Financial Accounting Blog

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Stock Options. FASB voted to delay by six months the new rule for expensing stock options. Business Week thinks this delay may give opponents of the rule time to regroup.
In FASB's defense, Chairman Robert Herz says the delay was strictly practical, since many companies were unprepared to tackle another major regulatory change. Says Herz: "We have clearly heard from preparers, auditors, and the SEC staff that the first quarter of 2005 is crunch time."

In an attempt to appear responsive to the needs of Corporate America, FASB may have laid the groundwork for an even bigger expensing battle next year, when the make-up of Congress, the SEC, and FASB itself might be more conducive to anti-expensing arguments.

The move gives politically powerful opponents a chance to regroup and mount an even more vigorous post-election charge in Congress, where the House has already passed an anti-expensing bill and more than half the Senate wants the Securities & Exchange Commission to intervene on the valuation issue. In fact, the chief obstacle to a Senate vote on expensing is Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs.