Effects of Reference Rate Reform on Financial Reporting

Global market participants are moving to transition from using or referencing the LIBOR and similar interbank-offered rates to alternative reference rates. In response, the FASB issued ASUs 2020-04 and 2021-01 to provide optional expedients and exceptions for affected contract modifications, hedge accounting and held-to-maturity (HTM) debt securities.

A high-level summary of the optional expedients follows:

Contract Modifications

Modifications to debt and receivables may be treated as continuations of the existing contracts by prospectively adjusting the effective interest rate. A similar approach is permitted for leases with no reassessments of the lease classification and discount rate or remeasurements of lease payments. Reassessment of whether embedded derivatives are clearly and closely related to the  contract may not be required.

Hedge Accounting

An entity may continue hedge accounting when certain critical terms of a hedging relationship change, performing some effectiveness assessments in ways that disregard certain potential sources of ineffectiveness. Specific guidance is provided for cash flow and fair value hedges.

HTM Securities

A one-time sale and/or transfer to available-for-sale or trading may be made for those HTM debt securities that reference an eligible reference rate and were classified as HTM before January 1, 2020.

Sunset Date

The optional guidance under these ASUs will generally not be able to be applied after December 31, 2022.

If you need assistance with financial reporting or other accounting issues, please contact your GYF Executive at 412-338-9300.

Jeffrey A. Ford

Jeffrey A. Ford

Jeff is one of the firm's founders and is a partner in the GYF Audit and ERP Solutions Groups. He has focused his career on providing accounting, auditing and consulting services to privately held companies and not-for-profit entities. Jeff also serves as the North American Audit Practice Chair for Geneva Group International (GGI).

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