Accounting Standards

Accounting Standards

Accounting Standards
Sailesh Sitaula

Accounting standards are guidelines, and rules businesses and organizations follow when preparing and presenting financial statements. Think of them as a standardized recipe for financial reporting. Just like a formula ensures that you have all the right ingredients and measurements to make a delicious meal, accounting standards ensure that financial information is presented consistently and comparably, promoting financial transparency and accuracy.

These guidelines have been developed over time through the historical development of accounting standards. Financial reporting was much less regulated in the past, leading to consistent and reliable financial statements. However, as the importance of financial reporting grew, so did the need for standardized guidelines. Today, various organizations, such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in the United States and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), have been established to create and maintain these standards.

Historical Development of Accounting Standards

A historical overview of accounting standards shows that these standards have evolved to meet the changing needs of businesses and regulatory bodies. The origins of modern accounting standards can be traced back to the early 20th century, with the development of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in the United States. Since then, accounting standards have continued to evolve and become more complex to keep up with the changing needs of the global economy. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) was founded in 2001 to develop a global set of accounting standards known as the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which are now used in many countries worldwide. The historical development of accounting standards reflects the importance of financial transparency and accuracy in business and the need for standardization to promote comparability and trust among stakeholders.

Purpose of Accounting Standards

Accounting standards are critical in promoting financial transparency and consistency in financial reporting. The purpose of accounting standards can be broken down into the following points:

Ensuring Accuracy: Accounting standards provide businesses and organizations with a standardized framework to prepare their financial statements. By following these guidelines, financial information is presented consistently and comparably, ensuring accuracy and reducing errors.

Providing Relevant Information: The purpose of accounting standards is to provide stakeholders with relevant information that can be used to make informed decisions. Financial information prepared and presented following accounting standards is trustworthy and can be used to make investment decisions, evaluate creditworthiness, and assess a company's financial health.

Promoting Financial Transparency: Accounting standards help to promote financial transparency by ensuring that companies provide complete and accurate financial information. This fosters trust between companies and their stakeholders, which is essential for the healthy functioning of the economy.

Facilitating Comparability: Accounting standards promote the comparability of financial information across companies and industries. This enables stakeholders to make meaningful comparisons and evaluations of financial information, facilitating better decision-making.

Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: Accounting standards are often required by regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. Compliance with accounting standards is necessary for companies to comply with these regulatory requirements.

Reducing the Cost of Capital: Companies that follow accounting standards are seen as more trustworthy by investors and creditors, which can lead to a lower cost of capital. By following accounting standards, companies can access money at a lower price, ultimately leading to increased profitability.

Impacts of Accounting Standards on Financial Reporting

Accounting standards play a critical role in financial reporting by establishing the rules and guidelines companies must follow when preparing their financial statements. The impacts of accounting standards on financial reporting are numerous and include the following:

Standardization: Accounting standards help to standardize financial reporting across companies, making it easier for investors and other stakeholders to compare and analyze financial information.

Transparency: By requiring companies to disclose certain information in their financial statements, accounting standards increase transparency, making it easier for investors and other stakeholders to understand a company's financial performance and position.

Accuracy: Accounting standards help ensure that financial statements are accurate and reliable by establishing rules and guidelines for measuring, presenting, and disclosing financial information.

Compliance: Accounting standards are mandatory, and companies must comply with them when preparing their financial statements. Non-compliance can lead to penalties and legal consequences.

Investor confidence: Accounting standards increase investor confidence in financial reporting by providing a framework for consistent and reliable financial information.

Globalization: With the increasing globalization of business, accounting standards help to facilitate cross-border investment by establishing a common set of rules and guidelines that companies can follow.


Accounting standards are important because they help companies report their financial information clearly and consistently. This is important because it makes it easier for investors and other stakeholders to understand and compare financial data. Accounting standards are created and updated by organizations like the FASB and IASB to keep up with changes in business practices and regulations. By following these standards, companies can improve their financial reporting and reduce the risk of fraud, which helps build trust with stakeholders. In short, accounting standards help make financial reporting more accurate and trustworthy.

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