In the regular issue of the FASB Action Alert (February 11) that comes into my inbox, there was a link to a document called “FASB Update, Financial Statement User Edition.”  I haven’t seen this particular form of the FASB Update before; perhaps I’m just not aware of this series.  Here’s the link.  It provides a short (2-pages) description of two projects that are apparently heading toward proposals in the coming months: the Financial Statement Presentation project and Accounting for Insurance Contracts.  It also contains an interesting fact check on the widely-cited assertion that U.S. GAAP consists of 25,000 pages of rules, while IFRS has just 2,500 pages.  I’ve seen that statistic mentioned numerous times, most often by supporters of U.S. adoption of IFRS (and by members of the IASB themselves).  It turns out that the printed version of the FASB Codification fits within approximately 2,900 pages.

The end of the document includes a brief description of this communication channel and refers to it as a “new form of outreach.”  It is clearly aimed at trying to engage the user community in the standard setting dialogue.  I think that this is a nice way to try to connect with users and hope that it gets widely read.   

This actually reminds me of a previous series published by the FASB that was called the “Financial Accounting Series Status Report,” wherein among other things, the FASB published brief synopses of academic accounting articles that were of relevance to standard-setting issues.  In a recent conversation with Jim Leisenring, IASB Board member and Liaison to the FASB, he mentioned that he was going to try to see if he could get that series reinstated.  In the interest of full disclosure, my dissertation synopsis appeared in an early issue of this document.  Nevertheless, I believe that this is a potentially very useful vehicle for getting the work of the academic community more widely communicated with the financial reporting and standard setting community.   I would encourage the FASB to indeed get it going again and would encourage academics to volunteer to contribute to such an outlet.