Accounting standards are an essential element in the regulation of current financial reporting. Standard setters promulgate such standards, and companies and professional accountants follow them in preparing financial reports. Although much has been written about the history of standard setting, the conceptual underpinnings of accounting standards, the process of setting them, and whether such standards should be ‘rules-based’ or ‘principles-based,’ there has been little written about the kind of thing they are.
This book examines the nature of accounting standards and the very idea of a rule, of implementation guidance, and of the objectives that are included in them. It enables the reader to grasp the reasons for promulgating standards, the role of the conceptual framework in setting standards in an institutional context, and the kind of rules that are useful in regulating financial reporting. The insights provided by this examination are used to throw light on the distinction between ‘principles-based’ and ‘rules-based’ standards and on the nature of ‘good’ accounting standards.’