICPA advocacy efforts related to employee benefit plan accounting can be found in the January 30, 2014 issue of The CPA Advocate.