Volume 11, No. 11

 

Rounding Up Stray SPE's:  FASB's New Approach:  If the investment world is lost in an ever-expanding universe of accounting scandals, then remember where the Big Bang started all of it: Enron. That company's artful use of special purpose entities, commonly known as SPE's, obscured transactions from the view of analysts and investors that otherwise might have made their hair stand on end. Since the Enron Big Bang, the FASB has been toiling at an interpretation (read: overhaul) of the existing generally accepted accounting principles that permitted Enron to squirrel away debt and related party transactions into such out-of-sight vehicles. Often accused of working in "galactic time," the FASB has put this project into overdrive: the exposure draft of the interpretation is now in the comment period, and it may well put SPEs back onto the books of companies that created them - unless they get wound down before they are required to be reported as part of the other firm.

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