Accounting Standards Board – Definition

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Accounting Standards Board (ASB) Definition 

The Accounting Standards Board (ASB) is a former organization that was responsible for drafting and issuing accounting standards in the United Kingdom. The ASB was located in London, England and was similar in function to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) of the United States. The ASB was succeeded by the Accounting Council, a part of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), on July 2, 2012.

A Little More on What is the Accounting Standards Board (ASB)

The Accounting Standards Board (ASB) was set up under the provisions of the Companies Act of 1985 as one of the two subsidiaries of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the other being the Financial Reporting Review Panel (FRRP). It replaced the Accounting Standards Committee (ASC) on August 1, 1990 as the primary issuer of  accounting standards in the UK. The ASB, along with the FRRP, was in charge of promoting superior financial reporting in the region and providing a focus for constituents in the UK in order to ensure that their views were considered in the international development of accounting standards. The Accounting Standards Board adopted several Statements of Standard Accounting Practice (SSAPs) that had been issued by the Accounting Standards Committee in order to bring them within the legal definition of accounting standards as stipulated in the Companies Act of 1985. The ASB developed and issued accounting standards as Financial Reporting Standards (FRS).

In 1991, a new body known as the Urgent Issues Task Force (UITF) was constituted to assist the ASB in its primary functions. The UITF was tasked with exploring sectors that were already affected by or were vulnerable to discords or unsatisfactory interpretations of accounting standards or provisions of the Companies Act. On July 24, 1991 the UITF released its first abstract – Convertible bonds – supplemental interest/premium.

In 2004, the government of the United Kingdom decided to strengthen its regulatory system as a reaction to the corporate collapses in the United States. As a result, the roles and responsibilities of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) were extended to such an extent that it essentially transformed into the sole independent regulator in the domains of accounting and auditing. The FRC was also bestowed with the additional responsibility of issuing accounting standards and managing their enforcement.

In July, 2012, the passage of certain reforms authorized the FRC to function as a unified regulatory body with enhanced independence. This was followed by the implementation of a new structure to ensure effective governance of all of the FRC’s regulatory activities under the purview of the FRC Board.

The new reforms also mandated the establishment of the Codes and Standards Committee as an advisory body to the FRC Board. This was accompanied by the replacement of the Accounting Standards Board (ASB) by the Accounting Council, which is a body that reports to the Codes and Standards Committee. The UITF was dissolved shortly thereafter.

References for Financial Accounting Standards Board

Academic Research

Cash flow statements: An international comparison of regulatory positions, Wallace, R. O., Choudhury, M. S., & Pendlebury, M. (1997). Cash flow statements: An international comparison of regulatory positions. The International Journal of Accounting, 32(1), 1-22.Our paper compares the standard documents on cash flow statements (CFSs) from five nations and the IASC. We report on substantial differences among the standard setting bodies from the five nations and the IASC on the one hand and their constituents on the other. There are variations in regulatory postures on almost every aspect of the cash flow statement (CFS). We identify different ways of categorizing cash flows, alternative formats for presenting cash flows from operating activities among others but do not make personal choices because we do not seek to play the role of standard setters. We conclude that the quest for international harmonization of reporting practices cannot be easy.

Standard‐setting in Australia: Implications of Recent Radical Reform Proposals, Collett, P., Godfrey, J., & Hrasky, S. (1998). Standardsetting in Australia: Implications of Recent Radical Reform Proposals. Australian Accounting Review, 8(16), 9-17.We examine the implications of the Howard government’s Corporate Law Economic Reform Program as they relate to accounting standard‐setting in Australia. A luck of systematic and compelling evidence for wholesale changes to the existing standard‐setting process is identified, as is a fundamental shift in the rationale for standard‐setting which underlies the proposed changes. We disagree with the main plank of the proposals, that is, that international accounting standards should be adopted in Australia.

Commentary: is goodwill an asset?, Johnson, L. T., & Petrone, K. R. (1998). Commentary: is goodwill an asset?.The accounting for purchased goodwill generates greater interest whenever merger and acquisition activity is robust, as it has been recently. Standard setters have been active, too. The United Kingdom’s Accounting Standards Board (ASB) has issued a new standard on goodwill accounting, the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) has issued standards (approved but not yet released) on both business combinations and intangible assets and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has undertaken a project on accounting for business combinations, including goodwill accounting.

Self-referential lobbying of the accounting standards board: the case of financial reporting standard no. 1, Jupe, R. E. (2000). Self-referential lobbying of the accounting standards board: the case of financial reporting standard no. 1. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 11(3), 337-359.This paper employs a Latourian framework to analyse the informal and formal lobbying of the Accounting Standards Board (ASB) over its flagship standard on cash flow statements. The purpose of the analysis is to reveal how the self-referential rhetoric of key lobbyists, such as companies and auditors, was used to “enrol” the ASB into amending its standard in line with the transformative practices of some large companies. The issue of whether net debt should be included on cash flow statements is analysed in detail, as it reveals how a small group of companies were able to enrol the ASB into accepting their translated definition of “cash”. The paper concludes that, given that the ASB essentially relies on voluntary compliance, it responded to the rhetoric of key allies in the standard-setting process in order to maintain its position as an obligatory passage point and so retain support for its project to reform accounting.

Legitimating transnational standard-setting: The case of the International Accounting Standards Board, Richardson, A. J., & Eberlein, B. (2011). Legitimating transnational standard-setting: The case of the International Accounting Standards Board. Journal of Business Ethics, 98(2), 217-245.The increasing use of transnational standard-setting bodies to address quality uncertainties and coordination issues across the global economy raises questions about how these bodies establish and maintain their legitimacy and accountability outside the sovereignty of democratic states. Based on a discussion of the legitimacy challenge posed by global governance, we provide an overview of mechanisms by which such bodies can defend their legitimacy claims and examine the actual mechanisms used by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). While the IASB staked its initial credibility on technical competence and independence, it has increasingly emphasized due process norms in its claim for support. Our analysis evaluates the IASB due process against the cultural benchmarks established by domestic standard-setters in the USA and UK and against a normative model of procedural legitimacy. These comparisons help us to understand the modifications that were made in the hope of due process adding legitimacy to accounting standard-setting beyond the state. They also reveal the broader political context of competing legitimacy criteria that confronts transnational standard-setters.

Corporate lobbying on accounting standards: Methods, timing and perceived effectiveness, Georgiou, G. (2004). Corporate lobbying on accounting standards: Methods, timing and perceived effectiveness. Abacus, 40(2), 219-237.There is a long‐standing concern in the literature about the potential importance of non‐observable forms of lobbying that may be used by corporate managers to influence accounting standard setting bodies. To date, however, no study has documented their nature or their volume. This study provides such evidence in the context of the U.K.’s Accounting Standards Board (ASB) standard setting process for the period 1991–96. It also provides evidence with respect to the timing at which lobbying activity takes place and its perceived effectiveness by corporate managers. The findings suggest that companies use a variety of lobbying methods, including appeals to their auditors and private meetings with ASB members and staff. Importantly, however, the use of these methods is significantly associated with the use of comment letters; companies which submit comment letters are much more likely to use other methods than companies which do not. Other findings suggest that more companies lobby during the stages of the ASB process at which public consultation takes place (e.g., exposure period of a discussion paper) than at the earlier stages of the process (e.g., agenda formation) which are considered in the literature as the stages at which lobbying can be most effective. With respect to the perceived effectiveness of lobbying, companies which lobbied the ASB considered lobbying to be more effective than companies which did not.

The adoption of international accounting standards in the European Union, Whittington, G. (2005). The adoption of international accounting standards in the European Union. European accounting review, 14(1), 127-153.This paper discusses the IASB’s process of developing accounting standards for adoption by listed companies within the European Union. Issues addressed include the structure of the IASB, its role as a global standard setter and its programme. Particular attention is given to two topics that are both controversial and important, accounting for financial instruments and reporting financial performance.

Audit technology and preferences for auditing standards, Kinney Jr, W. R. (1986). Audit technology and preferences for auditing standards.This paper investigates factors associated with audit firm positions on Auditing Standards Board issues during the three-year period ending during 1984. The major finding is that firms with relatively structured audit technologies tend to favor proposed statements while firms with relatively unstructured technologies do not. Audit firm size is not associated with firm position. Also, Big 8 firms favoring proposed statements have lower staff-to-partner ratios and concentrate less in auditing. The staff-to-partner ratio is negatively associated with technology. The results’ implications for auditing profession organization studies and auditing and financial reporting research are investigated.

The quest for international accounting harmonization: A review of the standard setting agendas of the IASC, US, UK, Canada, and Australia, 1973–1997, Street, D. L., & Shaughnessy, K. A. (1998). The quest for international accounting harmonization: A review of the standard setting agendas of the IASC, US, UK, Canada, and Australia, 1973–1997. The International Journal of Accounting, 33(2), 179-209.For 1973 through 1997, the research examines the evolution of accounting standards to ascertain the extent of similarities and differences in financial reporting practices among the IASC and national standard setters in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Collective and individual efforts aimed at minimizing differences to achieve harmonization/compatibility are discussed. The impact of the IASC’s modified philosophy for the 1990s, specifically its cooperative endeavors with the G4 standard setters on agenda coordination and harmonization/compatibility of accounting standards, is also investigated. During the 1970s and 1980s, the IASC, US, UK, Canada, and Australia achieved accounting standard compatibility in very few areas. Successes included the funds flow statement and leases. This failure to make significant progress toward harmonization/compatibility can be linked to limited agenda coordination and cooperation between the IASC and national standard setters. The research also reveals that significant periods of time, of as much as two decades or more, passed before the IASC and Anglo-American standard setters attained some form of consensus on agenda items initiated during the IASC’s first two decades. The IASC and Anglo-American standard setters entered the 1990s better equipped than in prior decades to engage in cooperative endeavors. By focusing on common themes in their conceptual frameworks and adopting a philosophy of harmonization via cooperation, the IASC and G4 have made considerable progress. Areas where the five standard setters have achieved consensus, or are close to achieving concurrence, include several projects initiated during the 1970s and 1980s. These projects include investments in associates, interim reporting, business combinations, joint ventures, deferred taxes, and pensions. In addition, projects launched by the G4+1 members during the 1990s have often produced compatible standards (or proposals) on a relatively timely basis. Examples include financial instruments, EPS, segment reporting, and comprehensive income. The research also reveals a few areas where consensus has not been achieved, such as accounting for the correction of errors, R&D, and interest capitalization.

International accounting standard setting: A network approach, Perry, J., & Nöelke, A. (2005). International accounting standard setting: A network approach. Business and Politics, 7(3), 1-32.The article takes a political economy perspective on the current harmonization of accounting standards. It argues that the process not only signals a major shift in the mode of governance (towards private authority), but also in the substance of what is being governed. In political-economic terms, the most significant change which the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) brings to accounting is an increased reliance on market values in the form of so-called Fair Value Accounting (FVA). The FVA paradigm represents a financial perspective on business operations. This perspective is matched by the process and structure of the institutions that govern international accounting standard setting, particularly the IASB and the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group which advises the Commission of the European Union on the adoption of IASB standards. A network analysis of the different committees and working groups of these two institutions demonstrates that financial sector actors wield substantially more influence than other categories of business actors within the governance of international accounting standard setting.

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