What Are Accounting Standards

Accounting standards are a set of fixed rules and guidelines. They bring structure to the way financial information is recorded and presented. The purpose is to establish a common language for communicating financial data.

Maintaining accounting standards is paramount in today’s digital world. They are the foundation for accurate financial reporting and for maintaining accuracy and transparency.

These standard operating procedures (SOPs) need access to relevant information. It ensures that the true finances of an organization are not muddied. Investors, creditors, and regulatory bodies rely on this data to make informed decisions about the organization’s financial future.

Objectives of Accounting Standards

Let’s delve into the objectives and highlight the significant role that accounting standards play in shaping precise financial reporting.

  • The role of accounting standards is like a compass that guides sailors through challenging waters. Accounting frameworks go beyond individual companies, industries, or geographical boundaries. They are the foundation for financial reporting.
  • Accounting standards are a fundamental framework for ensuring consistency and reliability in recognizing, measuring, and presenting financial transactions and events. 
  • Uniformity is crucial for stakeholders such as investors and creditors to make significant comparisons across entities, industries, and time. Without the implementation of standardized practices, the financial world would be chaotic.
  • For example, by providing reliable information, accounting standards help investors assess the potential risks and rewards associated with investing in a specific company or industry.

Advantages of Accounting Standards

Numbers play a significant role in deciphering complex business situations. Accounting standards offer countless benefits that go beyond numbers and calculations. Read on to understand the positive impact of adopting accounting standards and how they promote comparability, credibility, and informed decision-making.

  • Comparability

Accounting standards establish a universal language beyond industries, geographical boundaries, and corporations. These standards serve as a basis for uniform financial reporting, allowing stakeholders to confidently compare the financial performance of various organizations or departments. Imagine assessing companies’ finances without a shared benchmark – such a scenario would make benchmarking impossible. Accounting standards are the cornerstone that allows for fair and accurate insight into an organization’s financials.

  • Credibility and Transparency

Credibility is vital in financial reporting, and transparency is its foundation. By adhering to accounting standards, financial statements become reliable, allowing stakeholders can rely on them. Companies that adhere to these standards display their commitment to transparent operations and accurate financial reporting. This, in turn, helps attract investors, creditors, and potential business partners.

  • Reducing Risk 

Accounting standards are a robust barrier against financial fraud and manipulation. These strict guidelines leave no room for manipulative accounting practices. By providing a clear SOP, these standards limit the scope of scams and fraud and foster an environment built on trust and honesty.

  • Informed Decision Making

Navigating the complex world of business calls for making well-informed decisions consistently. Accounting standards play a vital role in guiding decision-makers toward sound choices. Standardized financial data offers decision-makers a reliable foundation on which to base strategic decisions. The consistency in reporting empowers executives to assess financial performance, evaluate risks and allocate resources more accurately. This consistency is particularly valuable for companies with multiple subsidiaries as it enables uniform performance evaluation across the organization.

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Types of Accounting Standards

Standardized accounting practices are crucial when businesses operate across borders and monetary transactions cross boundaries. Different regions adopt specific accounting standards that reflect their specific economic and regulatory environments. 

Let’s explore the significance, applicability, and global implications of three important sets of accounting standards.

  • International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

IFRS is the glue that binds the global financial landscape. It represents an exhaustive set of accounting standards that ensure consistency and comparability in financial reporting on an international scale. IFRS surpasses geographical boundaries by providing a common language for financial communication that is universally understood and recognized.

IFRS is the cornerstone in international business transactions involving multinational companies (MNCs). By adhering to IFRS guidelines, businesses guarantee that their financial statements are legible to stakeholders across various regions. 

Also Read – What is IFRS?

  • Indian Accounting Standards (INDAS)

Indian Accounting Standards (INDAS) are a set of principles and guidelines adopted by companies in India. They aim to ensure consistency, transparency, and comparability in financial reporting. INDAS aligns Indian financial practices with the international standards of IFRS while considering India’s unique regulatory, economic, and business environment.

By promoting a better understanding and analysis of Indian companies’ financial performance among stakeholders, such as investors, creditors, regulatory agencies, and the general public, these guidelines intend to increase the reliability of the financial information provided. INDAS strives to make financial reporting more accurate and reliable so that making decisions becomes easier.

  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States (US GAAP)

The term ‘Generally Accepted Accounting Principles’ (US GAAP) refers to a comprehensive collection of accounting standards, fundamentals, and guidelines that govern how businesses in the US gather and display their financial statements. US GAAP ensures financial reporting is consistent, comparable, and transparent across many businesses.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is responsible for establishing and maintaining US GAAP. It is tailored to meet the intricacies and regulatory environment of American businesses. Companies within the United States must comply with US GAAP to communicate their financial performance to investors, creditors, regulators and other stakeholders.

Also Read – All About US GAAP

Key Aspect




Key Feature IFRS is a set of international accounting standards developed and maintained by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). It aims to provide a common global framework for financial reporting. INDAS are accounting standards issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for companies in India. They align with IFRS principles while considering the specific needs of the Indian business environment. US GAAP is a comprehensive framework of accounting standards, principles, and procedures established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) for companies in the United States.
Principles It is principle-based, focusing on overarching concepts and objectives. Key principles include fair presentation and substance over form, and accrual basis of accounting. The principles are derived from IFRS but consider local regulations and business practices. It is rules-based, offering specific guidelines for various accounting transactions. 
Application Allows for professional judgment and interpretation, leading to diversity in application across different jurisdictions They aim to provide relevant and reliable financial information while addressing the unique Indian context. It provides detailed rules for recognition, measurement, and presentation, leaving less room for interpretation compared to IFRS
Differences Emphasizes the use of professional judgment and interpretation Incorporates local considerations, such as taxation and legal compliance. Provides detailed guidance for specific transactions, but lacks the flexibility of principles-based standards.
Challenges Organizations operating in multiple jurisdictions may face challenges due to the varying interpretations and enforcement of IFRS standards by different countries’ regulatory bodies. Indian companies may experience challenges interpreting and applying INDAS standards, as they must consider both global principles and Indian-specific regulations. Adoption can also require certain changes in accounting systems and processes. Organizations need to navigate through an extensive set of rules, which can be complex and require careful analysis to ensure proper compliance. This can be particularly challenging when dealing with complex transactions.
Convergence Ongoing efforts by the IASB and FASB aim to converge IFRS and US GAAP, minimizing differences between the two standards to improve consistency in global financial reporting. INDAS is India’s convergence effort with IFRS, aiming to align Indian accounting practices with global standards while considering the local environment. The FASB and IASB have collaborated on convergence projects to harmonize accounting standards. However, due to the fundamental differences in their approaches, full convergence remains challenging in some areas.
Global Adoption IFRS has been adopted by over 140 countries, making it a widely accepted global accounting framework. INDAS is mandatory for most companies in India, the intersection with IFRS principles makes it more internationally recognizable and facilitates cross-border investment and business operations. However, India is slowly moving towards IFRS and will soon adopt it.  US GAAP is applicable primarily in the United States. While some multinational companies operating in the US adhere to it, it’s not as globally adopted as IFRS due to its country-specific nature.

The Need For Global Accounting Standard

A Universal accounting standard like IFRS eliminates confusion and enhances comparability. With a global accounting standard, all countries can speak the same financial language. This creates a level playing field for companies, investors and regulators. 

However, because of political factors, the global acceptance of a single accounting standard looks unlikely. The US will never embrace IFRS. Geopolitical differences and differences in regulatory philosophies are some prime factors contributing to this resistance. 

How to Learn Accounting Standards?

Having a thorough understanding of accounting standards is one of the key accounting skills. To learn accounting standards, consider enrolling in the comprehensive accounting courses offered by IMS Proschool. Programs like the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) can set you up for a wonderful career in the world of accounts. 

These programs provide a structured and in-depth understanding of accounting standards. These programs also come with full-fledged placement assistance to help you kickstart your career. Through interactive learning, practical examples and real-world case studies, you will gain the right expertise required to navigate the complexities of financial reporting with ease. 


In the world of finance, accounting standards play a crucial role in bringing together diverse economies, industries, and cultures. 

Accounting standards go far beyond technical constructs. They serve as catalysts for trust, integrity and well-informed decision-making. These standards empower stakeholders to evaluate risks, enable regulators to ensure compliance and provide businesses with guidance on responsible financial management.


  • How do accounting standards improve transparency in financial reporting?

Accounting standards require the disclosure of relevant information in financial statements. This promotes transparency by ensuring that stakeholders have access to accurate and comprehensive financial data. Transparency builds trust and confidence among investors, creditors, and other stakeholders.

  • What is the difference between principle-based and rule-based accounting standards?

Principles-based accounting standards, such as IFRS and INDAS, focus on broad concepts and objectives, allowing professionals to exercise judgment while analyzing and applying them. On the other hand, rules-based standards such as US GAAP provide specific and detailed guidelines for various accounting transactions, leaving little to no room for interpretation.

  • What are some difficulties in adhering to various accounting standards?

MNCs may face difficulties reporting financial data across different standards. Varying interpretations, complexities in application and adoption, as well as additional reporting requirements are a few key challenges.