Nobody wants accounting to get any more arcane, least of all commercial lenders. Untangling a small-business borrower's financials is hard enough already.

A new effort to streamline financial reporting could help credit officers make decisions without studying mountains of footnote-laden documents. The Financial Reporting Framework for Small and Medium-Sized Entities, a set of standards proposed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, is touted as a simpler method to assess the health of private companies, which could have the added benefit of stimulating lending.

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