Conceptual Framework: Recognition
Project Description: The objective of this project is to develop recognition criteria for whether information should be reported in state and local governmental financial statements and when that information should be reported. This project ultimately will lead to a Concepts Statement on recognition of elements of financial statements.
Removed from the technical plan
- Accounting and Financial Reporting Issues
- Project History
- Recent Minutes
- Minutes Archive
- Board Decisions to Date
- Project staff:
Conceptual Framework: Recognition—Project Plan
Background: The Board frequently must decide whether an item of information should be recognized in the financial statements and when such an item should be recognized. In the past, the Board has relied on the conceptual framework of other standards setters and analogous examples from practice or previous standards to make such decisions. This method of making decisions tends to lead to certain inconsistencies in financial reporting standards and could result in too much reliance being placed on accounting concepts that were not developed for a governmental environment.
Thus, the project on recognition is needed to provide the GASB with conceptual guidance as to when elements of financial statements should be reported in specific financial statements. This will entail developing recognition criteria and will include a discussion of when elements of financial statements are recognized using different measurement focuses. For the GASB to make consistent financial reporting decisions, it is necessary to have (1) definitions of the elements of financial statements, (2) a basis for determining when elements of financial statements should be recognized in the financial statements, and (3) a basis for determining which measurement approach (for example, initial amounts or remeasured amounts) is appropriate for reporting the elements. The GASB issued a Concepts Statement on the definitions for the elements of financial statements in 2007 and on measurement of elements of financial statements in 2014. A conceptual framework project on recognition is necessary to complete the conceptual basis for reporting items in traditional financial statements.
Accounting and Financial Reporting Issues. The project is considering the following issues:
- What messages are financial statements conceptually attempting to convey? (In other words, what is the story that the financial statements attempt to communicate, or what questions should be answered by reading different financial statements and financial statements prepared using different measurement focuses? For example, the statement of cash flows answers the question, “What happened to cash during the year?”)
- What is the relationship among objectives of financial reporting (user needs), financial statements, and measurement focuses at the conceptual level?
- How does when an element is recognized affect the meaning that is to be conveyed by a particular financial statement?
- What are the fundamental recognition criteria necessary to report an element in a financial statement?
- Pre-agenda research approved: August 2005
- Combined with measurement project on current technical agenda: December 2005
- Task force established? Yes, but replaced by the task force appointed for the reexamination of the financial reporting model
- Deliberations began: December 2007
- Preliminary Views approved: June 2011
- Comment period: July–September 2011
- Public hearings held: October 2011
- User interviews conducted regarding Preliminary Views: October–November 2011
- Separated from measurement project: December 2011
- Project placed on hold pending financial reporting model reexamination: January 2012
- Deliberations recommenced in conjunction with the Financial Reporting Model Reexamination project: October 2015
- Preliminary Views approved: September 2018.
- Comment period: September 2018–February 2019
- Public hearings and user forums held: March 2019
- Redeliberations began: June 2019
- Exposure Draft approved: June 2020
- Comment period: June 2020–February 2021
- Public hearings and user forums held: March and April 2021
- Redeliberations began: May 2021
- Removed from the technical plan: August 2023
Conceptual Framework: Recognition—Recent Minutes
Minutes of Meetings, August 9–10, 2023
The Board reviewed the tentative decisions reached in this project in light of the tentative decision reached in the Financial Reporting Model project at its June 2023 meeting. The Board decided that it will not further pursue the tentative decisions made in this project.
Next, the Board discussed whether it believes that a final Concepts Statement on recognition of elements of financial statements should be issued. The Board decided that a final Concepts Statement on recognition of elements of financial statements should not be issued.
Conceptual Framework: Recognition—Board Decisions to Date
The Board decided the following:
- Prior tentative Board decisions reached in this project should not be pursued further.
- A final Concepts Statement on recognition of elements of financial statements should not be issued.