Quarterly Accounting Roundup: First quarter — 2020

Published on: 27 Mar 2020

This issue of Quarterly Accounting Roundup discusses notable accounting and financial reporting developments that occurred in the first quarter of 2020.

The headlines for the first quarter of 2020 have been dominated by the emergence of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The pandemic is affecting major economic and financial markets, and virtually all industries are facing challenges associated with the economic conditions resulting from efforts to address it. For example, many entities in the travel, hospitality, leisure, and retail industries have seen sharp declines in revenues due to regulatory and organizational mandates (e.g., “shelter in place” mandates, school closures) and voluntary changes in consumer behavior (e.g., “social distancing”). Entities must carefully consider their unique circumstances and risk exposures when analyzing how recent events may affect their financial reporting.

The SEC and PCAOB have also been quick to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, jointly releasing a statement on how audit quality can be affected by COVID-19. In addition, the SEC issued an order that grants certain companies “a 45-day extension to file certain disclosure reports that would otherwise have been due between March 1 and July 1, 2020.” The staff of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance (the “Division”) has also issued guidance reflecting its views on disclosure considerations for companies that have been affected by COVID-19. Further, the Commission has released guidance related to annual meetings, proxy materials, and other matters to help issuers, shareholders, and other market participants affected by COVID-19 meet their obligations under the federal securities laws.

Other recent highlights include the following:

  • The FASB’s issuance of Accounting Standards Updates (ASUs) that (1) improve the guidance for financial instruments; (2) clarify the interaction between the accounting requirements for investments in equity securities and those for equity method investments and certain derivative instruments; (3) simplify income tax accounting; and (4) provide optional expedients and exceptions to certain accounting requirements to facilitate the transition away from interbank offered rates.
  • The SEC’s release of (1) final rules that expand the qualifications for nonaccelerated filer status and simplify the disclosure requirements related to guarantors and collateralizations of securities and (2) a proposed rule that would modernize MD&A and related disclosure requirements.
  • The International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB®) publication of amendments to IAS 1 that clarify the classification of liabilities.


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