Should the Fasb Consider Economic Consequences in Standard Setting

1552 Words May 11th, 2013 7 Pages
The FASB should consider economic consequences in the standard setting process; “The Board cannot cease to be concerned about the cost-effectiveness of its standards. To do so would be a dereliction of its duty and a disservice to its constituents”. (SFAC No.2 P. 144) FASB member Victor H. Brown identified the economic costs to consider:
“The costs of introducing a new standard, of course, include the out of pocket costs of converting to the new standard, the costs of processing and reporting the information required, and possible increases in audit cost…..But costs may also include disclosure costs, measured in terms of lost competitive advantage. Even harder to assess are the costs incurred by all parties in attempting to understand
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Assessing and quantifying these types of behavioral reactions regarding the economic consequences of a proposed standard will always pose difficulties for the FASB, “There is no way of determining optimal regulatory policies that maximize the social welfare or the public interest. The best that regulators can do is to try to determine that a net benefit exists-that is, an excess of benefits over costs.” (Wolk et al p 129)
SFAC No. 8 addresses the cost constraint on useful financial reporting, “Cost is a pervasive constraint that standard setters, as well as providers and users of financial information, should keep in mind when considering the benefits of a financial reporting requirement.” (SFAC No. 8 BC 3.47) However, the ability to place a dollar value and fully enumerate a cost or benefit is almost an impossible task for standard-setters. Additionally, there is no way to successfully identify and measure all of the economic consequences associated with a new standard. The FASB should be applauded though for advancing uniformity in accounting standards, however; uniform financial reporting suggests a one size fits all approach. “Smaller, non-publicly listed firms (and their auditors) argue that accounting standards are formulated mainly for larger, publicly traded firms” and that “compliance costs are disproportionately higher and the…