WASHINGTON The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed by six months implementation of new accounting rules for expensing stock options.
The SEC said the ruling allows companies to implement the new accounting rules, known as SEC Statement No. 123R, at the beginning of their next fiscal year, instead of their next financial reporting period, beginning after June 15. Small businesses would not have to implement the rules until six months after their December reporting period.
"Feedback from public companies, accounting firms and others . . . indicated that implementing Statement No. 123R in a period other than the first quarter of a fiscal year potentially could make compliance more complicated for companies and comparisons of quarterly reports more difficult," Donald Nicolaisen, the SEC's chief accountant, said in a statement.
Some lawmakers opposed to the controversial Financial Standards Accounting Board (FASB) rules criticized the SEC decision. "This decision does not go far enough to protect investors, the business community, American entrepreneurs and our country's economy from FASB's bad rules," said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.
High-tech groups vehemently opposed the new FASB rules, warning they would stifle innovation by limiting the use of stock options, a key form of compensation in Silicon Valley. Nevertheless, companies like Microsoft and IBM have treated stock options as a company expense in recent quarterly financial reports.