Understanding the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB): Shaping Financial Reporting


The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) plays a pivotal role in the world of finance by setting accounting and financial reporting standards for entities in the United States. This article delves into the functions, significance, and collaborations of the FASB, shedding light on its mission to enhance financial reporting for the benefit of investors and stakeholders.


Delving into the intricacies of financial reporting, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) emerges as a vital player in the financial landscape of the United States. This independent nonprofit organization holds the reins of establishing accounting and financial reporting standards for both corporate and nonprofit entities, anchoring its mission on the bedrock of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This comprehensive article aims to provide an exhaustive understanding of the FASB, its operational mechanisms, and its global implications.

What is the financial accounting standards board (FASB)?

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is an independent nonprofit organization, founded in 1973, tasked with the critical role of formulating and interpreting accounting and financial reporting standards in the United States. These standards are meticulously aligned with the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The FASB succeeded the Accounting Principles Board and is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut.

The FASB plays a pivotal role in ensuring the financial transparency and integrity of businesses and nonprofit organizations by providing a standardized framework for financial reporting. Its standards serve as the cornerstone for creating financial statements and disclosing financial information that helps stakeholders, including investors and creditors, make informed decisions.

How does the financial accounting standards board (FASB) work?

The FASB wields the authority to establish and interpret GAAP for both public and private companies, as well as nonprofit organizations in the United States. GAAP serves as the foundational set of accounting standards that entities must adhere to when preparing and presenting their financial statements. It encompasses various principles, procedures, and conventions that guide financial reporting.

The recognition of the FASB’s authority extends far and wide. It is the designated accounting standard setter for public companies as acknowledged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Additionally, state accounting boards, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and various other professional organizations within the financial realm endorse the FASB’s standards and directives.

Within the FASB’s ecosystem, several entities collaborate to uphold financial reporting standards. These include:

  • The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF): Oversees both the FASB and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
  • The Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council (FASAC): Provides guidance and counsel in financial accounting standards.
  • The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB): Focuses on setting accounting and financial reporting standards for state and local governments in the United States.
  • The Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC): Offers insights and recommendations on governmental accounting standards.

Collectively, these organizations share a mission to elevate the quality of financial accounting and reporting standards. Their concerted efforts are geared toward making financial information more user-friendly and informative for investors and various stakeholders.

The FASB operates under the governance of seven full-time board members, each of whom must sever any ties with the companies or organizations they previously worked for before joining the board. These board members are appointed by the FAF’s board of trustees, serving terms of five years with the possibility of extending their tenure up to 10 years.

In 2009, the FAF introduced the FASB Accounting Standards Codification, an invaluable online research tool. This resource serves as a centralized repository for authoritative, nongovernmental GAAP in the United States. It streamlines the thousands of U.S. GAAP pronouncements into approximately 90 accounting topics, all presented in a consistent and user-friendly structure. Notably, the website also incorporates relevant Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidance on these topics. The FASB provides a “basic view” version free of charge, while a more comprehensive “professional view” is available through a paid subscription.

Pros and cons of the FASB


Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.

  • Establishes accounting standards for U.S. entities, fostering uniformity and comparability in financial reporting.
  • Enhances transparency in financial reporting, providing stakeholders with reliable information.
  • Recognized by regulatory authorities and professional bodies, instilling trust in financial markets.
  • May lead to complexities in compliance, especially for smaller businesses.
  • Requires board members to sever ties with affiliated organizations, potentially limiting diversity of perspectives.
  • Notable differences exist between U.S. GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), potentially complicating global business operations.

FASB vs. IASB: a global perspective

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), headquartered in London, is a counterpart to the FASB. Established in 2001 to replace an older standards organization, the IASB is responsible for crafting the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). These standards have gained widespread adoption in numerous countries across the globe.

In recent years, the FASB and the IASB have embarked on a collaborative initiative aimed at improving financial reporting and enhancing the comparability of financial reports on a global scale. This collaborative effort acknowledges the interconnectedness of the world’s financial markets and the importance of aligning accounting standards to facilitate international trade and investment.

As the world continues to witness the globalization of businesses and financial markets, the collaboration between the FASB and the IASB remains instrumental in promoting transparency and consistency in financial reporting practices.


The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) stands as a beacon of financial clarity in the United States, guiding entities in their pursuit of accurate and transparent financial reporting. With its unwavering commitment to establishing and maintaining GAAP, the FASB ensures that financial information remains a reliable tool for decision-makers and stakeholders. As it collaborates on the global stage, the FASB plays a key role in harmonizing financial reporting standards, bridging gaps, and fostering international financial stability.

Understanding the FASB and its multifaceted contributions to the world of finance is not just a matter of compliance; it’s a testament to the commitment to financial integrity and accountability.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the primary role of the financial accounting standards board (FASB)?

The primary role of the FASB is to establish and interpret generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for public and private companies and nonprofit organizations in the United States.

How does the FASB collaborate with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)?

In recent years, the FASB has been collaborating with the IASB to develop compatible accounting standards globally, with the aim of enhancing financial reporting consistency and comparability.

What is the significance of the FASB accounting standards codification?

The FASB Accounting Standards Codification is a comprehensive online resource that reorganizes U.S. GAAP pronouncements into a user-friendly format, aiding professionals in understanding and implementing accounting standards effectively.

Key takeaways

  • The FASB is an independent nonprofit organization responsible for setting accounting and financial reporting standards in the United States.
  • It collaborates with the IASB to establish global accounting standards.
  • The FASB Accounting Standards Codification streamlines U.S. GAAP for easier reference.
  • The FASB aims to provide useful financial information for investors and stakeholders while promoting transparency.
View Article Sources
  1. Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  2. FASB Accounting Standards Codification and Additional Resources – Baruch College Newman Library
  3. FASB Issues Standard that Improves Accounting for Joint Venture Formations – Financial Accounting Standards Board
  4. GAAP: A Guide to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles – SuperMoney
  5. Purchase Price Allocation: Overview, Example & Formula – SuperMoney