History of Accounting

As in other spheres, India was a pioneer in the field of accounting too. As Prof. Max Mueller observed

Whatever sphere of the human mind you may select for your study , whether be it language, or religion, or mythology , or philosophy, whether be it laws or customs , primitive art or primitive science, everywhere you have to go to India, whether you like it or not , because some of the most valuable & most instructive materials are treasured up in India, & in India only.”

Sufficient evidence exists to conclude that art and practice of accounting existed even in Vedic times. There are references to kraya (sale), Vanij (merchant), sulka (price) in Rigveda. Kautilya’s Arthashastra contains details on business of keeping up accounts in the office of accountants .It provides details of matters which should be recorded, registers to be maintained, system of examination of accounts and even details of punishments for default.

Authors, however, generally trace the origin to times of Babylonian Empire around 3500 B.C. Some of the oldest records of commerce have been found in the Assyrian, Chaldaean-Babylonian and Sumerian civilizations which were flourishing in the Mesopotamian Valley.

During this era (which lasted until 500 B.C.), Sumeria was a theocracy whose rulers held most land and animals in trust for their gods, giving impetus to their record-keeping efforts. Moreover, the legal codes that evolved penalized the failure to memorialize transactions. The Code of Hammurabi, for example, required that an agent selling goods for a merchant give the merchant a price quotation under seal or face invalidation of a questioned agreement.

The Mesopotamian equivalent of today’s accountant was the scribe. His duties included writing up the transaction and ensuring that the agreements complied with the detailed code requirements for commercial transactions. A typical transaction involved :

  • The parties willing to transact sought  the scribe at the gates to the city.
  • They would describe their agreement to the scribe, who use  a small quantity of specially prepared clay to record the transaction.
  • The moist clay was molded into a size and shape adequate to contain the terms of the agreement.
  • Using a wooden stylus, the scribe recorded the names of the contracting parties, the goods and money exchanged and any other promises made.
  • The parties then “signed” their names to the tablet by impressing their respective seals.
  • Men carried their signatures around their necks in the form of stone amulets engraved with the wearer’s mark,
  • The scribe would dry the tablet in the sun or in a kiln for important transactions which needed a more permanent record.
  • Sometimes a thick clay layer was fashioned and wrapped around the tablet like an envelope.
  • For extra security, the whole transaction would be rewritten on this outer “crust,” in effect making a carbon copy of the original. Attempted alterations of the envelope could be detected by comparing it with its contents, and the original could not be altered without cracking off and destroying the outer shell.


The use of clay tablets allowed more detailed records to be made more easily. And extensive records were kept, particularly for the network of royal storehouses within which the “in kind” tax payments were kept.There were bookkeepers assigned to each storehouse who kept meticulous records, which were checked by an elaborate internal verification system


Pre-Christian China used accounting chiefly as a means of evaluating the efficiency of governmental programs and the civil servants who administered them.


–        Had public accountants which allowed citizens to maintain authority and control over their government’s finances

–        Greece’s important  contribution to accountancy was introduction of coined money around  600 B.C

–        Banking was quite developed in ancient Greece Bankers kept account books, changed and loaned money, and even arranged for cash transfers for citizens through affiliate banks in distant cities.


–         Government and banking accounts evolved from records traditionally kept by  families, wherein daily entry of household receipts and payments were kept in an adversaria or daybook, and monthly postings were made to a cashbook known as a codex accepti et expensi. Roman citizens were required to submit regular statements of assets and liabilities which were used as a basis for taxation

–        There was an elaborate system of checks and balances was maintained for governmental receipts and disbursements by the quaestors,.

–         Public accounts were regularly examined by an audit staff, and quaestors had  to account to their successors and the  Roman senate.

–        Roman accounting innovations was the use of an annual budget, which attempted to coordinate the  financial enterprises, limited expenditures to estimated revenues and levied taxes based on citizens’ ability to pay

Medieval times

The Italians of the Renaissance period  are widely acknowledged to be the fathers of modern accounting. They elevated trade and commerce to new levels, and actively sought better methods of determining their profits. They used Arabic numerals regularly in tracking business accounts – an improvement over Roman numerals. They kept extensive business records, as the use of capital and credit on a large scale developed. At this time Luca Pacioli wrote a book Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita (Everything About Arithmetic, Geometry and Proportion). It was written as a digest and guide to existing mathematical knowledge, and bookkeeping was one of five topics covered.

Thirty-six years before his monumental treatise on the subject, Benedetto Cotrugli wrote Delia Mercatura et del Mercante Perfetto (Of Trading and the Perfect Trader), which included a brief chapter describing many of the features of double entry. Pacioli was familiar with the manuscript and credited Cotrugli with originating the double entry method.

Accounting  standards

In order financial statements  make sense to users who rely on them for their decision making purposes, there has to be consistency in the way items are treated in the financial statements. Limited companies have a statutory duty to comply with these rules and it is the job of the auditor to check this compliance. Partnerships and sole traders are also often bound by these rules because of professional or trade association standards or because of the conditions attached to loans. The rules govern two aspects of accounting:

1. The accounting treatments permissible for any individual event or transaction.

2. Disclosure requirements which tell us permissible formats for the balance sheet and profit and loss account items.

These rules are called Accounting Standards.

Modern Times

US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

GAAP encompasses the conventions, rules and procedures necessary to define accepted accounting practice at a particular time. These conventions, rules and procedures provide a standard to measure financial presentations .The US GAAP is not a single set of rules or standards. The Accounting Standards board has identified various sources of established generally accepted accounting principles.

The US GAAP is the oldest among the accounting principles prevalent today.The US GAAP is quite comprehensive and extensive.

The stock market collapse of 1929 followed by the Great Depression led to a demand for transparency and accounting standards. US GAAP have evolved from experience, reason, custom, usage and to a significant extent, practical necessity. US GAAP are contained in a variety of pronouncements, which carry different levels of authority. The principal sources are:

ARB (accounting research bulletins) by Committee on Accounting Procedures:-

The American Institute of Accountants, which later became AICPA created a special committee to work with NYSE to establish standards for accounting procedures. The committee recommended 5 rules to the exchange which were published as Accounting research Bulletin (ARB)1 . The Committee on Accounting Procedures operated from 1939 to 1959. It published 51 such bulletins including ARB 43, which consolidated and superseded ARB1-42. These have not yet been superseded. The committee had limited resources and lacked serious research efforts.

Accounting Principle Board Opinion (APBO)

The Accounting Principles Board of AICPA was established in 1959. Its authority was established through prestige, Rule 203 of the Code of Professional Ethics and approval of its issuances by Securities and Exchange Commission. It issued 31 opinions, which were supplemented by Interpretations issued by AICPA. The material is authoritative and companies making a departure from the interpretations may have to justify the same.

Statement of Financial Accounting Standards(FAS)

Due to operational problems of the earlier board , the Financial Standards Board was established in 1973 for development of accounting standards. FASB is an independent body relying on Financial Accounting Foundation for selection of its members and receipt of budget. FASB is supported by sale of publications and fees assessed on all public companies based on their market capitalization. It issues FASs , Interpretations , Technical Bulletins and statements. The FASB staff can issue implementation guides and staff positions ,which are category D GAAP.

AICPA’s statement of opinion (SOP)

SOPs are issued by the Accounting Standards Executive Committee (ACSEC) and provides for rules on accounting issues which the FASB has not addressed.

SEC Rules

Regulations S-X is the principal accounting regulation of the SEC and sets the required form and content of financial statement. Regulation S-K governs the contents of the non financial statement portions of annual and various other reports filed with the SEC. These rules are further supplemented by the SEC staff views set out in Staff accounting bulletins

Hierarchy of GAAP

The determination of which accounting principle is applicable maybe difficult without determination of hierarchy of GAAP. For financial statement of entities other than government entities:

Category A: officially established accounting principles consisting of FAS and interpretations, APB opinions and AICPA ARB.

Category B: FASB technical bulletins and if cleared by FASB,  AICPA audit and accounting guides and AICPA statement of positions

Category C : AICPA accounting standards executive committee and practice bulletin that have been cleared by FASB and consensus positions of the FASB EITF .

Category D: consists of AICPA accounting interpretations (AIN) , implementation guides issues by FASB staff. FASB staff positions and practices prevalent in the industry.

Sites:  FASB –  http://www.fasb.org/facts/index.shtml

Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)


The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) was organized in 1984 as an operating entity of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) to establish standards of financial accounting and reporting for state and local governmental entities..

Structure of GASB

The Foundation’s Trustees are responsible for selecting the members of the GASB and its Advisory Council, funding their activities and exercising general oversight.The GASB is composed of seven members drawn from its diverse backgrounds like preparers and auditors of government financial statements, users of those statements, and members of the academic community

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board or GASB is an independent, private sector organization that establishes and improves standards of financial accounting and reporting for U.S. state and local governments. It is accepted as the official source of GAAP for state and local governments by Governments and the accounting industry.

Importance of GASB standards

  • The constituents can determine the ability of their government to provide services and repay its debt.
  • The government officials can also prove their accountability to constituents.
  • It also helps in ensuring that those who provides funds get relevant, reliable, and understandable information when they make decisions .

The GASB issues standards that:

• Make the financial reports useful for decision-making. It provides the basis for investment, credit and many legislative and regulatory decisions

• Foster reliable, relevant, and consistent information

• Recognize the unique and distinguishing characteristics of the governmental environment

• Improve understanding of the information contained in financial reports

• Are accompanied by helpful and understandable implementation guidance.

Sources of funds of GASB

GASB derives its funding from

  • sales of publications,
  • contributions from state and local governments and the financial community,
  • from a nominal voluntary fee assessment on municipal bonds issued.

Status of GASB

GASB is not a federal agency.It does not have the authority to require governments to comply with its standards. However, compliance with the GASB’s standards is enforced through the audit process, when auditors render opinions on the fairness of presentations in conformity with GAAP, and through the laws of individual states, many of which require local governments to prepare GAAP basis financial statements.

Source: http://www.gasb.org/

International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board

The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB)  focuses on the accounting and financial reporting needs of national, regional and local governments, related governmental agencies. It issues  & promotes benchmark guidance, conducts educational &research programs, and facilitating the exchange of information among accountants and those who work or rely on its work.

The IPSASB develops International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs).

There are IPSASs on

–        Presentation of Financial Statements

–        Cash Flow Statements

–        Fundamental Errors and Changes in Accounting Policies

–        The Effect of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates

–        Borrowing Costs

–        Consolidated Financial Statements

–        Financial Reporting of Interests in Joint Ventures

–        Construction Contracts

–        Inventories

–        Leases

–        Investment Property

–        Property, Plant and Equipment etc.

International Accounting Standards


The history and development of international standards for accounting and auditing trails back all the way to the late 1960s, but it has achieved prominence only recently, with its wide acceptance in an increasingly converging world.

The International Financial Reporting Standards is facilitating greater cross-border capital raising and trade. Companies listing on stock exchanges in different countries are following IFRS as they need consistent worldwide reporting standards so that they can have comparable, reliable, and transparent financial statements.

The European Council of Ministers realizing the benefits of a truly international standards, approved a regulation on 6th June ,2002 that would require all EU companies listed on a regulated market to prepare accounts in accordance with International Accounting Standards for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005. This Regulation will affect around 7,000 listed companies across the EU and may possibly be extended to non-listed companies

History and development

The foundation for international accounting standards was laid in 1966, when it was proposed that an International Study Group be started comprising the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (ICAEW), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). As a result, the Accountants International Study Group (AISG) was set up in 1967, which published papers on important topics.

IASC was founded in June 1973 after an agreement by accountancy bodies in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland and the United States, and these countries constituted the Board of IASC at that time. The intention was that it would set up new international standards, which must ‘be capable of rapid acceptance and implementation world-wide’.

In 1981, IASC and IFAC agreed that IASC would have full and complete autonomy in setting international accounting standards and in publishing discussion documents on international accounting issues. At the same time, all members of IFAC became members of IASC. This membership link was discontinued in May 2000 when IASC’s Constitution was changed as part of the reorganisation of IASC. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) replaced the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC), in 2001.

International Accounting Standards (IAS)

Between 1973 and 2001 the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) released International Accounting Standards. Between 1997 and 1999 the IASC restructured their organisation. These changes resulted in the formation of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). These changes came into effect on April 1st 2001.

The IASB approved the IASB Resolution on IASC Standards at their meeting in April 2001, which confirmed the status of all IASC Standards and SIC Interpretations in effect as of 1 April 2001. The IASB aims to develop a single set of high quality global accounting standards that require transparent and comparable information in general purpose financial statements.

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

On its formation in April 2001 the IASB announced that the IASC Foundation Trustees agreed that accounting standards issued by IASB would be designated “International Financial Reporting Standards”.On May 23rd 2002 the IASB issued published a press release announcing the publication of the Preface to International Financial Reporting Standards which provided ‘a brief description of the purpose and function of the main structures of the new arrangements for setting global standards’. The first IFRS was published in June 2003 (IFRS 1, First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards).






The Companies Act 1985 (CA 85) regulates the constitution and conduct of nearly all British business corporations i.e. limited liability and unlimited companies incorporated in Great Britain. Its provisions cover company formation, company administration, allotment of shares and debentures, accounts and audit and distribution of assets .CA 85 requires all limited companies to prepare annual accounts giving true and fair view.

Constitution of  UK GAAP

In UK, there is no statutory or regulatory authority or definition as in US, Canada or New Zealand .UK GAAP is a dynamic concept changing as per changing circumstances. It goes far beyond rules and principles and encompasses contemporary permissible accounting practice.

Transition from UK GAAP to IFRS

A resolution was passed in European Parliament on 12th March 2002 wherein from 2005 all listed European countries will have to prepare consolidated financial statements under IAS.

Australian Accounting Standards

The Australian Accounting Standards Board  is responsible for developing and issuing AASB Accounting Standards (AASBs) and the “care and maintenance” of the body of Standards. The Board’s functions and powers are set out in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.

Since 2002, the Board has been implementing the strategic direction from the Financial Reporting Council to adopt International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) Standards for application to periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005. In July 2004, the Board made a number of Standards that apply from 2005 and comprise:

  • Australian equivalents to IASB Standards
  • ancillary AASB Standards supporting the Australian equivalents to IASB Standards; and
  • other AASB Standards that apply to certain types of entities.

The AASB equivalents to IASB Standards comprise:

  • AASB 1, AASB 2, etc. that are equivalent to IFRS 1, IFRS 2, etc.; and
  • AASB 101, AASB 102, etc. that are equivalent to IAS 1, IAS 2, etc.

The ancillary AASB Standards comprise: AASB 1031; and AASB 1048.

For periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005, the Australian equivalents to IASB Standards supersede their current Australian counterparts, if any. Current Australian Standards for which there are no IASB equivalents remain in force beyond 1 January 2005, even though they may be reissued to update them in this new regime. These include:

  • AAS 22, AAS 25, AAS 27, AAS 29 and AAS 31; and
  • AASB 1004, AASB 1039 and AASB 1046.



Use of IFRS in different countries

European Union

The audit report and basis of presentation note will refer to compliance with “IFRSs as adopted by the EU”. Currently, the EU has adopted all IFRSs, though one aspect of IAS 39 was modified. The modification affects only a tiny percentage of EU companies following IFRSs. Also, EU and EEA member states are permitted to defer the application of IFRSs until 2007 (a) for companies that only have debt securities listed in a public securities market and/or (b) for companies whose securities are admitted to public trading in a non-member state and that, for that purpose, have been using internationally accepted standards other than IFRSs (such as US GAAP) since a financial year that started prior to adoption of the European IAS regulation.

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • UK

Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand have adopted national standards that they describe as IFRS-equivalents. Those standards include the requirement from IAS 1.14 that “an entity whose financial statements comply with IFRSs shall make an explicit and unreserved statement of such compliance in the notes”. Such a statement will be made in the notes


  1. Hong Kong ,Singapore and  Philippines
  2. IFRS required for all domestic companies
  3. IFRS not permitted for domestic companies
  4. IFRS  permitted for domestic companies
  5. Russian Federation

a. Hong Kong and Philippines have adopted national standards that are identical to IFRSs, including all recognition and measurement options, but in some cases effective dates and transition are different. In the case of Hong Kong, companies that are based in Hong Kong but incorporated in another country are permitted to issue IFRS financial statements rather than Hong Kong GAAP statements. Singapore has adopted all IFRSs essentially word for word as Singapore equivalents of IFRSs but has made changes to the recognition and measurement principles in several IFRSs when adopting them as Singapore standards (the most significant difference, on investment property, has been removed effective 2007).

b. IFRS required for all domestic companies (illustrative list)

  • Armenia
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Bangladesh
  • Bulgaria
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Georgia
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Mauritius
  • Nepal
  • South Africa

c. IFRS not permitted for  domestic listed companies

  • Canada
  • Chile
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Mexico
  • Pakistan

d. IFRS permitted for  domestic listed companies

  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkey
  • Uganda

e. Russian federation: It has a proposed plan to phase companies in 2006.

The major difference between IAS and US GAAP is that the IAS are Principles-Based while US GAAP are Rules-Based Accounting Standards. FASB expressed concern in the early 2000’s about the increasing complexity of FASB accounting standards that was the result of rule-driven implementation guidance. The FASB along with the IASB proposed more emphasis on principles-based standards.

Standard setting in India

The Accounting Standards Board (ASB) and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB), assist the ICAI in setting standards. Due process is followed to promulgate Accounting Standards, and Auditing and Assurance Standards (AAS). Based on the draft regulations prepared by the ASB and the AASB, the ICAI Council approves and issues new standards under its authority and prescribes a deadline for adoption.

The ICAI duly considers the IFRS and ISA in the standard setting process and may depart from these standards if justified, keeping in mind the local environment and practices. Prior to the reconstitution of IASC, the  Institute of Chartered Accountants of India had a nominee on the Board of IASC and it has committed to harmonise Indian Accounting Standards with International Accounting Standards. The ICAI has issued and revised several accounting standards over the last couple of years, significantly reducing the gap between the Indian Accounting Standards and IASB-issued international standards.

Comparison of standards

Comparison of frameworks

  • Historical Costing – IGAAP and IFRS permits revaluation in contrast to Historical Cost convention, while US GAAP does not permit revaluation. Only securities and derivatives can be valued at Fair Value under IFRS and US GAAP.
  • True & Fair View: Under IFRS and IGAAP framework, there is an assumption that adoption of IFRS /IGAAP leads to a true and fair presentation, there is no such assumption under US GAAP.
  • Prudence Vs Rules: It is said that the US GAAP are rule oriented and based on specific cases. However this is not true, as FAS are also more detailed and lay down detailed principles for application. No such allegation is leveled against IGAAP and IFRS.
  • Comparative Position : under IGAAP  and IFRS, comparative financial figures are to be provided for one previous years, whereas under USGAAP (comparatives are to be provided for two previous years except for Balance Sheet.
  • Over-riding of Standards – In rare cases, IFRS permits that a company may withhold application of IFRS if it is felt that application of IFRS would defeat the very objective of Financial reporting. The reason has to be disclosed.  There is no such provision in IGAAP and US GAAP.
  • Reporting Elements : IFRS prescribes the minimum structure and content of financial statement including Statement of Changes in equity (in addition to Balance sheet, Income statement, Cash flow statement , notes comprising significant accounting Policy and other explanatory notes). Under US GAAP in addition to statement of changes in Equity, Statement of Comprehensive Income is required. These are not required under  IGAAP.

Comparison of Balance Sheet

A balance sheet is a statement of assets and liabilities.

The IGAAP provides two format of Balance Sheet- Horizontal and Vertical format  ( Part I of schedule VI to the Companies Act, 1956)   Vertical format requires details of each item in separate schedule, read with notes. IFRS and USGAAP do not prescribe any format .

IFRS does not  prescribe any format, but stipulates  minimum line items like PPE, Investment property, Intangible assets, Financial assets, Biological assets, inventory, receivables etc. Additional line items, subheadings and subtotals shall be presented on the face of BS if relevant. The order of presentation within the group or otherwise in not mandatory.

IGAAP does not prescribe any current and non current classification. The line items are listed in increasing order of liquidity as sources and application of funds.

Under IAS, An organisation has an option to adopt Current or Non current classification of assets and liabilities . Deferred Tax Assets not to be shown as Current assets, if Current /non current classification adopted. ( IAS 1.53 ). Some items like Biological assets, Tax Liability, Minority Interest have to be disclosed on the Balance Sheet (IAS 1.66)

Order of line items: Under US GAAP, items in assets and liabilities are presented in decreasing order of liquidity, whereas under IFRS (if Current and non current order followed ) and IGAAP, line  items are presented in increasing order of liquidity.

US GAAP also does not  prescribe any format , but Rule S-X of SEC stipulates for listed companies  minimum line items to be disclosed either on face of Balance sheet or Notes to Accounts like Current Assets ( Cash and cash items, marketable securities, allowance for Bad debts, prepaid expenses, other current assets) and Non Current Assets on asset side and current and non current liabilities on liabilities side.While many items of disclosure are common, the following items must be disclosed like Unearned Income, Securities of related parties,   Minority Interest in consolidated subsidiaries, non current indebtedness to related parties.

IFRS permits an enterprise to disclose any long term interest bearing liability due for settlement within 12 months,as long term liability’  if the same is likely to be refinanced and can be supported by adequate documentary evidence

Consolidation of Financial statements of subsidiaries is not compulsory until it is required under some other law or regulation, whereas under US GAAP consolidation of results of Subsidiaries and Variable interest entity (FIN 46R) is compulsory.

Comparison of Income statement

1. Format: Under Indian GAAP no format is prescribed , but minimum line items have been specified in Part II of  schedule VI to Companies Act, 1956 including Aggregate Turnover, Gross Service revenue for Commission paid to Sole selling agent, Brokerage and discount on sales, depreciation, consumption of stores and spare parts, power and fuel, rent, repairs, rates and taxes etc.

IFRS does not prescribe any standard format for income statement but prescribes minimum disclosure includes revenue, finance costs, share of post tax results of JV and associates using equity method, pre tax gain/loss on asset disposal, discontinued operation tax charge, and Net profit or loss etc.

Under US GAAP as well there is no prescribed format, SEC guidelines Rule S-X prescribe minimum line items to be shown on the face of income statement. SEC rules also suggest 2 alternatives

a) a single step format where expenses are classified by function and

b) a Multiple step format where Cost of sales is deducted from Sales

2. Additional disclosure: Indian GAAP requires disclosure of several additional information by way of notes like Licensed and installed capacity, actual production details, details of imports, forex earnings and outgo, Net Profit computation u/s 349 etc

Additional disclosure under IFRS include amount of dividend and DPS declared or proposed (IAS 1.95) , Share in profit /loss of associates under equity method, profit/loss attributable to minority interest (IAS  1.82) .

3. Indian GAAP requires any item of expenditure which exceeds 1% of total revenue or Rs 5000/- whichever is higher should be shown as a distinct items and should not be clubbed as Miscellaneous expenses.

Under US GAAP, Non operating income like dividend, interest on securities, net profit on securities, miscellaneous  income as well as non operating exp like loss on securities,  ,deductions can be shown in notes to accounts.

4. Indian GAAP requires separate disclosure of exceptional and non recurring items.

5. Under IFRS , the reporting entity has an option to prepare income statement either by nature of expenses or by Function (Cost of sales method ) (IAS 1.84)

6. Under IFRS , Income is defined as Revenue and gains and expenses are defined to include losses and are decreases in economic activity that result in decrease in equity.

7. Under US GAAP  ,Income can be classified as from net sale of tangible products, operating revenue of public utilities, rentals ,services & other revenue. Revenue from any class which is less than 10% of total revenue can  be clubbed with other class

8. Change in accounting policy : Under IGAAP effect for change in accounting policy is given with prospective effect , if the same is material. Only in case of change in method of depreciation, the same has to be applied with retrospective effect. Other disclosures required like need for change etc

IFRS requires retroactive application for the earliest period practical and adjustment of opening retained earning. Exemption given for prospective application, if resulting adjustment are not reasonably determinable

US GAAP – requires prospective application of change in accounting policy and proforma disclosure of effect on income before extraordinary items on the face of income statement as separate section. However, in case of specific situations like change from LIFO method of valuation of stock, accounting for long term construction contract, change from/ to full cost method in extractive Industry and Change in depreciation Policy, retrospective application required to restate opening retained earning. Effect of changes on income before extraordinary items, net income and EPS should be disclosed for all periods on the face of Income statement in the period of change.

9. Prior period items : IGAAP (AS 5.15,19) requires separate disclosure of prior period in the current financial statement either as part of current years results or as an alternative approach after determination of current net profit or loss. No restatement of retained earnings are required.however complete disclosure of prior period and its impact on financial statements should be disclosed.

US GAAP (FAS 16) also mandates retrospective application of error and requires restatement of comparative opening balance with suitable footnote disclosure.

IFRS requires that a prior period item/error should be corrected by retrospective effect by restatement of opening balance of assets, liabilities or equities for the earliest period practicable. Entity should also disclose nature of error and the amount of correction for each financial line item.

10. Discounting : IFRS provides that where the inflow of cash is significantly deferred without interest, discounting is needed. US GAAP also permits discounting in certain cases, while there is no concept of discounting under IGAAP.

11. Consolidation : US GAAP mandates consolidation of results of subsidiaries and VIEs, whereas IGAAP and IFRS do not mandate consolidation as such except as required under law.

12. Others :There are significant differences in the 3 GAAP on measurement and disclosure of various heads of Income and Expenditure including forex losses, extinguishment of debts, Employee benefits, ESOP, Dividend Tax, Loss on investments etc. leading to reconciliation issues between IGAAP results vis a vis IFRS and USGAAP.

Chronological index

Accounting and US GAAP


City of Massri Treasurers Accounts are in double entry form.


Luca Pacioli’s Summa de Arithmetica Geometria Proportionalita (A Review of Arithmetic, Geometry and Proportions) .It is the first documented source of double entry bookkeeping, though double entry accounting is used primarily as an illustration of algebraic equations.


Going Concern and Accrual Accounting Evolved

1673 Code of Commerce in France requires biannual balance sheet reporting Charge and Discharge Agency Responsibility and Stewardship Accounting in English trust accounting

Limited liability Corporations

1555 A.D. Russia Company

1600 A.D. East India Company

1670 A.D. Hudson’s Bay Company

England’s Joint Stock Companies Act of 1844 required depreciation accounting for railroads, mining, and manufacturing

Laissez-Faire Accounting until the Great Depression in 1930

Much of the debate focused on capital maintenance (e.g., failure to charge off depreciation and failure to provide for replacement of operating assets), but governments did not legally impose auditing requirements and serious GAAP until the U.S. securities laws in the early 1930s.

After 1933, the AICPA and the SEC seriously attempted to generate accounting standards, enforce accounting standards, and provide academic justification for promulgated standards.


Accounting standards were generated by the AICPA’s Committee on Accounting Procedure (CAP) that issued Accounting Research Bulletins (51 ARBs) — but the tendency was to overlook controversial issues such as off-balance sheet financing, public disclosure of management forecasts, price-level accounting, current cost accounting,and exit value accounting.


Accounting standards in the U.S. were generated by the AICPA’s Accounting Principles Board(APB). The APB attacked some controversial issues but often failed to resolve their own disputes on such issues as pooling versus
purchase accounting for mergers.

Since 1972

.Accounting standards in the U.S. were, and still are, being generated by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that has seven members, including required members from industry, academe, and financial analysts in addition to members from public accountancy.

Unlike the CAP and APB, the FASB has a full-time research staff and has issued highly controversial standards forcing firms to abide by pension accounting rules,
capitalization of many leases, and booking of many previous OBSF items (capital leases, pensions, post-employment benefits, income tax accounting, derivative financial instruments, pooling accounting, etc.).



International Accounting Standards Board


  • IASC formed – inaugural meeting 29 June, London


  • First Exposure Draft published
  • First associate members admitted (Belgium, India, Israel, New Zealand, Pakistan and Zimbabwe)
  • IAS 1 Disclosure of Accounting Policies


  • Revised constitution adopted – Board expanded to 11 countries –
  • IFAC formed – IASC continues to be autonomous but with close relationship with IFAC


  • Consultative Group formed
  • IASC starts visits to national standard-setters
  • Working party on deferred taxes set up with standard-setters in the Netherlands, UK and US


IASC/IFAC mutual commitments – Board expanded to 13 countries plus four ‘other organisations with an interest in financial reporting’


  • OECD forum on accounting harmonisation
  • IASC responds to SEC multinational prospectus proposals


  • Comparability project started
  • IOSCO joins Consultative Group and supports Comparability project
  • First IASC Bound Volume of International Accounting Standards


  • IASC publishes survey on the use of IASs
  • FASB joins Consultative Group and joins Board as observer


  • FEE president Hermann Nordemann argues that Europe’s best interests are served by international harmonisation and greater involvement in IASC
  • Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements approved
  • IFAC public sector guideline requires government business enterprise to  follow IASs.


  • First IASC conference of standard-setters (organised in conjunction with FEE and FASB)
  • IASC Insight, IASC Update and publications subscription scheme launched
  • FASB plan supports international standards


  • Statement of Intent on Comparability of Financial Statements
  • European Commission joins Consultative Group and joins Board as observer
  • External funding launched
  • Bishop committee confirms relationship between IASC and IFAC


  • India replaces Korea on Board
  • IOSCO agrees list of core standards and endorses IAS 7 Cash Flow Statements
  • Comparability and Improvements project completed with approval of ten revised IASs .


  • SEC accepts three IAS treatments plus IAS 7
  • FASB agrees to work with IASC on earnings per share


  • Agreement with IOSCO to complete core standards by 1999 – on successful completion IOSCO will consider endorsing IASs for cross-border offerings
  • Malaysia and Mexico replace Italy and Jordan on Board – India and South Africa agree to share Board seats with Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe
  • European Commission supports IASC/IOSCO agreement and use of IASs by EU multinationals .


  • Core standards programme accelerated, target 1998
  • Board starts joint project on provisions with UK Accounting Standards Board
  • EU Contact Committee finds IASs compatible with EU directives, with minor exceptions
  • Australian Stock Exchange supports programme to harmonise Australian standards with IASs


  • Standing Interpretations Committee formed
  • IASC and FASB issue similar standards on earnings per share
  • IASC, FASB and CICA issue new Segments standards with relatively minor differences
  • People’s Republic of China becomes a member of IASC and IFAC and joins IASC Board as observer
  • FEE calls on Europe to use IASC’s Framework


  • New laws in Belgium, France, Germany and Italy allow large companies to use IASs domestically
  • IFAC Public Sector Committee publishes draft guideline for Governmental Financial Reporting as a platform for a set of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, to be based on IASs
  • Number of countries with IASC members passes 100
  • IASs published on CD ROM


  • G7 Finance Ministers and IMF urge support for IASs to ‘strengthen the international financial architecture’
  • New IFAC International Forum on Accountancy Development (IFAD) assumes commitment to ‘support the use of International Accounting Standards as the minimum benchmark’ worldwide
  • EC single market plan for financial services includes use of IASs
  • FEE urges allowing European companies to use IASs without EC Directives and to phase out US GAAP
  • Eurasian Federation of Accountants and Auditors plans adoption of IASs in CIS countries


  • SIC meetings opened to public observation
  • Basel Committee expresses support for IASs and for efforts to harmonise accounting internationally
  • SEC concept release regarding the use of international accounting standards in the US
  • As part of restructuring programme, IASC Board approves a new Constitution
  • IASC member bodies approve IASC’s restructuring and the new IASC Constitution
  • European Commission announces plans to require IASC standards for all EU listed companies from no later than 2005


  • Trustees announce members of the International Accounting Standards Board
  • European Commission presents legislation to require use of IASC Standards for all listed companies no later than 2005
  • Trustees bring new structure into effect – 1 April 2001 – IASB assumes responsibility for setting accounting standards, designated International Financial Reporting Standards .

Source:  www.iasb.org

Authored by : CA Rajkumar S Adukia , Email:[email protected]

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September 2021