GAAP vs IFRS: 6 Differences Between Accounting Standards 2023


Work is being done to converge GAAP and IFRS, but the process has been slow going. Any probable contingency needs to be reflected in the financial statements—no exceptions. Possible contingencies—those that are neither probable nor remote—should be disclosed in the footnotes of the financial statements. Suppose a lawsuit is filed against a company, and the plaintiff claims damages up to AED.

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. A company’s cash flow statement is also prepared differently under GAAP and IFRS. Understanding these differences between IFRS and GAAP accounting is essential for business owners operating internationally. Investors and other stakeholders need to be aware of these differences so they can correctly interpret financials under either standard.

  • The Revenue Recognition Standard, effective 2018, was a joint project between the FASB and IASB with near-complete convergence.
  • Any probable contingency needs to be reflected in the financial statements—no exceptions.
  • The IFRS standard was established to create a common financial language that could be easily understood by auditors, government regulators, investors and any other third party, across borders.
  • GAAP is rules based, which means that it is full of very specific rules for how to treat a large number of transactions.

Company management should consult experts or research prior accounting cases before making determinations. In the event of an audit, the company must be able to explain and defend its contingent accounting decisions. Each business transaction is recorded using the double-entry accounting method, with a credit entry to one account and a debit entry to another. Contingent liabilities, although not yet realized, are recorded as journal entries. If a court is likely to rule in favour of the plaintiff, whether because there is strong evidence of wrongdoing or some other factor, the company should report a contingent liability equal to probable damages. Development costs can be capitalized under IFRS, as long as certain criteria are met.

Business Insights

Meanwhile, IFRS is used by over 150+ countries worldwide, spanning Europe, Asia, and South America. While there are several differences between GAAP and IFRS principles, there are some similarities as well. The overall framework for accounting and finance has a similar structure for both GAAP and IFRS. GAAP protocols do not allow the asset value to increase after the impairment.


The traditional business model in the automotive industry has gradually begun to shift from one-time purchases to continuous post-sale revenue. The updated standard helped ensure that the accounting guidelines would better match the underlying economics of new business models and products. Despite the many differences, there are meaningful similarities as evidenced in recent accounting rule changes by both US GAAP and IFRS. A classic example of revenue recognition manipulation that we discussed in our Accounting Crash Course was software-maker Transaction Systems Architects (TSAI). Under US GAAP, both Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) and First-In-First-Out (FIFO) cost methods are allowed. However, LIFO is not permitted under IFRS because LIFO generally does not represent the physical flow of goods.

What Is GAAP?

GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) are two key regulatory requirements related to financial reporting. IFRS has a more stringent approach to intangible asset recognition and allows for IFRS Vs GAAP the revaluation of certain intangibles. GAAP, on the other hand, has more specific rules and does not allow for revaluation. Financial reporting principles make it possible to compare the financial health and performance of different companies.

About IFRS – Allianz

About IFRS.

Posted: Tue, 01 Aug 2023 09:50:37 GMT [source]

US GAAP distinguishes between Operating and Finance Leases (both are recognized on the Balance Sheet), while IFRS does not. Referred to as ‘Provisions’ under IFRS, contingent liabilities refer to liabilities for which the likelihood and amount of the settlement are contingent upon a future and unresolved event. However, adjusted EBITDA will be included in a separate reconciliation section rather than directly showing up on the actual income statement. Three methods that companies use to value inventory are FIFO, LIFO, and weighted inventory. While GAAP and IFRS share many similarities, there are several contrasts, beyond the regions in which they’re applied. The video below compares the treatment of fixed assets under IFRS and GAAP.

When an asset experiences a reduction in value due to market or technological factors—which in turn, causes it to fall below its current value in a company’s account—it’s classified as a loss on impairment. While impairment is often permanent, an asset’s value can increase after this loss has been recognized if the elements that caused it no longer exist. For professionals in non-accounting roles, understanding what’s behind an organization’s numbers can be immensely valuable. Knowing how to analyze financial statements can improve your ability to communicate results and boost collaboration with colleagues in more numbers-focused positions. While U.S. companies use GAAP and do not directly use IFRS for their SEC filings, IFRS nevertheless impacts them. For example, in cases of global mergers and acquisitions, when they have non-US subsidiaries or non-US stakeholders like investors, customers or vendors.

Statement of retained earnings explained

Under U.S. GAAP, owner’s accounts are presented in the retained earnings statement which is most often called the Statement of Stockholders’ Equity. This statement, under IFRS, is usually called the Statement of Changes in Equity. What is the difference between GAAP and IFRS statement of retained earnings? When reporting the various accounts that appear in the retained earnings statements, some of the biggest differences between the U.S.

Extraordinary or unusual items are included in the income statement and not segregated under IFRS. While, under GAAP, they are separated and shown below the net income portion of the income statement. The IFRS Foundation works with more than a dozen consultative bodies, representing the many different stakeholder groups that are impacted by financial reporting. Research & development, or R&D, is a large expense in many industry sectors. This is true under IFRS as well, however, IFRS also requires certain R&D expenditures to be capitalized (e.g. some internal costs like prototyping). The point of IFRS is to maintain stability and transparency throughout the financial world.

Difference Between GAAP and IFRS

The IASB does not set GAAP, nor does it have any legal authority over GAAP. 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. However, if the market value later increases, only IFRS allows the earlier write-down to be reversed.

It’s impossible to know whether the company should report a contingent liability of AED. Here, the company should rely on precedent and legal counsel to ascertain the likelihood of damages. Two classic examples of contingent liabilities include a company warranty and a lawsuit against the company.

This requirement is the key difference between the statement of retained earnings GAAP vs IFRS. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (U.S. GAAP), a statement of retained earnings is required whenever comparative balance sheets and income statements are presented. According to GAAP, the statement of retained earnings may appear in the balance sheet, in the notes to the financial statements, or in a combined income statement and changes in retained earnings statement. In the United States, financial reporting practices are organized within the framework of the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) which are set forth by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

Build a standard process

Her expertise helps business leaders to understand the advent of new technologies and development in digital space and how to implement it effectively. In addition to her professional commitment, she finds pleasure in exploring new destinations and embracing her role as an army spouse. The SEC feels that GAAP offers a better framework for financial and accounting reporting. They observe that IFRS’s flexibility leaves things open to interpretation and judgment, and may not promote a standard and consistent framework for reporting financials. The GAAP standards are used in the US, as US organizations need to follow local compliance measures.

GAAP, primarily used within the United States, and IFRS, adopted in over 140 countries globally, play instrumental roles in regulating business finances and accounting worldwide. Both individual and corporate investors can analyze a company’s financial statements and make an informed decision on whether or not to invest in the company. The IFRS is used in the European Union, South America, and some parts of Asia and Africa.

GAAP emphasizes smooth earning results from year to year, giving investors a view of normalized results. Taxes, for example, are reported based on statutory rates, not on what the company actually paid. They are designed to help investors understand average capital spending and taxation for the company. Working through the vagaries of contingent accounting is sometimes challenging and inexact.

Balance Sheet

GAAP requires that fixed assets be stated at their cost, net of any accumulated depreciation. IFRS allows fixed assets to be revalued, so their reported values on the balance sheet could increase. The IFRS approach is more theoretically correct, but also requires substantially more accounting effort.

Globant Reports 2023 Second Quarter Financial Results – PR Newswire

Globant Reports 2023 Second Quarter Financial Results.

Posted: Thu, 17 Aug 2023 20:15:00 GMT [source]

It’s an independent, private-sector organization that operates only in the interest of serving the public and meeting the needs of investors, lenders, and other users of financial reports. It operates to address the constantly changing financial and business environment and adapt the GAAP guidelines to meet these changes. GAAP, specifically, US GAAP, is regulated by the Security and Exchange Commission. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) are in charge of making up the rules that become GAAP. The reason for not using LIFO under the IFRS accounting standard is that it does not show an accurate inventory flow and may portray lower levels of income than is the actual case. On the other hand, the flexibility to use either FIFO or LIFO under GAAP allows companies to choose the most convenient method when valuing inventory.

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