IFRS and US GAAP: similarities and differences

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Accounting guide , PwC US

Our guide provides an understanding of the differences between IFRS and US GAAP, as well as insight into future changes.

This guide was fully updated in September 2018.

To be successful in the US capital markets, it is increasingly important to be financially bilingual – you have to speak both IFRS and US GAAP.

Why, you ask, given that there are no current US plans to require or permit domestic public companies to use IFRS? Because we operate in a global marketplace and the impact of IFRS on US capital markets is not just about its domestic use in capital filings. IFRS requirements elsewhere in the world affect many US companies – public or private, large or small — through cross-border, M&A activity, and due to the IFRS reporting demands of stakeholders outside the US. and the continued global adoption of IFRS means that the impact on multinational US businesses will only grow stronger, as additional countries permit or require IFRS for statutory reporting purposes and public filings.

From an investor perspective, the need to understand IFRS is arguably even greater. US investors keep looking overseas for investment opportunities. Recent estimates suggest that over $7 trillion of US capital is invested in non-US securities. The US markets also remain open to non-US companies that prepare their financial statements using IFRS. There are currently approximately 500 non-US filers with market capitalization in the multiple of trillions of US dollars that use IFRS without reconciliation to US GAAP.

To assist investors and preparers in becoming financially bilingual, this guide provides a broad understanding of the major differences between IFRS and US GAAP, as well as insight into the level of change on the horizon.

For more information, listen to our podcast on US GAAP and IFRS differences in revenue recognition, leasing, and financial instruments.

How to use this publication

This publication is designed to alert companies, investors, and other capital market participants to the major differences between IFRS and US GAAP as they exist today, and to the timing and scope of accounting changes that the standard setting agendas of the IASB and FASB (collectively, the Boards) will bring.

This publication considers authoritative pronouncements and other developments under IFRS and US GAAP through June 30, 2018.

Our point of view

We continue to believe in the long-term vision of a single set of consistently applied, high-quality, globally-accepted accounting standards. However, acceptance of an outright move to international standards is off the table, at least for now. In the meantime, the FASB and IASB should continue to focus on improving the quality of their standards while, if possible, reducing differences between IFRS and US GAAP.

Podcast: IFRS and US GAAP Similarities and Differences

Interested in US GAAP and IFRS differences in rev rec, leasing, and financial instruments? Listen to our podcast.

Downloading the guide onto an iPad

Downloading the guide onto an iPad
Downloading the guide onto an iPad
Downloading the guide onto an iPad
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    IFRS and US GAAP: similarities and differences
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  3. From within the action menu, select the “Copy to iBooks” option.
  4. The guide will then be saved to your iBooks app for future access.
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