Financial accounting is a specific branch of accounting involving a process of recording and reporting the myriad of transactions resulting from operations
generally accepted accounting principles
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles is the accounting standard adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). While the SEC previously stated that it intends to move from U.S. GAAP to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the latter differ considerably from GAAP and progress has been slow and uncertain. More recently, the SEC has acknowledged that there is no longer a push to move more U.S companies to IFRS so the two sets of standards will “continue to coexist” for the foreseeable future.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) published U.S. GAAP in Extensible Busines Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
Realizing the need to reform the APB, leaders in the accounting profession appointed a Study Group on the Establishment of Accounting Principles (commonly known as the Wheat Committee for its chair Francis Wheat). This group determined that the APB must be dissolved and a new standard-setting structure is created. This structure is composed of three organizations: the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF, it selects members of the FASB, funds and oversees their activities), the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC), and the major operating organization in this structure the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). FASB previously had 4 major types of publications:
Statements of Financial Accounting Standards – the most authoritative GAAP setting publications. 168 standard has been issued before the New codification.
Statements of Financial Accounting Concepts – first issued in 1978. They are part of the FASB’s conceptual framework project and set forth fundamental objectives and concepts that the FASB use in developing future standards. However, they are not a part of GAAP. There have been 7 concepts published to date.
Interpretations – modify or extend existing standards. There have been around 50 interpretations published to date.
Technical Bulletins or Staff Positions – guidelines on applying standards, interpretations, and opinions. Usually solves some very specific accounting issue that will not have a significant, lasting effect.
In 1984 the FASB created the Emerging Issues Task Force (EITF) which deals with new and unusual financial transactions that have the potential to become common (e.g. accounting for Internet-based companies). It acts more like a problem filter for the FASB – the EITF deals with short-term, quickly resolvable issues, leaving long-term, more pervasive problems for the FASB.
However, now all GAAP resides in the ASC (Accounting Standards Codification) so the FASB and EITF do not issue new standards but rather updates to the Codification. The Concepts statements still exist outside of the ASC but are not authoritative.s Reporting Language (XBRL) beginning in 2008.