The changing face of UK GAAP
Accounting standards first arrived on the UK scene in 1970 when the Accounting Standards Committee (ASC) was set up with the specific objective of developing definitive standards for financial reporting: Statements of Standard Accounting Practice (SSAPs), explains Paul Gee.
Two decades later, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) was set up in 1990, and ASC was replaced by the prolific Accounting Standards Board (ASB) which subsequently issued 30 Financial Reporting Standards (FRSs).
These covered a broad range of areas, some mainstream (for example, FRS 3, reporting financial performance and the FRSs on consolidations and acquisition accounting) and some more specialised.
ASB issued two particularly important standards unique to UK financial reporting: FRS 5, reporting the substance of transactions; and FRSSE, the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities. Both have had a significant impact, and the FRSSE will be retained in the short-term at least, within the new UK GAAP regime.
ASB also had to get to grips with some particularly thorny issues including: Goodwill (FRS 10), pension cost accounting (FRS 17 which replaced the discredited SSAP 24); and deferred tax (FRS 19, following earlier controversial standards SSAP 11 and SSAP 15). ASB chairman, Sir David Tweedie, was always up for a challenge!
But in recent years...