What is GAAP Generally Accepted Accounting Principles? Definition from WhatIs com

financial data

Financial data collection and asset valuations should not disrupt normal business operations. Accounting staff apply the same standards through each step of the reporting process and from one reporting cycle to the next, paying careful attention to disclose any differences. The business and accounting staff apply GAAP rules as standard practice. According to the Objectivity Principle, the accounting data should be definite, verifiable and free from the personal bias of the accountant. Matching does not mean that expenses must be identifiable with revenues. Revenue Recognition Principle is mainly concerned with the revenue being recognized in the income statement of an enterprise. Accounting principles are the foundation of accounting according to GAAP.


In other words, we can say that accounting is the process by which a professional, in an efficient manner, records, classifies and summarize all the financial information of the company, firm or an organisation. But to proceed, an individual needs to build a strong foundation of various accounting concepts and principles. This can either be done by pursuing Accountancy courses like Cost and Management Accounting, PhD in Accounting and business management, etc or by gaining substantial work experience. The consistency concept states that there should be consistency or uniformity in the accounting practices and policies followed by an organization. However, it does not mean that the organization cannot change its accounting policies when necessary. The firm can make required changes in its policies by properly indicating the probable effect of the changes on its financial results. For example, if a company’s management wants to compare the net profit of the current year with the previous year, it can do so only when the accounting policies followed by the company in both years are the same.

Reliability Principle

It also allows an individual or a group of individuals to make inter- and intra-firm comparisons for making investment decisions. The Generally Accepted Accounting Principles also ensure the accuracy and fairness of the financial statements. These principles are not universal and are changed or modified by countries and accounting bodies according to the different industries, geographic locations, etc.

  • The materiality principle refers to the misstatement in accounting records when the amount is insignificant or immaterial.
  • Bookkeeping systems can be simple or complex, manual or computerized.
  • When a product is sold to the customer on a satisfactory and reasonable price, profits are earned.
  • Industry Practices Constraint – some industries have unique aspects about their business operation that don’t conform to traditional accounting standards.
  • The FASB Accounting Standards Codification is the source of authoritative GAAP recognized by the FASB to be applied by nongovernmental entities.
  • Consider the wholesaler who delivered five hundred CDs to a store in April.

The five accounting terms ensure certain practices are carried out according to best practices, as well as state and federal law. Depending on the size of your business, they can be used as references for stakeholders or any other managing entities. Financial InformationFinancial Information refers to the summarized data of monetary transactions that is helpful to investors in understanding company’s profitability, their assets, and growth prospects. Financial Data about individuals like past Months Bank Statement, Tax return receipts helps banks to understand customer’s credit quality, repayment capacity etc.

Why Are Accounting Principles Important?

It is generally recorded on product selling time, not before that. Here, the basic accounting assumptions are taking into account and later the actual cost is added. In simpler terms, we can say a profit can only be taken into account when it is earned.

  • The IASB and FASB issued converged standards for accounting topics including Business combinations , Consolidation , Fair value measurement , and Revenue recognition .
  • It is hence assumed that the entity does not have any intention to liquidate or curtail its operations.
  • The final golden rule of accounting deals with nominal accounts.
  • Now that you have a firm grasp of what these accounting terms are, let’s go into the specifics of each.

We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the Basic Accounting Principles we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in oureditorial policy.

Matching Concept

When preparing their financial information, Felix only includes transactions related to FFF and not any personal transactions like the holiday he took to Japan. In 2006, the FASB began working with the International Accounting Standards Board to reduce or eliminate the differences between U.S. GAAP and the International Financial Reporting Standards , known as the IASB-FASB convergence project. The scope of the overall IASB-FASB convergence project has evolved over time. The IASB and FASB issued converged standards for accounting topics including Business combinations , Consolidation , Fair value measurement , and Revenue recognition .

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The International Financial Reporting Standards is the most widely used set of accounting principles, with adoption in 167 jurisdictions. The United States uses a separate set of accounting principles, known as generally accepted accounting principles .

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In simple words, an organization should not waste its time on immaterial facts that do not help in determining its income for the period. In order to differentiate a fact as material or immaterial, one should consider its nature and the amount involved. Therefore, a fact will be considered material if the accountant believes that the information can influence the decisions of a user of the financial statements. For example, the original cost of stationery is insignificant to the users of financial statements. Hence they are not included in the closing stock of the statements and are shown under expenses.


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