What Are the US GAAP
(Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) Standards?

A set of regularly followed accounting rules and standards for financial reporting is known as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP or US GAAP). 


The requirements of GAAP, the standard set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), contain regulations relevant to each sector, as well as explanations of concepts and principles. 


GAAP is designed to make sure that financial reporting is open and uniform across all organizations. Such rules and regulations also allow professional accounting firms in Malaysia to provide reliable accounting services by following global industry standards. 


History of US GAAP

Companies would be free to publish financial information in whatever style best suited their requirements if there were no regulatory restrictions. Investors might be readily duped by the capacity to present a company’s financial situation favourably.


Businesses’ inaccurate and deceptive reporting tactics were largely to blame for the Great Depression of 1929, a financial disaster that resulted in years of suffering for millions of Americans. In response, the federal government and expert accounting organizations set out to develop guidelines for the moral and truthful reporting of financial data.

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Who Manages GAAP?

Although the U.S. federal government mandates that public corporations follow GAAP, it has no input into the creation of these guidelines. Instead, it is left to independent boards to establish, update, and maintain accounting rules.


These boards get together to talk about prospective modifications and new standards when GAAP problems or queries come up. For instance, the board members gathered to discuss how corporations and governments should disclose the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The Financial Accounting Foundation is in charge of ensuring that the boards behave appropriately and carry out their duties.


US GAAP and Industry Standards

GAAP is a collection of rules. While its principles aim to increase the openness of financial statements, they do not ensure that a company’s financial statements are free from mistakes or omissions that are meant to deceive investors.


The SEC aims to switch from using GAAP to using International Financial Reporting Standards, according to its statement (IFRS). 


However, the latter departs significantly from GAAP, and adoption or convergence has made poor progress. (View IFRS, International Financial Reporting Standards.)


Although the government does not control GAAP, both the government and industry have worked together to make it possible. 


All firms are not required to utilize GAAP, but those publicly listed and subject to SEC regulation are required to do so for the purposes of financial reporting.


Companies with external investors are not required to adhere to this standard, but those that do are held to it by the SEC, which mandates annual external audits by independent accountants. 


Despite the requirement, the SEC is not in charge of the GAAP standards. Instead, any modifications to the corporate level’s financial reporting requirements are actively influenced by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). 


The FASB seeks advice from the FASB Advisory Council (FASAC) on any issues that could affect GAAP regulations.


Governmental organizations, on the other hand, are subject to a set of guidelines that vary somewhat from GAAP. These standards are overseen by the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB). 


The GAAP regulations in other nations are distinct from those in the U.S. These regulations are made by the FASB in each nation, such as the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA).


The Securities and Exchange Commission published a tentative “roadmap” in 2008 that may eventually result in the United States abandoning GAAP and adopting the London-based International Financial Reporting Standards instead (IFRS).

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3 Components of US GAAP

Following are the three main parts of US GAAP:

Basic Accounting Principles

There are ten principles that separate the business dealings of an organization from the private dealings of its owners, standardize the monetary units used in reports, and expressly state the time periods covered by certain reports. The recognized best practices for cost, transparency, matching, revenue recognition, professional judgment, and conservatism are all taken into consideration.

FASB Rules and Standards

The FASB publishes the FASB Accounting Standards Codification, a collection of standards that are formally recognized and often updated. Standards based on prior APB-established best practices are included in the compendium. These organizations have their roots in historical financial reporting laws that the federal government put in place after the 1929 stock market disaster that started the Great Depression.

Industry Practices

Not all businesses adhere to the GAAP paradigm. Instead, specialized organizations adhere to industry-specific best practices that are meant to represent the subtleties and complexity of various business fields. The accounting and financial reporting practices employed by banks, for instance, vary from retail enterprises.


Overall, US GAAP plays an important role in setting global standards that different organizations, businesses, industries, and firms, including accounting firms in Malaysia, can follow to ensure they comply with global accounting and auditing standards. 


The goal of GAAP is to ensure that all businesses’ financial reporting is transparent and consistent. By adhering to international industry standards, these rules and regulations also enable Malaysian professional accounting firms to offer trustworthy accounting services.