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John Exline shares his experience as a new member of the FASB’s Small Business Advisory Committee

The following article was contributed by John Exline, CMA, CPA, former chair of IMA’s Small Business and Regulatory Affairs Committee.

On December 1, the newly reformed FASB Small Business Advisory Committee (SBAC) convened in Norwalk, Conn. The SBAC will serve as a standing resource for the FASB in obtaining input from smaller public companies on existing guidance, current and proposed technical agenda projects, and longer-term issues affecting small companies and organizations. The group has origins in the Private Company Council (PCC), which was established to improve private company accounting. In the first years of the PCC, the FASB felt that they were not giving small public companies their proper consideration so they reconvened the SBAC, but with the specific and more limited mission of representing small public companies. As the former chair of the IMA Small Business and Regulatory Affairs Committee, I’m happy to see renewed interest in issues that impact small to medium-sized organizations.

The night before the meeting, the FASB hosted a meet-and-greet at the hotel. I visited with Russ Golden, the Chair of the Board, and several of the committee members. My first thought was “These are some of the best and brightest minds in accounting today; what am I doing here?” I had to pinch myself least I get heady over the group and remind myself that I was appointed not because of my knowledge, but because of my involvement with IMA®’s (Institute of Management Accountant) Small Business Finance and Regulatory Affairs Committee (SBFRC). I was carrying the voice of 80,000 members, many of whom work in small public companies or have small public companies as clients.

Leading up to the first meeting, I contacted several people within IMA and my network who I knew were involved with small public companies or who were the auditors of small public companies to get their input. I got some input but I felt like I needed more. In the future, hope more people will send along their comments and opinions so I can do my best to represent our constituency. If you have an interest in being involved, please contact me at jexline01@cox.net.

The first meeting began with 14 of the 15 members present. We had several members of the FASB staff, a couple of guests from the SEC, and one observer from the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF). The morning primarily covered roles, responsibilities, and expectations of the committee members. We broke for lunch and then reconvened. The afternoon session was open to the public and streamed live on the FASB’s website. We added all seven FASB members and a total of nine staff; the room was pretty full.

The first topic on the agenda was the FASB’s Invitation to Comment – Agenda Consultation. Time permitted us to only cover two elements: distinguishing liabilities from equity, and financial performance reporting and cash flows. The second topic discussed during the meeting was Disclosure Framework. The third item on the agenda was an open discussion of small public company considerations. To read minutes from the meeting and for additional information about the SBAC, please visit the FASB’s website at www.fasb.org.

Despite the initial nervous excitement, participating in the inaugural SBAC meeting was a rewarding experience. While there will be a great deal of work, I am honored to represent the interests of small business and look forward to future meeting with the committee and FASB.

To learn more about IMA’s SBFRC, please contact Linda Devonish-Mills, CMA, CPA, CAE, IMA’s director of technical accounting activities; or visit IMA’s website at https://www.imanet.org/about-ima/advocacy/small-business-financial-and-regulatory-affairs-committee.