The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has not issued any major new accounting rules in 2019. But there have been some important developments to be aware of when preparing annual financial statements under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
Deferral of major accounting rules
Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2019-09 delays the effective date of the updated guidance for long-term insurance contracts. For public business entities, except smaller reporting companies (SRCs), the effective date is delayed until fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2021. For all other entities, the effective date is postponed until fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2023.
In addition, ASU 2019-10 defers the effective dates for three other ASUs as follows:
- ASU 2016-02, Leases. For public business entities (including SRCs) and certain non-profit organizations and employee benefit plans, the effective date remains as fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018. For all other entities, the effective date is deferred to fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020.
- ASU 2016-13, Financial Instruments — Credit Losses: Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments. For public business entities that do not meet the definition of an SRC, the effective date remains fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019. For all other entities, the effective date is deferred to fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022.
- ASU 2017-12, Derivatives and Hedging: Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities. For public business entities (including SRCs) the effective date remains as fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018. For all other entities, the effective date is deferred to fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2020.
Effective dates going forward
ASU 2019-10 also updates the FASB’s philosophy for setting the effective dates for all major ASUs going forward. It will group entities into two overall buckets, as follows:
Bucket 1. Large public companies that are SEC filers and do not meet the SEC definition of SRCs
Bucket 2. Entities other than large public companies, including SRCs, private companies, non-profit entities, and employee benefit plans
In general, the FASB plans to set the effective dates of major ASUs for Bucket 2 entities at least two years after the initial effective dates for entities in Bucket 1.
Starting in 2019, private companies that follow GAAP must use an updated five-step method to recognize revenue from long-term contracts. Public companies that made the switch in 2018 report that the process was more difficult than expected.
Unfortunately, many private companies underestimate the amount of work it takes to apply the updated rules — and many accounting software solutions cannot effectively handle the changes, including the disclosure requirements. If you have not started implementing the updated revenue recognition guidance, contact us to get you back on track.
Throughout 2019, the FASB has issued some other narrow-scope accounting rules, including guidance that 1) updates the rules for reporting share-based payments to customers and nonemployees, 2) extends the scope of private company alternatives for reporting goodwill to non-profit organizations, and 3) clarifies major accounting standards updates. Contact us to discuss how the changes to GAAP, including various proposed amendments, will affect your financial statements in 2019 and beyond.