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Chapter 4

Financial Accounting
Research Tools
Learning Objectives

Database research strategies

Challenges of accounting research

Content of the FASBs Codification

Research System
The research process using the Codification

SEC accounting for public companies

Cases to practice accounting research

Using a database

Define information needed

Determine sources to search

Use appropriate search methods

View results and manage the information

(full text or citation)
Communicate the research results

Comprehensive, but not complete, research on

accounting issues for the private sector
Ninety topical areas of prior level A-D GAAP
Master glossary
Limited SEC content for user ease (Regulation
S-X, Financial Reporting Releases, Accounting
Series Releases, Interpretive Releases, Staff
Accounting Bulletins, EITF Topic D, and SEC
Staff Observer Comments)
Codification (contd.)

Codification supersedes all pre-existing

non-governmental accounting and
reporting standards.
Four main topical areas:
Presentation (codes 205-299)
Financial statement accounts (codes 305- 705)
Codification (contd.)

Four main topical areas: (contd.)

Broad transactions (805 835)
Industries (905 999)
The topical areas are further refined into
subtopics, sections and subsections (see
figure 4-2)
The Codification Research
Methods of searching
Topical category search
Master glossary search

Search inquiries

When should the researcher stop

Consider primary vs. secondary sources
Consider authoritative vs. non-authoritative

SEC accounting is not the same as GAAP

SEC follows legal hierarchy to be discussed in
a later chapter
SEC has statutory authority to establish
accounting rules and regulations for public
companies (companies must file 10Ks, 8-Ks,
Regulation S-X Form and Content of
Financial Statements
Regulation S-K Integrated Disclosure Rules
SEC (contd.)
Financial Reporting Releases (FRRs)
accounting principles that update Reg S-X and
Reg S-K
Accounting and Enforcement Releases
Accounting Series Releases (ASRs)
predecessor to FFRs
SEC Staff Policy not formally approved but
published in interpretations. SABs similar to
FASB technical bulletins
See Figure 5-10 for SEC hierarchy
SEC (contd.)

Accessing SEC filings and regulations

Website (sec.gov)
Company websites

SECs next generation EDGAR system

Commercial databases