Setting Standards for Financial Reporting: FASB and the Struggle for Control of a Critical Process


An overview of how a new arrangement for setting financial reporting standards in the private sector came about, and why. Van Riper documents the emergence of a schism between advocates of neutrality in financial reporting standards and those who emphasize "social consequences", and the clashes between traditional views and new insights. He describes the efforts by powerful interests to block change, and examines the reasons why standard setting gives rise to contention and controversy. His recommendations to ensure standard setting in the private sector will be of special interest, not only to accounting professionals but to others throughout the finance, investment, and banking industries and to corporate management. The book begins with an overview of how and why the present self-regulatory arrangement for setting standards for financial reporting in the private sector came about in 1973. A brief description of the new structure is followed by a discussion of the essential elements of meaningful self-regulation. A schism emerged between advocates of neutrality and objectivity in standard setting and those who think the primary concern should be for possible economic and social consequences. Early clashes between traditional views and newer insights are described, setting the stage for an account of serious resistance to change. Powerful interests mount determined efforts to thwart the standard setters, undercutting not only self-regulation, but also the intent of the federal securities acts of 1933 and 1934. The practical and philosophical bases for the opposing views are examined, and recommendations are presented for ensuring continuation of private-sector standard setting despitethe intensity of these views.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Edward Gibbon
  • Bob Sprouse
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 1994


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