The Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) established a User Advisory Council in October 2004 to increase financial statement user participation in the accounting standard-setting process. The objective of accounting standards is to meet the needs of users of financial statements by providing the information they require to make informed decisions. However, users of financial information are a disparate and widely dispersed group, and they generally do not participate as actively in the standard-setting process as do other stakeholders like preparers and auditors.
The purpose of the Council is to assist the AcSB in understanding how users, including investors and investment professionals, credit granters in financial institutions, equity and credit analysts, and rating agencies, use financial information. The Council is also intended to assist the AcSB by providing advice on standard-setting priorities, and on specific agenda projects.
Feedback from the user community will assist the AcSB in developing high-quality accounting standards that provide useful and reliable information at reasonable cost. The AcSB evaluates all proposals in terms of their expected costs and benefits. The views of the Council are expected to be particularly helpful to the AcSB in evaluating the potential benefits of proposed new and revised disclosures.
In the early phases of a project, the AcSB expects the Council would provide its views to help identify issues, alternative approaches, and priorities. As a project moves through the deliberative process, the Council will be consulted on key issues, particularly as they affect users of financial statements. After the AcSB has issued an exposure draft, the AcSB might consult the Council regarding comments received from users and others.
Membership of the User Advisory Council will generally comprise a Chair, Vice-Chair and 20-30 professionals representing a variety of investment and analytical disciplines. Barring unusual circumstances, the Council meets three times a year. Meetings are not open to the public.
The AcSB is keen to hear from and discuss with constituents any concerns with or observations on current accounting standards, items on its technical agenda and potential agenda items. The AcSB would also like to identify significant accounting issues on which users are of the view that the AcSB should provide additional or revised guidance. If possible, the AcSB would like to enhance the information currently available to users.