United States: Stock options get political (again)

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19 Feb 2003

Members of the US Congress are lining up for and against the recognition of the fair value of stock options as employee compensation expense.

Members of Congress have sent letters to the FASB In Favour (PDF 460k) and Against (PDF 1,354k) expense accrual. The IASB has Proposed that all share-based payment transactions (including employee options) should be recognised in the financial statements, using a fair value measurement basis. An expense should be recognised when the goods or services received are consumed. The same recognition and measurement standards would apply to both public and non-public companies. The US FASB has invited comments on the IASB proposal. The current US standard (Statement 123) gives companies an option, in most cases, to accrue an expense or to disclose in the notes the amount that would have been accrued. Both of the Congressional letters refer to the IASB proposal.

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