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When Accounting Standards Diverge

Robert Herz | April 29, 2014

One of the bigger questions in accounting is if there should be different standards for different sets of companies.

Last fall, I participated in a roundtable on the topic at New York University called, “Big GAAP vs. Little GAAP: Public Company and Private Company Reporting.” The roundtable focused on the pros and cons of having different accounting standards for private companies from those for public companies and included a discussion of recent private company reporting initiatives by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

 Before the roundtable discussion began, I was chatting with one of the accounting professors who remarked, “Remember the good old days when GAAP was GAAP?” He said that nowadays he needs to teach both U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and...

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