If you read our ABOUT page at the top menu of the FASRI website, you will see that FASRI doesn’t just lead discussions about accounting research (as fascinating as that may be).  We also actively support researchers who are willing to work with FASB staff to conduct original research studies.  At next week’s Round Table (11am ET Wednesday, Sept 2), I will be discussing FASRI’s first completed research project on Financial Statement Presentation (with Frank Hodge, Pat Hopkins and Kristi Rennekamp).  I’ll talk about the accounting and research topics, of course, but I will also be talking about the challenges and benefits of working with FASB on research projects, and the support that researchers can expect.  Support can range from helping researchers get access to subjects (if you want to conduct an experiment or survey with experienced analysts, investors, managers or other FASB constituents) to getting financial support for research costs … and even stipends for researchers.

I’ll be the first to admit the challenges to working on academic research with FASB staff.  After all, our interests aren’t entirely aligned: while both academics and staff want to conduct research that can help FASB with its deliberations, academics also want their papers to end up in top-tier peer-reviewed outlets (e.g., The Accounting Review). Timing can also be a challenge, and there are circumstances where the pace of Board deliberations force us to ‘hurry up and wait.’

Despite the challenges, we have worked out a number of the kinks in this system.

Since I mentioned challenges above, let me also emphasize the two key benefits we enjoyed from working closely with staff:

  • FASB was essential in securing the participation of 60 highly experienced credit analysts to devote 90 minutes to a very challenging task.
  • FASB staff helped us identify specific questions that would be important in deliberations by the time our research would be complete.  From that set of questions, the academic researchers selected some that would also make contributions to extant literature.

Looking ahead, FASRI is likely to be targeting four projects:

  • Revenue Recognition.  The FASB and IASB have issued Preliminary Views on Revenue Recognition in Contracts with Customers, and expect to publish an exposure draft in 2010.
  • Disclosure Framework.  On July 8, 2009, the FASB chairman announced (press release) the addition of a new agenda project aimed at establishing an overarching framework intended to make financial statement disclosures more effective, coordinated, and less redundant.  The FASB has not published an expected data for a Discussion Paper or Exposure Draft.
  • Leases.  The FASB and IASB have issued Leases:  Preliminary Views, and expects to publish an exposure draft in 2010.
  • Measurement.  The FASB and IASB have addressed measurement issues in a number of standards and staff positions, and measurement remains a key topic in the revision of the Conceptual Framework.

We will be providing more info on all of these projects through our Round Tables; drop me an email if you are interesting in getting involved.