I am sure you all remember the Charlie Brown comic strip and one of its reoccurring themes of Charlie Brown going to kick the football, only to have Lucy pull it away at the last second, thus causing poor Charlie to miss and fall flat on his back. I thought of Charlie Brown this past week when I got an e-mail from FASB announcing that it had launched a web portal dedicated to providing information pertaining to its activities that focus on issues related to nonpublic entities. The e-mail said it was part of the board’s efforts “to better serve the private company and not-for-profit sectors.”
Funny, it seems to me that FASB has not been real focused on serving the needs of private companies. They, and the CPAs who serve them, have been clamoring for years that an alternative to GAAP was needed for private companies. And the FASB response to that has been a long history of completely ignoring the issue or merely paying lip service to it. Every time FASB says they understand and the profession thinks that maybe this time it will be different, it ends up being the old “Lucy pulls the football” routine and we never see any change.
But things are finally looking different. Over the past year, through the efforts of a Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP) developed by AICPA, NASBA and FAF, there is the most concerted effort ever to get action on this issue of standards for private companies. The idea is to use GAAP as the base standard and allow exceptions to GAAP where they make sense for private companies. A separate board – apart from FASB – would be appointed to make the decisions on these standards. The board would be made up of individuals with knowledge and experience in the private company world. The new board would be responsible to, and receive oversight from, the FAF.
Clearly the efforts of the BRP have aroused the attention of FASB. They are not keen on a new board coming into existence. Now they are suddenly taking an interest to act like they care about the private companies that have been complaining and asking for relief for decades. It’s sort of like now that Charlie Brown has picked up his football and is heading for home, Lucy is crying out – no Charlie; this time I will let you kick it!
All I can say is – don’t do it Charlie! Don’t be fooled again. This time stay the course – AICPA, NASBA and FAF. Carry the football across the goal line and get a new system in place that can adequately serve the needs of private companies. Members who feel likewise and support this cause can weigh in and write to the FAF to express their support. Here is a link to information on ways you can do that: http://www.tscpa.org/Content/51861.aspx.
This is the moment. The time to act is now. Go Charlie Go!