Heads Up—FASB overhauls guidance on presentation of financial statements for not-for-profit entities

On August 18, 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-14, which significantly changes the presentation requirements for financial statements of not-for-profit entities (NFPs). The amendments are intended to improve the guidance on net asset classification as well as the information presented in the financial statements and financial statement notes regarding liquidity, financial performance, and cash flows for NFPs. Specifically, the ASU addresses (1) the complexity and understandability of net asset classifications, (2) the lack of consistency in the type of information provided about expenses, and (3) inconsistencies in the reporting of (a) operating information in the statement of activities and (b) operating cash flows in the statement of cash flows.

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Main Provisions of the ASU

Net Assets

Under existing U.S. GAAP, three classes of net assets — unrestricted, temporarily restricted, and permanently restricted — are presented in the statement of financial position. However, in addition to total net assets, the ASU requires NFPs to present in the statement of financial position at the end of the period only two classes of net assets — net assets with donor restrictions and net assets without donor restrictions. See Appendix A for an example of how an NFP would adjust the presentation of net assets in its statement of financial position to reflect these two classes instead of the three classes required under current guidance.

Editor’s Note

The FASB decided that the complexity of distinguishing between permanent and temporary restrictions is unwarranted and that better information can be obtained from enhanced disclosures about the nature, amounts, and effects of the various types of donor-imposed restrictions, including information about the purposes for which the resources can be used and the time frame of their use.

Statement of Activities

The ASU requires an NFP’s presentation, in the statement of activities, of the change in each of the two new classes of net assets to be similar to its presentation under current guidance of the change in each of the three net asset classes. See Appendix B for a sample presentation of an NFP’s statement of activities that shows the two new subtotals required under the ASU.

Further, when reporting expenses, NFPs must disclose information about the nature and function of the expenses in accordance with their functional classification, such as major classes of program services and supporting activities.

Statement of Cash Flows

Under the ASU, an NFP that chooses to use the direct method of cash flow reporting is no longer required to present or disclose the indirect method reconciliation. NFPs will continue to have the option to present their statement of cash flows by using either the direct method or indirect method.

Reporting of Net Investment Returns and Reporting Expirations of

NFPs are no longer required to disclose the netted expenses when reporting investment returns. The ASU also limits the type of expenses that are appropriate to include in a report of net investment returns.

Editor’s Note

Since under the ASU NFPs no longer have to disclose netted expenses, the difficulties and costs associated with identifying embedded fees in investment expenses are eliminated.

Further, in reporting expirations of restrictions on gifts of cash or other assets to be used to acquire or construct a long-lived asset, entities must now use the placed-in-service approach when there are no explicit donor stipulations. The ASU thus eliminates the option under current guidance that allows entities to release the donor-imposed restriction over the estimated useful life of the acquired asset.


The ASU enhances the disclosure requirements for NFPs. As a result, such entities must present the following:

  • “Amounts and purposes of governing board designations, appropriations, and similar actions that result in self-imposed limits on the use of resources without donor-imposed restrictions as of the end of the period.”
  • “Composition of net assets with donor restrictions at the end of the period and how the restrictions affect the use of resources.”
  • “Qualitative information that communicates how an NFP manages its liquid resources available to meet cash needs for general expenditures within one year of the balance sheet date.”
  • “Quantitative information, either on the face of the balance sheet or in the notes, and additional qualitative information in the notes as necessary, that communicates the availability of an NFP’s financial assets at the balance sheet date to meet cash needs for general expenditures within one year of the balance sheet date.”
  • “Amounts of expenses by both their natural classification and their functional classification.”
  • “Method(s) used to allocate costs among program and support functions.”
  • “Underwater endowment funds, which include required disclosures of (1) an NFP’s policy, and any actions taken during the period, concerning appropriation from underwater endowment funds, (2) the aggregate fair value of such funds, (3) the aggregate of the original gift amounts (or level required by donor or law) to be maintained, and (4) the aggregate amount by which funds are underwater (deficiencies), which are to be classified as part of net assets with donor restrictions.”

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Volume 23, Issue 24 | September 12, 2016

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