/  Bookkeeping   /  Roadmap: Comparing IFRS Accounting Standards and U S. GAAP: Bridging the Differences July 2022 Deloitte Accounting Research Tool

Roadmap: Comparing IFRS Accounting Standards and U S. GAAP: Bridging the Differences July 2022 Deloitte Accounting Research Tool

revaluation model

The treatment of acquired intangible assets helps illustrate why the International Financial Reporting Standards are considered more principles-based. Under IFRS, they are only recognized if the asset will have a future economic benefit and has measured reliability. Intangible assets are things like goodwill, R&D, and advertising costs. For units of production method, the depreciation expenses are charged based on the output assets that could produce, delivered, or used. Demands that all UK businesses prepare their financial statements to accounting standards set by the UK or the international accounting standards community.

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Land improvements that have a useful botkeeper and add to the functionality of the land should be booked in a separate asset account and depreciated under GAAP and IFRS. In IFRS an entity should record the initial costs of the fixed asset as its cost using essentially the same criteria as GAAP. There is a difference, though, in what IFRS considers to be costs of the fixed asset in the condition and location for its use.

It covers the recognition, measurements, presentation and disclosure of financial information. Usually, these principles also match with those set by the IFRS. The primary feature of the GAAP standards is that it only applies to companies in the US. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, refer to the accounting standards prevalent in the US.

Accounting for Assets requires accounts to be listed in the order of liquidity whereas, under IFRS, the order is reversed . Once, this happens, then the balance sheet is said to be in balance, but if this doesn’t happen, then it is not balanced. Business owners, accountants, investors, auditors, etc make use of the balance sheet to track a company’s earnings and spending. Accounting Standards — two of the most widely used accounting standards in the world. The 2022 edition includes updated and expanded guidance that reflects standards effective as of January 1, 2023, for calendar-year-end public entities.

Increasing attention is now being paid on the management of intangible assets and the IFRS3 has responded to this need by detailing accounting procedures for intangible assets. Goodwill makes up approximately two thirds of the value of intangible assets of US companies and the figure for companies registered in the EU would presumably be similar. International Accounting Standard Board issued International Financial Reporting Standard 3- Business and Combination in 2004. This new standard provides significant changes for the accounting treatment of intangible assets, goodwill and business combinations. GAAP is a common set of accepted accounting principles, standards, and procedures that companies and their accountants must follow when they compile their financial statements.

The Balance Sheet

There are no live interactions during the course that requires the learner to speak English. We expect to offer our courses in additional languages in the future but, at this time, HBS Online can only be provided in English. These principles are dictated by the International Accounting Standards Board and followed in many countries outside the US. GAAP, also referred to as US GAAP, is an acronym for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. This set of guidelines is set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and adhered to by most US companies. Harvard Business School Online’s Business Insights Blog provides the career insights you need to achieve your goals and gain confidence in your business skills.

  • Both IFRS and GAAP allow businesses to recognize an impairment loss.
  • IFRS requires financial statements to include a balance sheet, income statement, changes in equity, cash flow statement, and footnotes.
  • Some intangibles require an amount of expenditure, such as a renewal fee, to keep them operational.
  • Generally accepted accounting principles refer to a common set of accepted accounting principles, standards, and procedures that companies and their accountants must follow when they compile their financial statements.

The Internal Revenue Service updated its frequently asked questions about the information return for reporting transactions involving payment cards and third-party networks. If the pattern cannot be determined reliably, amortise by the straight-line method. The amortisation method should reflect the pattern of benefits. Arises from contractual or other legal rights, regardless of whether those rights are transferable or separable from the entity or from other rights and obligations. Scaling fast and deciding whether to buy or to build your payments and billing solution in-house? In this webinar we unpack the financial impact of building and managing your payment and billing solution in-house.


Under IFRS, costs in the research phase are expensed as incurred. Costs in the development phase may be capitalized based on certain factors. On the other hand, US GAAP generally requires immediate expensing of both research and development expenditures, although some exceptions exist. Development costs are however assessed for valuation of long term benefits and, amortised over their determined benefit period.

Although we have seen moderate convergence of US GAAP and IFRS in the past, the likelihood of a single set of international standards being adopted in the near term remains very low. We undertake various activities to support the consistent application of IFRS Standards, which includes implementation support for recently issued Standards. We do this because the quality of implementation and application of the Standards affects the benefits that investors receive from having a single set of global standards. Discontinued operations are company assets or components of a business that the organization has already discontinued or plans to discontinue. Under IFRS, a write-down of inventory can be reversed in future periods if specific criteria are met. By being more principles-based, IFRS, arguably, represents and captures the economics of a transaction better than GAAP.

gaap requires

Generally, IFRS uses the expected value in its measurement of the amount of the liability recognized, whereas the amount of the liability recognized under US GAAP depends on the distribution of potential outcomes. This can lead to differences in the recognition, measurement, and even disclosure of contingent liabilities if an organization was reporting under US GAAP or IFRS. Due to market or technological factors, an asset may experience a reduction in value which in turn causes it to fall below its current value in a company’s account. Even though impairment is usually permanent, an asset’s value can increase after this loss has been recognized if the elements that caused it no longer exists. Financial reporting tends to provide and facilitate comparison between companies allowing both cross-sectional and time series analysis.

II. The cost of the intangible asset can be measured reliably. Under FRS 102, revenue is recognised only when costs can be reliably measured and it’s likely that the business will benefit economically. Under FRS 102, users can decide to either capitalise or expense the borrowing costs related to acquiring or building property, whereas, under IFRS, the costs are always capitalised. When it comes to property investment, meanwhile, IFRS allows the business to choose between holding it at depreciated cost or fair value.

Under the GAAP, either the LIFO or FIFO method can be used to estimate inventory. The GAAP is a set of principles that companies in the United States must follow when preparing their annual financial statements. The measures take an authoritative approach to the accounting process so that there will be minimal or no inconsistency in the financial statements submitted by public companies to the US Securities and Exchange Commission . It enables investors to make cross-comparisons of financial statements of various publicly-traded companies in order to make an educated decision regarding investments. An organisation requires the valuation of the fair value of all identifiable fair value of all tangible and intangible assets of the business for recognition of goodwill. The standards that govern financial reporting and accounting vary from country to country.


How this business owner will calculate the financial value of the shoes left will depend on the accounting principles that he or she follows. Companies make use of three methods to value inventory such as FIFO, LIFO, and weighted inventory. IFRS, on the other hand, allows companies to elect fair value treatment of fixed assets; this means that the reported value of the asset can increase or decrease as its fair value changes. Also, IFRS allows separate depreciation processes for separable components of PP&E whereas the US GAAP may allow that but does not require such cost segregations. GAAP and IFRS are both accounting principles used in financial reporting and outlined principles and rules for companies to follow.

This is for long-lived assets that have a change in market value. The International Accounting Standards Board oversees the IFRS principles. This London-based board was founded in 2001 and set standards for accounting operations in many countries. Under IFRS 16, lessees do not classify leases; and, if using the “simplified approach,” they can separately elect to exclude initial direct costs from the measurement of the right-of-use asset. Under IFRS, amortization and interest are presented separately in the cash flow statement and follow their respective classification guidance.


Generally speaking, most UK companies will use the UK GAAP FRS 102 accounting standard to prepare all financial statements. This is because the requirements are less complex and demanding than the international standards, so the accounts take less time to process and the overall cost is lower. Another major difference is the treatment of asset impairments. Under GAAP, if you have an impairment, then it’s charged to expense, and you cannot take it back. But under IFRS, if the asset’s value goes back up, you can take back the amount of the impairment. If the impairment exceeds the revaluation, then you charge the remainder against current income.

  • When such multi-element arrangements exist, the standards require each separate lease and nonlease component to be accounted for separately unless an entity elects to not separate components .
  • LIFO, or Last In First Out, takes the opposite approach of FIFO.
  • In case of a reduction in the value, the income allocation over the lease term is revised and any reduction with respect to amounts already accrued would be recognized immediately.
  • This is because the requirements are less complex and demanding than the international standards, so the accounts take less time to process and the overall cost is lower.

I won’t go into the issue of property, plant and equipment disclosures under GAAP and IFRS, but there are differences. One of the main differences is that IFRS deals with a “decommissioning fund” that should be recorded and disclosed in the notes. A less important difference is that if you pay for a major overhaul of an asset, you have to add the cost to an asset under IFRS, but you generally charge it to expense under GAAP.

IFRS was established in order to have a common accounting language, so business and accounts can be understood from company to company and country to country. Unlike IAS 2, US GAAP allows use of different cost formulas for inventory, despite having similar nature and use to the company. Therefore, each company in a group can categorize its inventory and use the cost formula best suited to it. Despite the many differences, there are meaningful similarities as evidenced in recent accounting rule changes by both US GAAP and IFRS. Under US GAAP, both Last-In-First-Out and First-In-First-Out cost methods are allowed. However, LIFO is not permitted under IFRS because LIFO generally does not represent the physical flow of goods.