Volume 26, No. 13

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants held its annual “Current SEC & PCAOB Developments Conference” in Washington, DC from December 4th through 6th. CPAs of all sorts - auditors, preparers, regulators - teemed the conference center in search of camaraderie and gossip, and most importantly, information from the speakers. Those speakers came from the major accounting regulators and standard setters: the SEC and PCAOB, the FASB, and the IASB.

In mere days, everyone who attended will be shuffling through their yearly 10-K moves. The external auditors will audit away, and sign off on the filings investors will study. Accountants and auditors alike seek to learn from the conference about the limits of their own SEC reporting knowledge, and fill those holes in their knowledge base. Added bonus: if you pay attention now to what keeps the SEC busy, you just might be able to avoid an SEC “love letter” later.

Investor benefits from the conference: Before the flood of 10-Ks arrive, it’s good to know what’s at issue in the accounting world. To be a good investor, you have to be skeptical - and to be skeptical, you need some accounting chops. This conference helps to grow them.

Many of the technical issues covered are worthy of investor attention. One theme at the conference was familiar: “Get ready.” There’s been a long runway for many new standards becoming effective in the next few years, and the regulators have been preaching to companies to get ready for years. That preaching became a full-throated roar at the conference, and will likely remain at high volume in the next twelve months.

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