On November 17, the FASB issued ASU 2016-18, Statement of Cash Flows (Topic 230):  Restricted Cash.  It is intended to reduce diversity in the presentation of restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents in the statement.  The statement requires that restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents be included as components of total cash and cash equivalents as presented on the statement of cash flows.

Prior to this pronouncement, there was no guidance on how to present restricted cash and cash equivalents.  Some entities already combined them with other components of cash and cash equivalents and the body of the statement reconciled the beginning balance of the total to the ending balance.  Other entities excluded restricted items from the total.  As a result, changes in the balance s of restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents were considered causes of increases to cash and cash equivalents.  A decrease in restricted cash, for example, would result in a source of cash and cash equivalents, increasing the balance.

This pronouncement goes into effect for periods beginning after December 15, 2017, for public entities and one year later for all other entities, which makes it eligible for testing on the CPA exam in the Jan-Feb 2018 window.

--Mark Dauberman, CPA, EMBA, Senior Editor