Note Disclosures

FASAB Contact: Grace Wu, WuG@fasab.gov, 202-512-7377

Project Objective:

The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) is undertaking this project primarily because recent FASAB survey results, as well as other accounting standards boards’ activities, suggest that improvements in disclosures are necessary. Note disclosures are an integral part of financial statements. Users rely on them to understand the financial statements and reach conclusions about the operating performance and stewardship of government resources. However, the disclosure requirements have accumulated on a Statement-by-Statement basis over many years. An overall review would improve balance across the disclosures and enhance their understandability to readers.

During the February 2017 meeting, the Board agreed to consider opportunities for streamlining note disclosures and looking at the disclosure principles. To accomplish this task, the Board agreed to a top-down approach: first to develop a framework by concentrating on the principles and the materiality level to guide disclosures, then to identify important individual topics to address next.

The primary objectives of this project are to improve the relevance, clarity, consistency, and comparability of note disclosures among the federal entities. The project is divided into two phases:

  • Phase I – Identify and develop a set of principles for disclosure to be used by the Board to reduce repetition and improve relevance and consistency in note disclosure
  • Phase II – Use the principles to modify the existing note disclosure requirements for component reporting entities to improve the disclosures’ usefulness and effectiveness

To accomplish these objectives, the project will address the following:

  • Research and recommend a principles-based framework
  • Evaluate how judgments can be used to increase relevance and minimize burden for note disclosures
  • Research and recommend specific improvements in clarity, consistency, and comparability of note disclosures among the component reporting agencies
  • Develop and propose amendments to existing FASAB guidance related to component reporting entity note disclosure requirements

A working group was formed in August 2017 to perform the aforementioned research. If you are interested in joining the working group, please contact Ms. Wu.

Disclosure Working Group Roster as of 9/18/2017

HISTORY OF BOARD DELIBERATIONS

August 31, 2017 Board Meeting

On August 31, 2017, the Board initiated an online note disclosure survey. The objective of the note disclosure survey was to solicit ideas for improving note disclosures and identifying areas where FASAB’s guidance could aid in streamlining the reporting of note disclosures in financial reports.

February 22, 2017 Board Meeting

During its February 2017 meeting, the Board approved a project to review and streamline existing note disclosures. To streamline note disclosures, the Board intends to review the materiality guidance and identify and develop a set of principles for note disclosures.

Issue Paper for February 22, 2017 – Tab E (PDF)