Critically Evaluate the Need for Accounting Standards and the Need for a Set of Principles on Which They Are Based

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Question 1
Critically evaluate the need for accounting standards and the need for a set of principles on which they are based. Accounting Standards
Accounting standards contain a set of rules and governing practices for the treatment of all financial transactions. The main objective of accounting standards is to establish recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure requirements dealing with financial transactions and key events which are important in the financial statements of companies. These financial statements give end-users important information, as well as an in depth understanding about an organization's performance, position and cash flow. Some examples of users of financial statements include potential investors, employees, suppliers and government agencies. As such, accounting standards provide the basic framework for financial statements to be presented in a fair and credible manner, such that it reflects the true overview of the financial status of an organization. These standards also help to present financial statements in a standardized and coherent manner, so that end-users worldwide are able to extract information and make decisions based on them. Advantages of Accounting Standards

One advantage of having accounting standards is that it helps to ease the understanding of financial statements. What this means is that with accounting standards, financial statements reflect the financial position and status of an organization in a clear and coherent manner. With the need to publish financial statements in accordance to accounting standards, it also improves the credibility and reliability of the information present in the financial statements. End users, such as potential investors, top management and stakeholders, are able to make more informed decisions with greater confidence based on the information extracted. Accounting standards also provides guidance for accountants in their line of work. When financial reporting issues arise, accountants may refer to published accounting standards to determine how to publish an event. Some examples of these issues include new accounting transactions and new actions incorporated by an organization. Since accounting standards serve both as a reference and a guideline to accountants, this reiterates the transparency, reliability and credibility of financial statements when they are published based on a common accounting framework. Disadvantages of Accounting Standards

A disadvantage of using accounting standards is in its inflexibility. For example, an accountant working in an organization which complies with accounting standards might find himself having a hard time in his line of work. This is because he has to make the organization’s unique experience fit into the guidelines laid out in published accounting standards. Another disadvantage of accounting standards is in its cost to comply with the standard. When a company decides to comply with the new standard, it must first consider the requirements of the standard, and what actions the company must take to implement the standard and the cost to do so. In many cases, this proves to be very costly as implementing and complying with a new standard would require system upgrades and employee training. Principle-based Standards

Principle-based standards (PBS) is a framework of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) which accountants use for financial reporting. Some examples of the guidelines found in PBS include regularity, consistency, sincerity, prudence, continuity, periodicity and good faith. In PBS, an accountant follows these simple key objectives which help to ensure good reporting. The rules and guidelines set out in PBS only serves as reference and guide the accountant when he is doing his financial reporting. Advantages

* Flexible, its broad guidelines allows it to be used in various circumstances * Allows companies to produce financial report using a method that best suit them...
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