• Associate Dean McEwen Co-Author's New BNA Portfolio


Ruth Ann McEwen, associate dean of Accreditation and Administration, and Professor of Accounting for the Sawyer Business School is co-author of the recently released Asset Retirement Obligations, the latest Portfolio guidance issued from its growing Accounting Policy & Practice series from BNA. Originally required only of companies in the oil, gas, and nuclear industries, companies in all industries now must record liabilities representing these anticipated obligations on their balance sheets.  This portfolio explains how companies are to identify such liabilities and measure them at their inception and then adjust initially recorded amounts to reflect subsequent events. 

This new Portfolio provides in-depth, practical examples. All companies' financials must acknowledge that at the end of a long-lived asset's life, cleanup activities may be legally required. In the financial accounting sense, many of those activities become liabilities early in the asset's life, often in conjunction with acquisitions. The liability must be measured in accordance with the provisions of FASB Statement No. 157, Fair Value Measurements. Under IFRS, parallel but unidentical requirements are set forth in International Accounting Standard 37, Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets (IAS 37). This Portfolio compares and contrasts FAS 143 and IAS 37.

This Portfolio details the requirements of FAS 143 focusing on definitions within the standard as well as initial and subsequent recognition and measurement of asset retirement obligations. The explanation includes a discussion of fair value measurements and the recognition of conditional asset retirement obligations. Explanation of the major provisions is followed by a discussion of asset impairments, effects of funding and assurance provisions, information for rate-regulated entities, required disclosures, and transition provisions.

The Portfolio also discusses other issues related to asset retirement obligations, including IFRS and ongoing FASB projects, environmental remediation liabilities, and SEC issues. That is followed by an explanation of how to apply FAS 157, Fair Value Measurements, in accounting for asset retirement obligations under FAS 143. The Portfolio concludes with detailed examples illustrating the provisions of FAS 143 and worksheets showing excerpts from financial statements of various public companies that illustrate their accounting for asset retirement obligations.

McEwen is a consultant to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and has been deeply involved with the FASB's project to codify Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.  McEwen has taught graduate Financial Accounting at the Intermediate and Doctoral levels for more than 20 years and has authored or coauthored many articles dealing with ethics and the usefulness of accounting information to the investment community. Her work has appeared in such professional publications as The Accounting Review, Decision Sciences, Accounting Horizons, and The CPA Journal.   She earned both doctoral and masters degrees in Industrial Management with a concentration in Accounting from the Georgia Institute of Technology; and a BS from Alabama A&M

BNA is the foremost publisher of print and electronic news, analysis, and reference products, including the recently launched Accounting Policy & Practice Series.  BNA publications intensely cover legal and regulatory developments for professionals in business and government. BNA is the oldest wholly employee-owned company in the United States, and produces more than 350 news and information services — including Daily Labor Report and Daily Tax Report — widely respected for comprehensive and objective reporting and analysis.


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Teri Malionek