Accounting Standards: What is it And How It Works?


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In the world of money and numbers, there’s something super important called “accounting standards.” Think of them like the rules everyone follows when talking about money in a business. But what are accounting standards? How do they work? In this blog we shall cover the basis and everything that you need to know about accounting standards.

What is an Accounting Standard?

An accounting standard comprises a collection of guiding principles, regulations, and protocols that establish the fundamental framework for formulating financial accounting strategies and conducting practices. These standards play a pivotal role in enhancing the clarity of financial disclosures while streamlining the intricacies of financial accounting processes. Each accounting standard holds significance within a company’s financial reporting structure. Noteworthy instances of such standards encompass segment delineation, treatment of goodwill, permissible depreciation methodologies, consolidation of business entities, categorization of leases, computation of outstanding shares, and the recognition of revenue.


History of Accounting Standard

Prior to the establishment of accounting standards, individual companies crafted their unique methodologies for preparing and presenting financial data. In the aftermath of the 1930s stock market crash, a collaborative effort between the American Institute of Accountants and the New York Stock Exchange gave rise to the Committee on Accounting Procedure (CAP). This committee put forth five foundational accounting principles, later expanded to six by the Institute’s members, aiming to enhance accounting practices.

The evolution continued with the enactment of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, leading to the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC assumed the role of scrutinizing companies’ periodic filings, ensuring adherence to its mandates, especially concerning comprehensive disclosure, accurate accounting, and comparability.

Accounting standards play a pivotal role in structuring the recording and reporting of economic events. They serve as a vital resource for external stakeholders—such as shareholders, financial institutions, and regulatory bodies—guaranteeing the accuracy of pertinent information. These technical conventions serve as the demarcation lines for financial reporting metrics, simultaneously fostering transparency and accountability.

What is the Meaning of Accounting Standard

An accounting standard is a set of rules that companies follow when they prepare their financial reports, like balance sheets and income statements. These rules help ensure that the information in the reports is clear, consistent and accurate. Think of it as a common language that businesses use to communicate their financial information to others, like investors, banks and regulators. These standards make it easier for everyone to understand and compare the financial health of different companies.

To build a strong foundation in Accounting and Taxation & understand accounting standards, a certificate course in finance accounting and taxation will be helpful. 

How does Accounting Standard Work?

Accounting standards play a pivotal role in enhancing the clarity of financial reporting on a global scale. In the United States, the universally accepted framework for crafting financial statements revolves around the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Meanwhile, international enterprises embrace the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), meticulously outlined by the International Accounting Standards Board to guide non-U.S. GAAP entities in their financial reporting endeavors.

Broadly embraced in the United States, GAAP holds sway over both public and private entities, while IFRS is the predominant choice elsewhere across the globe. This extends even to multinational corporations, mandating adherence to these standards. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) serves as the architect and interpreter of internationally accepted accounting standards for financial statement preparation, unifying the global community.

Accounting standards extend their influence across an entity’s financial spectrum, encompassing assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses, and shareholders’ equity. They manifest in various facets, such as recognising revenue, categorizing assets, stipulating depreciation methodologies, defining depreciable assets, classifying leases, and quantifying outstanding shares.

The nascent efforts of the American Institute of Accountants, now the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, in the 1930s, paved the way for the inception of accounting standards. These initiatives were followed by the landmark Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, birthing the influential Securities and Exchange Commission. Furthermore, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board assumed the mantle of establishing accounting principles tailored for state and local governments.

Within the ambit of accounting standards, the minutiae of recognising, measuring, and presenting economic events are meticulously stipulated. Stakeholders beyond an entity’s borders, including banks, investors, and regulatory bodies, rely on these standards as guarantors of pertinent and precise information dissemination. These meticulously crafted guidelines serve as the bedrock of transparent reporting, delineating the bounds within which financial measures unfold.

Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) stands as a private non-profit entity with the pivotal responsibility of formulating and elucidating financial accounting standards within the United States. Its purview extends across both public and private enterprises, notably assuming the mantle of primary authority in shaping accounting norms for publicly traded corporations.

Nestled in Norwalk, Connecticut, the FASB operates under the stewardship of a dedicated ensemble of seven full-time board members. The mantle of board chair is conferred by the Financial Accounting Foundation, an entity that also undertakes the crucial role of overseeing the FASB’s operations.

Dedicated to its mission, the FASB’s overarching objective is to sculpt and refine financial accounting practices, ensuring the provision of reliable and precise information to a spectrum of stakeholders, most notably investors. Furthermore, a core facet of its mandate involves the edification of stakeholders, enabling them to adeptly comprehend and proficiently implement the tenets of accounting standards.


What is the Use of Accounting Standard?

Accounting standards are essential guidelines that ensure uniformity, accuracy, and clarity in financial reporting. They enable fair comparisons between companies, enhance investor trust by promoting transparency, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and provide reliable information for informed decision-making by businesses, investors, and regulators, thus contributing to a well-functioning financial ecosystem on a global scale.

What Are Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)?

Within the United States, the universally embraced framework of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) serves as the bedrock of accounting standards for crafting financial statements. The central thrust of GAAP is to enhance the lucidity, uniformity, and juxtaposition of financial information communication. At its core, GAAP represents a cohesive assembly of accounting tenets, standards, and methodologies, promulgated by the esteemed Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Notably, public enterprises in the U.S. are obliged to adhere to GAAP when their financial statements are meticulously compiled by their accounting professionals.

What Are International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)?

Global corporations adhere to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), meticulously crafted by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), which act as the guiding compass for non-U.S. GAAP enterprises when presenting financial statements. These standards were conceived to instil uniformity in accounting norms and methodologies, transcending corporate and national boundaries. IFRS stands out for its inherent adaptability, regularly undergoing revisions to mirror the fluid nature of the financial landscape, setting it apart from the more static nature of GAAP.


Key Notes

  • An accounting standard refers to a collection of methods and rules employed to organize and standardize various accounting tasks, like keeping financial records, in a consistent way across different companies and throughout periods of time.
  • Accounting standards are relevant to all aspects of a company’s financial situation, encompassing assets, debts, income, costs, and the ownership stake of shareholders.
  • Banks, investors, and regulatory bodies rely on accounting standards to guarantee that information about a specific organization is both meaningful and precise.

For a deeper understanding of Accounting standards and to expand your knowledge, consider joining the accounting and taxation course offered by EduBridge. This course can provide you with comprehensive insights into accounting standards and related topics.


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