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Mark-to-Madness

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For many years, US GAAP has been the bible by which CPAs have lived their professional lives. As reported in the Washington Post, Reps Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex.) and Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.) pressured Robert Herz, chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), to change the mark-to-market standard quickly amid accusations by banking lobbyists that the standard helped exacerbate the current financial crisis. If financial institutions follow the guidelines developed by FASB, they will be in conformity with GAAP but they'll be out of touch with what investors want and need. The usefulness of financial reporting goes beyond merely satisfying the FASB's letter of the law, to providing information on which investors can base economic decisions.

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