The Financial Executives Research Foundation mission is simple, according to Jim Wail, a FERF trustee and an active member of the FERF Research Committee: It should focus on the practical needs of senior financial executives.
Indeed, according to Wall during the FERF Research Committee session last July, "The usefulness of the research will be measured by the ability of the executives to apply it in their businesses." FERF staff has taken this recommendation to heart. Below are some recently released reports, and their intended practical applications.
* In November, FERF released What's New in Financial Reporting: Financial Statement Notes from 2007 Annual Reports. Members can use this report to assist with their footnote disclosures for their 10-Ks.
For a more extensive library of sample footnotes, members can visit FERF's online database of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosures, accessed from the FERF home page. This database includes more than 3,000 foot-note disclosures in 20 different categories from annual reports of nearly all of the 100 largest publicly traded companies, as filed for the 2006 and 2007 fiscal years.
Financial executives can use this report in two ways: as a quick update of recent trends; or as a reference tool for dealing with challenging reporting issues.
* Also in November, FERF released SOX 404 Optimization: Operational Trends, Accelerated filers that have made efforts to optimize their Section 404 compliance programs have typically followed a three-stage journey: a huge initial effort to achieve compliance; a first rationalization initiative to eliminate wasted time and effort; and another effort to pursue a top-down, risk-based approach prescribed by Auditing Standard 5 (known as AS5).
Now, most large filers are planning automation, entity-level...