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Accounting Standards

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has statutory authority to set accounting standards in the United States. However, the SEC has largely deferred to private sector entities or board to establish generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in the United States.  Historically, three primary private sector entities have established accounting standards in the United States: 

Committee on Accounting Procedure (CAP) – was an entity of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).  CAP issued accounting standards from 1939 to 1959.  CAP issued Accounting Research Bulletins. 

Accounting Principles Board (APB) – was also an entity of the AICPA.  The APB issued accounting standards from 1959 to 1973.  The APB issued Opinions and Interpretations.    

Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) – established in 1973, is the current day private sector accounting standard setter. The FASB issues Statements of Financial Accounting Standards, Interpretations, Technical Bulletins, Staff Positions and Implementation Guides.  The FASB also established the Emerging Issues Task Force (EITF) to deal with more specific accounting issues or particular application.  The EITF drafts issue consensus which are ultimately reviewed by the FASB.

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