WASHINGTON The head standards-setter for the accounting industry is criticizing a legislative effort to postpone the implementation of a ban on pooling-of-interests merger accounting.
On Tuesday, Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif., and Rep. Calvin Dooley, D-Calif., introduced a bill that would postpone for one year the Financial Accounting Standards Boards plan to ban the technique.
The potential legislation must be seen for what it is legislative interference with the FASBs ability to do its job, said Edmund L. Jenkins, the boards chairman. The bill would directly hamper the FASBs independence and would have a serious and negative impact upon consumers of financial information, he said.
The pooling method allows companies to account for a merger by combining their assets. High-technology companies, which carry few assets on their balance sheets, use the method because much of their value falls into the category of goodwill. The method is also popular because transactions do not trigger capital gains taxes for shareholders.
The FASB prefers the purchase method, under which the acquiring company in a merger recognizes goodwill the amount it paid that exceeds the other companys book value and depreciates it over a period of years.
The board, whose statements are the basis of generally accepted accounting principles, has said that it expects to adopt a rule to ban the pooling method in the first quarter. That plan has also run into opposition from the Senate.
In a letter dated Sept. 29 and released Tuesday, 13 Senators warned Mr. Jenkins that a ban on pooling could have a negative effect on the economy.
Innovation in the high-technology sector is the driving force behind Americas remarkable economic prosperity, the senators wrote. The boards proposal will almost certainly diminish market innovation.
In a less controversial move Friday, FASB released its Statement 140, which outlines how to account for securitizations and other transactions in which an institution transfers an asset but retains a financial interest in it.
The rule is substantially similar to Statement 125, issued in 1996, but has been updated to recognize recent innovations in the securitization market.