From the Chair
By Joel Black, GASB Chair

What I Learned on My First Listening Tour


As I write my first From the Chair column, I have been in my role as GASB chair for about four months now. One of the things I looked forward to doing over my initial period as chair was meeting with each one of our 30 primary stakeholder groups to understand, from their perspective, the key issues that are top of mind for their organizations.

I’m pleased to tell you, thanks to many of you, I have officially completed my 2020 get-to-know-you sessions. I thought this column would be a good opportunity to share with you a little about what I heard from you in those meetings.

Former GASB Chair Dave Vaudt was kind enough to stay around and help make the introductions in many of those meetings and I’d like to thank him for taking the time to do that with me. I’d also like to thank GASB Vice Chair Jeff Previdi for helping with the introductory meetings and the work he does in maintaining relationships with our stakeholders.

As many of you know, making connections, and maintaining and strengthening relationships with you was one of the centerpieces of Dave’s time at the GASB. That work has been a real benefit to all of us in the governmental accounting and standards-setting community.
 

Key Things I Heard from You


The thing I heard almost unanimously from everyone was that Dave did a great job staying connected and keeping lines of communication open through his outreach—and that you’d like that to continue.

I am committed to maintaining the dialogue with you. Keeping in regular contact with each other and having the kind of relationship where trust has been established and we can pick up the phone (or jump on a ZOOM meeting) and talk through issues when they come up is essential.
Keeping in regular contact with each other and having the kind of relationship where trust has been established and we can pick up the phone (or jump on a ZOOM meeting) and talk through issues when they come up is essential.
 

The other message that came through loud and clear is that the pandemic has left everyone with their hands even more full than usual. Now several months in, circumstances aren’t necessarily getting any easier. Issues continue to evolve as the crisis period carries on.

We’ve done three core things that are meant to help alleviate the burden on you from an accounting perspective.

First, we’ve delayed the effective dates for existing standards that would have been coming into effect—and extended the transition periods for new standards.

Second, we’ve created an Emergency Toolbox to let you know how certain areas of guidance that you may not have had to deal with in the past may now apply during this period. The related guidance for this list of accounting topics is easily accessed from the on-line Toolbox.

Third, any proposal we’ve issued in the last months—and those that are coming up—feature extended comment periods. Our mission is important, and we take it seriously. Your mission is also extremely important and is essential to all of our communities in today’s environment. We want to hear from you on our proposals, but only when it’s feasible considering what else is on your plate. Please take care of all of those things first and let us hear from you when time allows.
 

Final Thoughts


Other articles in this issue of the GASB Outlook highlight some of the key issues we’d like to learn your perspective on—foremost among them are the proposals we have out for comment on Revenue and Expense Recognition and the Financial Reporting Model. To help get you up to speed on those issues, we’re offering educational tools, including a series of short videos for both projects—as well as hosting separate webinars, on each project, for users of financial statements and for preparers and auditors.

Finally, when accounting and financial reporting issues arise, my door (virtually and, eventually, physically) is always open to talk about them with you. All of us at the GASB value the input that you provide, which improves our process and the standards we evaluate and create. We are listening.

I look forward to connecting with you again soon.