A Framework for Financial Reporting Standards: Issues and a Suggested Model
26 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2009 Last revised: 10 Jun 2013
Date Written: July 30, 2009
Standard setters and most academics maintain that accounting standards ought to rest on a set of guiding principles stated explicitly in a “conceptual framework.” The FASB and IASB are currently involved in a project to refine conceptual framework documents developed earlier. At this point, it is not clear what their final product will look like; its defining characteristics as well as the substantive content can only be surmised. This paper addresses the issues that FASB and IASB face, including the question of what a conceptual framework should be all about. First, we suggest characteristics that a conceptual framework ought to exhibit. Most of these suggestions are based on our critique of the existing framework and the FASB-IASB work in progress. Second, we present a model framework that meets our criteria. We emphasize up front that this framework is quite explicit. It goes to the heart of what a framework document should do: it places specific restrictions on what constitutes admissible accounting standards. The purpose of our effort is to stimulate broad discussion of alternative approaches to foundational documents and to offer a specific example of such an alternative approach.
Keywords: FASB, IASB, Conceptual Framework, Accounting Standards, Financial Reporting
JEL Classification: M40, M41, M44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation