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Explaining Basic Accounting Concepts and Business Structures

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Explaining Basic Accounting Concepts and Business Structures The Hierarchy of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles identifies the sources for the accounting standards and principles. These sources include “FASB Standards, Interpretations, and Staff Positions; APB Opinions; and AICPA Accounting Research Bulletins” (Kieso, Weygandt, & Warfield, 2007, p. 12). When companies prepare financial statements in accordance with GAAP, they sometimes run into situations in which some standards do not address a certain situation or two standards may conflict. Because of this the Statement of Accounting Standard Number (SAS) 69 established a hierarchy to follow. The hierarchy forms a kind of order for GAAP rules and procedures used in preparing financial statements. The hierarchy is made up of four categories that have a descending level of authority. For example, “Category A consists of the following principles: FASB Statements of Financial Accounting Standards, FASB Interpretations, APB Opinions, and AICPA Accounting Research Bulletins” (eNotes, 2011, para. 5). Because the categories are in descending order, category A would take precedence over the other three categories. The FASB identified certain qualities of accounting information that make it effective for making decision. For accounting information to be considered effective it should possess these four qualities: relevance, reliability, comparability, and consistency. The information should be relevant enough to make a difference in a decision and reliable enough to be verified. Users are counting on the expertise of auditors to give them relevant and reliable accounting information because most users are not qualified to determine for themselves if the information is relevant and reliable. The accounting information should also be comparable and consistent. “Comparability enables users to identify...

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