Dr. Jennifer Winchel greatly contributed to the content in this guide, especially the section on the FASB Codification. Thank you!
Overview of FASB Codification
On July 1, 2009, the FASB launched the FASB Accounting Standards Codification as the single source of authoritative nongovernmental U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The Codification reorganizes thousands of U.S. GAAP pronouncements into roughly 90 accounting topics and displays all topics using a consistent structure. It also includes relevant SEC guidance within separate sections in the Codification.
The School of Accounting at the University of South Carolina has purchased a subscription for its students. To access the FASB codification, go to: http://aaahq.org/ascLogin.cfm
Username and password credentials will be provided to you by your professor and/or will be placed in Blackboard.
NOTE: If you get ‘timed out’ of the Codification website, it will ask you to re-enter your username and password. However, to do so, you will need to go back to the academic login page above to re-enter your username and password information.
Performing Searches in the FASB Codification
Using the Go-To Feature
This type of search is conducted if you already know the topic of interest AND the location within the codification. Simply type the topic (and –subtopic-section-paragraph) that you are interested in locating. This type of search is usually for advanced users or if you are looking up a reference.
A reference from the Codification is cited as “FASB ASC XXX-XX”, where the Xs represent the topic, subtopic, etc. Provide as specific of a reference as is appropriate. (You want to guide the reader as best as you can to the guidance that helped you make your accounting decision.)
For example, the following is a screen shot of a search for “convertible debt” within the Codification:
The first result that appears would be referenced as FASB ASC 470-20-10.
Searching the Topical Index
The Codification organizes current GAAP by topic. The column on the right represents the areas under which GAAP is organized (it should look suspiciously like the elements of the financial statements). By clicking on any of those areas, you should see the individual topics (and the topic numbers associated with them) organized under those areas. Clicking on those topics will reveal associated subtopics, subsections/ paragraphs.
Once a subtopic is selected, a user can select to “join sections” if he/she wishes to view all subtopics, sections, and subsections/paragraphs related to that particular topic.
User-Defined Advanced Search
Step 1: Go to Advanced Search at the top right corner.
Step 2: Type the words you wish to search into the dialog box. Choose the appropriate query operators for your search (i.e., and, or, etc.) which are described later in this booklet. (Note: You may also use this search function to go directly to a specific section of the codification, like the Go To function, or you may go to a specific topical area, like the topical index search above).
Step 3: Choose SUBMIT to apply the search.
Step 4: After a query is made, all of the “hits” are brought to the screen. The number of results is listed, and a brief “snippet” of each result is listed below. (NOTE: Each result or “record” is essentially a paragraph within the Codification.)
NARROWING YOUR RESULTS
On the right hand side of the screen, you can choose ways to tighten the focus of your search. You can focus your search by related term (e.g., other topics/subtopics that are highly related to what you have searched) or by area (e.g., financial statement element).
WHAT DO THE QUERY OPERATORS MEAN?
1. ALL – finds records which contain all the words included in the search box. Example: convertible debt with the ALL button selected finds only those records that contain both the terms convertible and debt.
2. ANY WORD – finds records which contain one or both words included in the search box. Example: convertible debt with ANY WORD selected finds records that contain either the word convertible or the word debt.
3. EXACT PHRASE – finds records which contain the exact sequence of words entered into the search box. Example: convertible debt with EXACT PHRASE selected finds records that only contain the phrase “convertible debt.” (This is different than #1, which would find records that contain convertible and debt, even if they are in separate spots.)
4. WITHIN “n” – finds records which contain words within “n” number of words from each other. Example: convertible debt within 5 finds results/records where convertible and debt are within 5 words of each other.