(l. to r.) GASB Chairman David A. Vaudt, FAF President & CEO Teresa S. Polley, FASB Chairman Russell G. Golden
The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF), the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), working jointly, have developed a strategic plan to articulate the long-range vision and mission of each of the groups and the organization collectively.
This strategic plan was published in April 2015. Since that time, the organization has executed against the action steps described in the plan as well as action steps to support the plan’s four main strategic goals (see below). In 2018, to help ensure the continuing relevance of the 2015 plan, we undertook a thorough internal review of that plan, including dialogue with our advisory councils. Following this review, we concluded that the four strategic goals still largely reflect the main objectives for FAF, FASB and GASB activities. We considered whether to undertake a more holistic and external approach to revisiting the 2015 plan. Because the organization expects to have new leadership beginning in 2020 when new chairs take the helm at both the FASB and the GASB, we decided that it would be more appropriate to revisit the strategic plan in a more comprehensive way once the new chairs are in place. Until then, the organization will continue to pursue activities that support our current strategic goals, informed and enhanced, as appropriate, by the 2018 review.
As part of our review of the 2015 plan, for example, we considered stakeholder responses to the FAF’s 2016 brand reputation survey. One clear message received was that educating stakeholders about recently issued standards should be a key priority of the standard-setting Boards. The 2015 strategic plan does include education-related action steps; thus, the standard-setting Boards will continue to enhance their efforts in that area.
Our collective vision is to be a recognized leader in financial accounting and reportingThe strategic plan states that the FAF is the independent, private-sector, not-for-profit organization responsible for establishing and improving financial accounting and reporting standards for companies—both public and private, not-for-profit organizations, and state and local governments. The FAF comprises the FAF Board of Trustees, and the two standard-setting Boards (the FASB and the GASB), supported by the FAF management team.
Our collective mission is to establish and improve financial accounting and reporting standards to provide useful information to investors and other users of financial reports; and educate stakeholders on how to most effectively understand and implement those standards.
The 2015 strategic plan affirms the discrete, individual roles of the groups comprising the organization, while describing the overarching vision and mission that we share. The plan recognizes that the FASB and the GASB are solely responsible for developing and establishing financial accounting and reporting standards. The plan also recognizes that the FAF Trustees are responsible for protecting the independence of the standard-setting process (while also respecting that independence), for oversight of the FASB and the GASB, and for governance of the organization as a whole. In support of the mission and activities of the FASB, the GASB, and the FAF Trustees, the FAF management team provides strategic counsel and services that support the mission and activities of the FASB and the GASB.
Together, according to our specific roles, we work to achieve our collective objective of developing the highest-quality financial accounting standards—standards that promote financial reporting that provides investors, lenders, taxpayers, public officials, and other users of financial statements with a clear understanding of the financial performance and position of companies—both public and private; not-for-profit organizations; and state and local governments. The plan recognizes that a second critical element of our collective mission is to foster better understanding among stakeholders—those who use, prepare, and audit financial statements—as to how those standards should be applied and implemented.
The strategic plan also describes four goals that, if achieved, will enable us to realize our collective vision and fulfill our collective mission:
- Practicing and promoting continued excellence in standard setting
- Demonstrating a commitment to leadership in standard setting
- Building and maintaining trust with stakeholders
- Promoting public discourse on current and future financial reporting issues