Charlene Helm

international accounting standards vs us gaap

In addition, certain differences exist between the detailed requirements of IAS 7 and ASC 230, which could affect dual preparers. See KPMG Handbook, Statement of cash flows, to learn more about the US GAAP requirements. Inventory represents a significant part of the balance sheet for many companies. In us accounting vs international accounting accounting for inventory determining and capturing the costs to be recognized as an asset through the inventory lifecycle is key, because it affects a company’s KPIs such as gross profit margin. Here we summarize what we see as the main differences on inventory accounting between the two standards.

Understanding the differences is crucial for internationally operating companies and investors who analyse financial statements. GAAP is managed and published by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which regularly updates the list of principles and standards. It is the U.S. equivalent of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Though only regulated and publicly traded businesses are legally obligated to follow GAAP, some private companies also choose to meet the same standards in financial statements.

US accounting vs. international accounting: key differences

For a more comprehensive listing of differences, including lessor accounting differences, see KPMG guide, IFRS® compared to US GAAP. The applications vary slightly from program to program, but all ask for some personal background information. If you are new to HBS Online, you https://www.bookstime.com/ will be required to set up an account before starting an application for the program of your choice. In the US, under GAAP, all of these approaches to inventory valuation are permitted, while IFRS allows for the FIFO and weighted average methods to be used, but not LIFO.

international accounting standards vs us gaap

Essentially, this principle requires accountants to report financial information only in the relevant accounting period. For example, if an accounting team is compiling a report on the revenue earned within a quarter, the report must focus only on that exact period. One of the ways the SEC has pursued these goals is by upholding the domestic quality of financial reporting and encouraging the convergence of the U.S. and IFRS standards. Under US GAAP, bank overdrafts are considered a form of short-term financing and are generally6 presented as liabilities, with changes therein classified as financing activities (draws separate from repayments) in the statement of cash flows. Accountants commit to applying the same standards throughout the reporting process, from one period to the next, to ensure financial comparability between periods. Accountants are expected to fully disclose and explain the reasons behind any changed or updated standards in the footnotes to the financial statements.


Some candidates may qualify for scholarships or financial aid, which will be credited against the Program Fee once eligibility is determined. GAAP specifies that dividends paid be accounted for in the financing section, and dividends received in the operating section. When following IFRS standards, companies have a choice of how they categorize dividends. Dividends paid can be put in either the operating or financing section, and dividends received in the operating or investing section. The IASB can be thought of as a very influential group of people who are involved in debating and making up accounting rules. However, a lot of people actually do listen to what the IASB has to say on matters of accounting.

At the conceptual level, IFRS is considered more of a principles-based accounting standard in contrast to GAAP, which is considered more rules-based. The predecessor to the IFRS Foundation, the International Accounting Standards Committee, was formed in 1973. Initial members were accounting bodies from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, the U.K., and the United States. Today, IFRS has become the global standard for the preparation of public company financial statements and 144 out of 166 jurisdictions require IFRS standards. Inventories are generally measured at the lower of cost and net realizable value (NRV)3.

Principle of Periodicity

Further, if the leaseback would be classified as a finance lease by the seller-lessee (or as a sales-type lease by the buyer-lessor), then sale recognition is automatically precluded. If the seller-lessee has a substantive option to repurchase the underlying asset, the transfer is not a sale and sale-leaseback accounting does not apply. The IFRS Foundation works with more than a dozen consultative bodies, representing the many different stakeholder groups that are impacted by financial reporting.

  • Under IAS 12, income tax related to items recognized outside profit or loss is itself recognized outside profit or loss.
  • International accounting differs from US accounting when it comes to long-lived assets.
  • Collectively, these standards form what are called the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
  • The GAAP outlines the procedures and practices that must be followed by public companies in the US, including what financial statements and other information must be recorded and reported.
  • Since 2007, foreign companies in the US have been able to forgo reconciling financial statements with the GAAP if their accounts already comply with the IFRS, for Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting specifically.

GAAP addresses such things as revenue recognition, balance sheet, item classification, and outstanding share measurements. If a financial statement is not prepared using GAAP, investors should be cautious. Also, some companies may use both GAAP- and non-GAAP-compliant measures when reporting financial results. GAAP regulations require that non-GAAP measures are identified in financial statements and other public disclosures, such as press releases.

In practice, since much of the world uses the IFRS standard, a convergence to IFRS could have advantages for international corporations and investors alike. As corporations increasingly need to navigate global markets and conduct operations worldwide, international standards are becoming increasingly popular at the expense of GAAP, even in the U.S. Almost all S&P 500 companies report at least one non-GAAP measure of earnings as of 2019. The procedures used in financial reporting should be consistent, allowing a comparison of the company’s financial information. The IASB has no active standard-setting project to require similar income tax disclosures.

  • Investors and financial analysts must be sure they understand which set of standards a company is using, and how its bottom line or financial ratios will change if the accounting system were different.
  • Some candidates may qualify for scholarships or financial aid, which will be credited against the Program Fee once eligibility is determined.
  • The future requires continued convergence in key areas such as revenue recognition and financial instruments.
  • Systems of accounting, or accounting standards, are guidelines and regulations issued by governing bodies.
  • Last in, first out (LIFO) is an inventory method where a company records its most recently produced products as sold first.
  • If a corporation’s stock is publicly traded, its financial statements must adhere to rules established by the U.S.

It is often compared with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which is considered more of a principles-based standard. IFRS is a more international standard, and there have been recent efforts to transition GAAP reporting to IFRS. If you’re doing business internationally, it’s important to understand the difference between national and international accounting standards. The International Accounting Standards Board has recently amended IAS 12 to introduce a temporary mandatory exception from the accounting for deferred tax related to top-up tax. However, companies are required to provide new disclosures about their exposure to the top-up tax at a reporting date, particularly before the new tax rules come into effect. However, a company’s Corporate AMT status in the future will affect the realization of its deferred tax.