FASB PROPOSES CLARIFICATIONS TO THE DEFINITION OF A BUSINESS
Guidance would improve financial reporting of acquisitions of nonfinancial assets
Norwalk, CT, November 23, 2015—The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today issued a proposed Accounting Standards Update (ASU)
intended to clarify the definition of a business with the objective of
adding guidance to assist organizations with evaluating whether
transactions should be accounted for as acquisitions (or disposals) of
assets or businesses. Stakeholders are encouraged to review and provide
comment on the proposal by January 22, 2016.
The definition of a business affects many areas of accounting, including
acquisitions, disposals, goodwill impairment, and consolidation.
However, many stakeholders have said that the current definition of a
business is applied too broadly, requiring many transactions to be
treated as businesses when they should be treated as assets. They also
noted that analyzing such transactions is costly and complex—concerns
that also were raised in connection with the Post-Implementation Review
Report on FASB Statement No. 141 (revised 2007), Business Combinations (Statement 141(R)).
The guidance in this proposed ASU would address these concerns by
providing a more robust framework for determining when a set of assets
and activities is a business. The framework would provide more
consistency in the application of the guidance, reduce the costs of its
application, and make the definition of a business more operable.
More information about the proposed ASU—including a high-level FASB in Focus overview—is available at www.fasb.org.
About the Financial Accounting Standards Board
Established in 1973, the FASB is the independent, private-sector,
not-for-profit organization based in Norwalk, Connecticut, that
establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for public and
private companies and not-for-profit organizations that follow Generally
Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The FASB is recognized by the
Securities and Exchange Commission as the designated accounting standard
setter for public companies. FASB standards are recognized as
authoritative by many other organizations, including state Boards of
Accountancy and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The FASB
develops and issues financial accounting standards through a transparent
and inclusive process intended to promote financial reporting that
provides useful information to investors and others who use financial
reports. The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) supports and oversees
the FASB. For more information, visit www.fasb.org.