FASB 157



A Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statement that requires all publicly-traded companies in the U.S. to classify their assets based on the certainty with which fair values can be calculated. This statement created three asset categories: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Level 1 assets are the easiest to value accurately based on standard market-based prices and Level 3 are the most difficult.


FASB 157 was passed to help investors and regulators understand how accurate a given company's asset estimates truly were. Many firms (including some of the largest in terms of assets) had to write down billions of dollars in hard-to-value Level 3 assets following the subprime meltdown and related credit crisis, which began in late 2006. By making companies report to investors the breakdown of assets, they allow investors to potentially see what percentage of the balance sheet could be open to revaluation or susceptible to sudden write-downs.

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  1. Why are the fair value accounting rules controversial?

    The fair value of an asset is the amount for which it can be bought or sold between two agreeing parties. An important factor ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between principles-based accounting and rules-based accounting?

    Almost all companies are required to prepare their financial statements as set out by the Financial Accounting Standards ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I read and analyze an income statement?

    The income statement, also known as the profit and loss (P&L) statement, is the financial statement that depicts the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Do dividends affect working capital?

    Regardless of whether cash dividends are paid or accrued, a company's working capital is reduced. When cash dividends are ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do prepayments provide working capital?

    Prepayments, or prepaid expenses, are typically included in the current assets on a company's balance sheet, as they represent ... Read Full Answer >>
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