Disclosure Dilemma: Financial Reporting of Contingent and Environmental Liabilities
The case discusses the current US and international accounting guidance regarding the disclosure of contingent and environmental liabilities, including FAS 5 and IAS 37. It then addresses the role of socially responsible investors and other factors that gave rise to the FASB revisiting its guidance. The case details the proposed new guidance and includes perspectives from various constituent groups (financial statement preparers and users) on its pros and cons. The case concludes with an example of existing guidance in practice using Novartis AG. It includes Novartis’ financial and other quantitative disclosures regarding environmental liabilities, and its liability from a dumpsite in Bonfol, Switzerland, in particular.