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The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates

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The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates

By: Benjamin T. Givens

INTRODUCTION
Over the past few decades, different generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) have been developed in various countries. These differences have arisen in response to the unique legal, regulatory, litigious, social, economic, religious, and cultural environments of the countries they were created in (Wiecek and Young, 1-2). The increase in globalization coupled with related regulations has given rise to the need for a common set of global accounting standards – International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Leading the charge, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), formerly known as the International Accounting Standards Committee, has begun a movement toward harmonization and convergence of GAAP. More than 100 countries currently use IFRS, so if your business goals include global expansion, it is critical to educate yourself about the impact of IFRS on your financial reporting processes and business now (U.S. GAAP vs. IFRS). This paper will focus specifically on the differences and similarities between IFRS and U.S. GAAP with respect to accounting for the effects of changes in foreign exchange rates. The guidance related to accounting for foreign currencies in U.S. GAAP is included in Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 830, Foreign Currency Matters. In IFRS, the guidance related to accounting for foreign currency issues is contained in International Accounting Standard (IAS) 21, The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates. Additional IFRS guidance is contained in IAS 29, Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies.
Before delving too deep into the significant differences between U.S. GAAP and IFRS, it is important to understand the terminology used within the two standards. IAS...

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