From the Chairman's Desk
By David A. Vaudt, GASB Chairman

I’d like to talk a little bit about an important issue that was recently brought to our attention and how we came to a decision on it with the help of input and feedback from a broad range of stakeholders.

In February and early March, two separate stakeholders groups asked the GASB to indefinitely delay the implementation of the revised pension standards approved in 2012. Governments are required to implement the new standards for fiscal years beginning July 1, 2014, and later, which means some governments have already begun to prepare for implementation.

In essence, the stakeholders argued that until certain auditing procedures set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants have been applied to the new pension standards for a sufficient period, their members run the risk of receiving modified audit opinions on their financial statements.

Ultimately, the Board believed that moving ahead with implementation was in the best interests of all stakeholders.
Considering that the effective date was just four short months away, and that all formal requests to reconsider an existing pronouncement must be discussed at an open public meeting, the Board acted promptly to address the request at its March teleconference meeting.

In the days after receiving the request, the Board discussed the issue with the members of the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council, who broadly represent the GASB’s key stakeholders. In addition, the GASB staff researched how many governments might be impacted, and just what that impact might mean for those governments. Also, the staff conducted interviews with financial statement preparers, auditors, and users to obtain insight on, among other things, how a modified opinion might be viewed, and what the implications of that might be.

Once members of the Board had considered all the input and feedback from the stakeholders mentioned above and others, they voted unanimously not to delay implementation of the pension standards. Ultimately, the Board believed that moving ahead with implementation was in the best interests of all stakeholders.

We take requests from our stakeholders very seriously and strive to be as responsive as is reasonably possible.
As you know, the GASB is committed to considering the various viewpoints on an issue before we establish standards. What I hope this example underscores is that our commitment continues even after a final Statement has been issued. We take requests from our stakeholders very seriously and strive to be as responsive as is reasonably possible.

It is important to note that just because we did not agree in this case with the stakeholder request, that does not mean that we were not listening. When the Board decides on an approach that does not coincide with a stakeholder’s position, we believe it is very important that we share the reasoning behind that decision. You can read more about this particular request and the Board’s reasoning in not granting the delay in more detail in the Stakeholder Focus article in this issue.

And, as always, we look forward to hearing from you.



David A. Vaudt
GASB Chair