what is GAAP?

What is GAAP? 10 Basic Principles of GAAP

5/5 - (12 votes)

GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) is a set of guidelines that accounting professionals follow in their financial statements. GAAP standards help companies ensure consistency and transparency in financial reporting and reduce audit risk. Although GAAP standards are set by accounting professionals, understanding their principles can help you understand how they are applied in financial reporting. This paragraph Johnson's Blog Details will be provided What is GAAP? and 10 basic principles of GAAP.

What is GAAP?

GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. GAAP establishes financial reporting standards for public companies in the United States and Canada. It provides a framework for investors, analysts, and other interested parties to understand a company's financial performance. This reporting consistency is important because it makes it easier to compare financial statements between companies.

Financial reporting standards of public companies are prescribed by accounting standard-setting bodies such as: Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) of the United States and the Canadian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CICA). GAAP is similar to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Typically, a company's accounting principles consist of two components: accounting standards or rules and the accountants' judgments or assumptions. Accountants' decisions are based on information available at the time of making estimates and assumptions about the financial statements about future events.

History of GAAP

GAAP was first introduced in the early 1900s. At that time, financial statements were prepared using different accounting methods because companies used different accounting principles, which made it difficult difficult to compare financial data.

In 1933, representatives of public companies met with representatives of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to discuss financial reporting standards. The outcome of this meeting was the adoption of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

Initially, GAAP only applied to publicly traded companies in the United States and Canada. However, over time GAAP became the international standard.

Why is GAAP important?

GAAP is an important part of the global financial system, as it helps investors, creditors and other stakeholders understand a company's financial position and performance.

It also provides a common set of standards for reporting financial information. GAAP also provides a common set of standards for the reporting of financial information. This makes it easy for companies to compare their results over different periods and with different companies.

Companies must follow GAAP if they want to be listed on a financial exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ.

10 key principles of GAAP

The purpose of GAAP is to provide a consistent financial reporting framework for businesses. This standardizes financial reporting practices across companies, making it easier for businesses and investors to understand financial information.

The use of standard accounting methods reduces confusion, provides consistency, and makes financial statements easy to read and understand.

The key principles of GAAP are revenue recognition, asset classification, impairment of goodwill, provision for credit losses, income tax, capitalization analysis, creditial and profitability. Each accounting standard follows the principles of GAAP. For example, FASB ASC 210-10 and IAS 39 of the International Accounting Standards Board.

Principle of Regularity

Accountants must adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) as a standard. By following standard accounting principles, companies can ensure that their financial statements provide a reliable accounting of their financial position over time.

Principle of Consistency

The principle of consistency in reporting financial information requires companies to report financial data consistently from period to period. This principle is important for investors and regulators who need to assess a company's financial position and performance over time. In addition, GAAP requires companies to provide disclosures about accounting changes that could have a material impact on their financial statements.

For example, companies often have to adjust their accounting if their business operations, financial assumptions, or reporting practices change significantly. By providing disclosures about accounting changes, companies can help investors and other stakeholders better understand a company's financial position and performance over time. . In addition, companies must provide a description of the significant accounting policies used in the preparation of their financial statements. This helps investors see how the company accounts for various items, such as revenue recognition, expenses, and investments.

Principle of Sincerity

Principle of sincerity requires companies to disclose all material facts about their financial position. This principle is important because it helps investors make informed decisions about a company's future performance. Companies that fail to disclose important information can mislead investors into believing they are stronger than they really are, which can lead to wrong investment decisions.

The principle of honesty also applies to accounting policies and methods. When applying accounting principles or methods, companies must follow a set of standard guidelines to ensure consistency and transparency in the reporting of financial data.

Principle of Permanence of Methods

Principle of permanence of methods and consistency of accounting are key GAAP principles that should be followed for accurate financial reporting and accounting.

Other GAAP principles include the income tax accounting principle and the consolidation principle. These principles ensure that a business reports its financial information consistently over time, helping to ensure that the financial statements accurately reflect the financial position of the business over a period of time. All these principles work together to ensure reliable and accurate financial reporting.

Principle of Non-Compensation

Principle of non-compensation states that an entity is not obligated to indemnify another entity for any loss or expense incurred as a result of the action or inaction of the other entity. This principle generally applies to financial and business transactions between entities, where the decisions of one party can have a negative impact on the other.

The purpose of this principle is to prevent parties from engaging in opportunistic behavior; if the parties are required to indemnify each other for all losses and expenses arising out of a transaction, there is no incentive for either party to make a prudent and sound judgment. . As a result, accounting standards generally allow entities to apply a set of principles and standard practices when determining damages and expenses. These standard principles often include provisions such as reviewing past performance, long-term relationships, and consistency with business goals.

Principle of Continuity

The Continuity Principle states that financial statements should be prepared in a manner that reflects the current financial position, results of operations and cash flows of an entity. This principle is important because it allows investors to understand the performance of an entity over time and makes it easier to compare the financial performance of different companies. It also ensures that financial reporting standards remain consistent across different companies and over time.

The Continuity Principle is applied when preparing the financial statements of an enterprise as well as when auditing those financial statements. Investors and auditors must consider the principle of continuity when assessing the financial performance over time and comparing the financial performance of companies.

Principle of Prudence

The prudential principle requires that companies evaluate the risks and rewards of making decisions and make reasonable estimates when preparing their financial statements. It requires companies to carefully review all financial information, including accounting standards and historical data, to ensure accurate reporting. The prudential principle generally applies to all financial aspects of a company, including revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities. By reviewing all available information, companies can better understand their financial performance and make informed business decisions.

Principle of Periodicity

The periodicity principle states that the financial statements should be prepared in a manner that reflects the normal period operations of the entity. In general, this principle stipulates that financial statements must be prepared periodically. This principle is often referred to as the “time-based” principle because financial statement preparers typically require financial reporting information to be reported on a regular basis, usually monthly or quarterly. In accounting standards, this principle is expressed through the requirement to report financial data on an annual or quarterly basis.

Principle of Materiality

The principle of materiality states that the financial statements should be based on the fair values of assets and liabilities. This principle is essential for accounting purposes, as it helps to ensure that financial statements can be compared over time with accuracy. This principle also applies to both current and historical financial statements, ensuring that financial statements stay relevant and up-to-date over time.

Principle of Utmost Good Faith

The principle of principle of utmost good faith stipulates that a company must act in a fair and reasonable manner. It assumes that the parties must be honest in all transactions. By acting honestly and openly with each other, the parties can protect their interests and ensure a fair outcome.

frequently asked Questions

What is the difference between GAAP and IFRS?

GAAP is the standard set of accounting principles used by most public companies in the United States. GAAP requires entities to disclose their financial results in a manner that is consistent with generally accepted accounting practices published by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) is a set of global accounting standards developed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. IFRS replaces several previous international financial reporting standards, including IAS 38 and IFRIC 10. IFRS provides guidance on recording, summarizing, and presenting an entity's financial statements in language that is easy to understand. .

Some differences still exist between both accounting rules including:

  • Inventory according to LIFO: GAAP allows the use of last-in-first-out (LIFO), IFRS does not.
  • Research and Development Expenses: These costs will be included in expenses as they are incurred under GAAP. Under IFRS, expenses can be capitalized and amortized over several periods if certain conditions are met.

Refer to the official source at the following source for more information:

  1. International Financial Reporting Standards. "Who Uses IFRS Standards?
  2. Financial Accounting Standards Board. "The Hierarchy of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.”


GAAP is used by businesses to report their financial results. GAAP provides a set of standards that business owners and auditors can use to understand a company's financial position and performance. By following GAAP, businesses can ensure that their financial statements are accurate and in line with industry standards. Additionally, the use of GAAP can help companies improve transparency and accountability in the eyes of investors and creditors. If you want to learn more about What is GAAP? and how it can benefit your business, be sure to check out the articles by Johnson's Blog on this topic.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *