Friday, 2 July 2010

Capital maintenance to be discussed in Measurement phase

The IASB and FASB are jointly updating and converging their Frameworks. The joint Conceptual Framework project has eight phases, one of which is the Measurement phase.

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The Boards held roundtable discussions on measurement during January and February 2007. No public Discussion Paper has yet been presented for comment.

Reading the reports about the items discussed thus far in the Measurement Phase I noticed that the discussions are almost entirely about variable real value non-monetary items (property, plant, equipment, stock, shares, financial instruments, etc.) and almost nothing about monetary items and constant real value non-monetary items (all items in the income statement, all items in shareholders equity, trade debtors, trade creditors, taxes payable, taxes receivable, etc).

I emailed Kevin McBeth, the FASB Project Manager responsible for the Measurement Phase in the joint project and asked him in which phase the Concepts of Capital and Capital Maintenance are going to be discussed.

He responded by email:

“I cannot speak for the Boards with respect to your query. I can only say that early on in the measurement phase the staff suggested that capital and capital maintenance be discussed in the measurement phase, as it was in the original FASB Conceptual Framework. However, to date the Boards have not taken a decision on where, or even whether, those topics will be included in the converged framework.” (my bold lettering).

I then put the same question to the US Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Ron Lott, the FASB director who is responsible for the joint FASB-IASB Conceptual Framework project responded by email:

“We are of course familiar with paragraphs 102 – 110 of the IASB Framework as well as paragraphs 45-48 of FASB Concepts Statement 5. Although not labeled as such, capital maintenance ideas have been raised at various points in the discussions of measurement concepts and will continue to be discussed until the board makes decisions about measurement concepts.

We do not know yet whether there will be a section in the yet-to-be-completed measurement concepts chapter labeled capital maintenance, but the concepts will almost certainly be discussed.”

Kevin McBeth stated the following by email:

“I believe that you may have misunderstood the discussions the FASB and IASB have had about measurement. Those discussions have used examples of various items, some of which you refer to as variable real value non-monetary items. That may have led you to believe that some of your concerns are being ignored. However, the scope of the measurement phase of the Conceptual Framework project does not exclude the items you refer to as constant real value non-monetary items. The Boards are concerned about the effects of selecting measurements on all elements of the financial statements.

Much remains to be done on this project. Although future discussions probably will not use the terminology and classification scheme that you are espousing, there is reason to expect that they will address the items of concern to you.” (my bold lettering).

The Concepts of Capital and Capital Maintenance will thus be discussed in the Measurement Phase.
Kindest regards

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Nicolaas Smith
Copyright © 2010 Nicolaas J Smith

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