Here are links to what I consider my key accounting references. These sites keep me up to date on the accounting profession and guide my decision making regarding the United States tax environment.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, founded in 1887, is the world’s largest association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 377,000 members in 128 countries. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting; membership is also available to accounting students and CPA candidates. The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for audits of private companies, non-profit organizations and federal, state and local governments.
The FASB seeks to establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting that foster financial reporting by nongovernmental entities that provides decision-useful information to investors and other users of financial reports. That mission is accomplished through a comprehensive and independent process that encourages broad participation, objectively considers all stakeholder views, and is subject to oversight by the Financial Accounting Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
The IFRS Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit private sector organization working in the public interest. Its principal objectives are:
- to develop a single set of high quality, understandable, enforceable and globally accepted international financial reporting standards (IFRSs) through its standard-setting body, the IASB;
- to promote the use and rigorous application of those standards;
- to take account of the financial reporting needs of emerging economies and small and medium-sized entities (SMEs); and
- to bring about convergence of national accounting standards and IFRSs to high quality solutions.
The governance and oversight of the activities undertaken by the IFRS Foundation and its standard-setting body rests with its Trustees, who are also responsible for safeguarding the independence of the IASB and ensuring the financing of the organisation. The Trustees are publicly accountable to a Monitoring Board of public authorities.
The IASB (International Accounting Standards Board) is the independent standard-setting body of the IFRS Foundation. Its members (currently 15 full-time members) are responsible for the development and publication of IFRSs, including the IFRS for SMEs and for approving Interpretations of IFRSs as developed by the IFRS Interpretations Committee (formerly called the IFRIC).
The PCAOB is a nonprofit corporation established by the United States Congress to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors and the public interest by promoting informative, accurate, and independent audit reports. The PCAOB also oversees the audits of broker-dealers, including compliance reports filed pursuant to federal securities laws, to promote investor protection.
The Tax Foundation seeks to educate taxpayers about sound tax policy and the size of the tax burden borne by Americans at all levels of government. From its founding in 1937, the Tax Foundation has been grounded in the belief that the dissemination of basic information about government finance is the foundation of sound policy in a free society.
All Tax Foundation research is guided by the following principles of sound tax policy, which should serve as touchstones for good tax policy everywhere:
Simplicity: Administrative costs are a loss to society, and complicated taxation undermines voluntary compliance by creating incentives to shelter and disguise income.
Transparency: Tax legislation should be based on sound legislative procedures and careful analysis. A good tax system requires informed taxpayers who understand how tax assessment, collection, and compliance works. There should be open hearings and revenue estimates should be fully explained and replicable.
Neutrality: The fewer economic decisions that are made for tax reasons, the better. The primary purpose of taxes is to raise needed revenue, not to micromanage the economy. The tax system should not favor certain industries, activities, or products.
Stability: When tax laws are in constant flux, long-range financial planning is difficult. Lawmakers should avoid enacting temporary tax laws, including tax holidays and amnesties.
No Retroactivity: As a corollary to the principle of stability, taxpayers should rely with confidence on the law as it exists when contracts are signed and transactions made.
Broad Bases and Low Rates: As a corollary to the principle of neutrality, lawmakers should avoid enacting targeted deductions, credits and exclusions. If such tax preferences are few, substantial revenue can be raised with low tax rates. Broad-based taxes can also produce relatively stable tax revenues from year to year.
My preferred source of continuing education materials. The courses are complete, challenging, well written, and good value for money. The pricing is more expensive than some alternatives, but the value, historically, has been worth the additional prices.