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. What is a profit and loss (P&L) statement and why do companies publish them?

    A profit and loss (P&L) statement, or balance sheet, is essentially a snapshot of a company's financial activity for ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do dividends affect the balance sheet?

    Dividends paid in cash affect a company's balance sheet by decreasing the company's cash account on the asset side and decreasing ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Who actually declares a dividend?

    It is a company's board of directors who actually declares a dividend. The declaration date is the first of four important ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Are dividends considered an expense?

    Cash or stock dividends distributed to shareholders are not considered an expense on a company's income statement. Stock ... Read Full Answer >>

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