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It might be the Financial Accounting Standard Board’s toughest challenge yet. After 35 years and thousands of rules and amendments, FASB has released its first attempt to simplify the more than 25,000 pages of rules and guidelines into an easy to use, single source document. In January FASB released the initial version of its accounting standards codification, a four-year undertaking that, if approved, will become the single source of authoritative U.S. GAAP in early 2009. The Web-based codification is currently in the review stage, but FASB is hoping any and all users will give the new system a try and comment on its usefulness as well as any drawbacks. The feedback (more than 300 comments so far) has been generally supportive, although there are concerns. “This is something that should have been done some time ago,” says Charles Mulford, accounting professor at Georgia Tech’s college of management. “Presently, any time you want to look up the accounting treatment for a transaction you have no single source to go to, and so this will really improve just abiding by accounting rules and knowing what the rules are.”

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