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GAAP Accounting Principles Guide

Having a strong understanding of GAAP accounting is essential. GAAP encompasses a set of standards that govern the intricacies, complexities, and legalities of business and corporate accounting. These principles establish a framework for accurately recording, reporting, and analyzing financial transactions.

U.S. public companies are required to adhere to GAAP regulations when preparing their financial statements.

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GAAP Meaning

Generally accepted accounting principles, also known as GAAP are a set of standards that cover the intricate details, complexities, and legal aspects of business and corporate accounting. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) relies on GAAP as the cornerstone for its comprehensive collection of approved accounting methods and practices.

Ten GAAP Principles

Complying with GAAP ensures transparency in the financial reporting process and promotes standardization of assumptions, terminology, definitions, and methods. This enables external parties to effortlessly compare financial statements issued by GAAP-compliant entities and confidently assume consistency, facilitating quick and accurate cross-company comparisons.

  1. Principle of Regularity: It is essential for GAAP-compliant accountants to strictly adhere to established rules and regulations to ensure accuracy and transparency in financial reporting.
  2. Principle of Consistency: Consistent standards are applied throughout the financial reporting process, which helps in maintaining uniformity and comparability.
  3. Principle of Sincerity: GAAP-compliant accountants are dedicated to accuracy and impartiality, ensuring that financial information is presented honestly.
  4. Principle of Permanence of Methods: Consistent procedures are followed in the preparation of all financial reports, ensuring reliability and consistency.
  5. Principle of Non-Compensation: GAAP requires that all aspects of an organization's performance, whether positive or negative, are fully reported without the possibility of debt compensation.
  6. Principle of Prudence: GAAP discourages the influence of speculation on the reporting of financial data, ensuring reliability and objectivity.
  7. Principle of Continuity: Asset valuations assume that the organization's operations will continue, providing a realistic representation of its financial position.
  8. Principle of Periodicity: Reporting of revenues is divided into standard accounting periods, such as fiscal quarters or fiscal years, facilitating timely and meaningful financial analysis.
  9. Principle of Materiality: Financial reports fully disclose the organization's monetary situation, including any significant information that could impact decision-making.
  10. Principle of Utmost Good Faith: All parties involved in financial reporting are assumed to be acting honestly and ethically, promoting trust and transparency.


In contrast, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are a set of international accounting standards that dictate how specific types of transactions and other events should be presented in financial statements. Public accountants must also adhere to these standards alongside GAAP.

More than 144 countries across the globe have embraced IFRS, intending to create a universal language for company accounting matters. Despite the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) expressing their interest in transitioning from GAAP to IFRS, progress in this area has been slow.

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Key points on IFRS

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), an independent organization based in London with members from around the world, is responsible for developing IFRS. IFRS is widely used in over 140 countries and is considered the most prevalent set of accounting standards globally. Notably, more than 140 countries, including the European Union, Canada, and Japan, have adopted IFRS for listed companies.

IFRS makes it easier for investors and other stakeholders to understand a company's financial performance and can reduce the costs of preparing and auditing financial statements.


How we can help

At H&CO, our experienced team of tax professionals understands the complexities of income tax preparation and is dedicated to guiding you through the process. With offices in Miami, Coral Gables, Aventura, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale, our CPAs are readily available to assist you with all your income tax planning and tax preparation needs. To learn more about our accounting firm services take a look at our individual tax servicesbusiness tax servicesinternational tax servicesexpatriate tax servicesSAP Business Oneentity managementhuman capital, and audit and assurance services.

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