Volume 5, No. 10

 

Getting A Grip On Derivatives: The FASB's Proposed Rules:  The derivatives-related debacles of the past several years have illustrated the weaknesses of financial reporting when it comes to these slippery tools of the corporate treasurer. The accounting literature has often been non-existent, and in areas where it does exist, it is sometimes contradictory. As a result, most derivatives have never been well-displayed in financial statements. Disclosures about derivatives have improved markedly in the past several years, however. After many iterations, the Financial Accounting Standards Board has drafted what may become the first comprehensive standard for derivatives accounting. Bottom line effects: requiring the use of fair values for derivatives will finally make all of them visible on the balance sheet, while increasing the volatility of stockholders' equity and possibly, the volatility of earnings.

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