Susan Cosper ’92On October 14, 2021, the Student Accounting Association held its third meeting of the fall semester with guest speaker Susan Cosper ’92 (BS, accounting). Cosper, former PwC partner, serves as one of the seven board members of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and she is the first woman to serve as FASB technical director (2011–19). Cosper was among seven IUP alumni to receive the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award, and she was a 2016 inductee into the Eberly College of Business Hall of Distinction.

According to SAA faculty advisor Kim Anderson, “It is such an incredible honor to have someone of Sue’s stature to speak to our students, and we are so fortunate to have her among our alumni. There isn’t an accounting program in the country that wouldn’t be thrilled to have a FASB board member talk to their students. I am so grateful that Sue is such an involved alumna. She frequently makes time to interact with our students.”

Cosper spoke to over 50 IUP accounting students via Zoom about the FASB standard-setting process. She shared the mission of the FASB, which is “To establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting that foster financial reporting by nongovernmental entities that provides decision-useful information to investors and other users of financial reports.”

The FASB is made up of seven full-time board members. A technical director, deputy technical director, and over 70 staff members report to the seven FASB board members. The FASB is a crucial part of capital markets by setting accounting standards that ensure relevant, reliable, clear, and dependable financial data. Accounting standards also help investors and taxpayers to make informed financial decisions. Standard setting began in 1934 with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; this established the Securities and Exchange Commission, a government agency which closely monitors the FASB.

Cosper explained the eight steps of the standard-setting process, which include: identify a financial reporting issue, conduct pre-agenda research, add the project to the agenda and deliberate, issue a document for public comment, host public roundtable discussions, analyze comment letters and redeliberate, issue an Accounting Standards Update, and hold post-implementation activities.

Overall, the FASB establishes Generally Accepted Accounting Principles which become part of the Codification, an electronic database that integrates and topically organizes US GAAP into one coherent body of literature. Cosper emphasized this process is very important to making sure investors and other users of financial reports have the most relevant, reliable, clear, and dependable information.