Back to the Basics: Financial Statement Disclosures & Reporting Requirements

  •  Melissa Aldredge    
  •  Sarah DuBois    


To protect stakeholders relying on published financial statements, accounting practices, measurement techniques, disclosures and footnote requirements have been developed over the years by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). As indicated by Saidu and Dauda (2014), the move towards adopting high quality standards was spurred by the numerous financial scandals experienced worldwide in the late 1990s. The United States government has and continues to regulate the standard-setting process and financial reporting environment of publicly traded companies to ensure investors have all relevant information to evaluate a company’s financial position and make informed decisions. This paper provides a description of the disclosure techniques available in published financial statements, and analyzes the types of financial reporting requirements promulgated by the AICPA Code of Professional Ethics and the federal securities laws of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

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