14 September 2010
IFRS vs. GAAP (Oil & Gas)
The differences between International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and current U.S. GAAP are numerous. International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are principles-based Standards, Interpretations and the Framework (1989) adopted by the International Accounting Standard Board (IASB). Many of the standards forming part of IFRS are known by the older name of International Accounting Standards (IAS). IAS was issued between 1973 and 2001 by the Board of the International Accounting Standard Committee (IASC). On 1 April 2001, the new IASB took over from the IASC the responsibility for setting International Accounting Standards. During its first meeting the new Board adopted existing IAS and SICs. The IASB has continued to develop standards calling the new standards IFRS. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) is a term used to refer to the standard framework of guidelines for financial accounting used in any given jurisdiction which are generally known as Accounting Standards. GAAP includes the standards, conventions, and rules accountants follow in recording and summarizing transactions, and in the preparation of financial statement.
U.S. GAAP and IFRS differ in key ways, including their fundamental premise. At the highest level, U.S. GAAP is more of a rules-based system, whereas IFRS is more principles-based. This distinction may prove more difficulty than it initially appears, because most accounting and finance professionals in the U.S. have been schooled in the rules of U.S. GAAP. The overriding lesson from their years of study and work is this: If you have an issue, look it up. Under U.S. GAAP, voluminous guidance attempts to address nearly every conceivable accounting problem that might arise. And if that guidance doesn’t exist, it generally is created. On the other hand, IFRS is a far shorter volume of principles-based standards, and...