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Online Access to GAAP Accounting Standards Now Free to All

March 23, 2023


The Financial Accounting Foundation recently announced that it is eliminating its fee-based subscription service and making access to its accounting rules free and accessible to the public. This is good news for organizations and individuals who found the costs of accessing the full functionality of these services prohibitively expensive. Online access can be found here.

What Is the Financial Accounting Foundation?

The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) is an independent, private-sector organization dedicated to ensuring objectivity and integrity in financial reporting standards. As part of its mission, it oversees two standard-setting boards, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).


FASB and GASB play a critical role in establishing and enhancing the financial accounting and reporting standards known as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), a set of accounting rules, requirements, and practices used throughout the United States. Public companies are required to use GAAP by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and they are used by a diverse range of non-public organizations as well.

FASB, established in 1973, publishes the Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) and is responsible for establishing GAAP standards for public and private companies, as well as not-for-profit organizations.

GASB, established in 1984, publishes the Governmental Accounting Research System (GARS), the official version of GAAP used by states, cities, and other local governmental entities in the United States.

By working collaboratively to establish and improve GAAP, FASB, and GASB ensure that financial reporting remains accurate, transparent, and consistent across a broad range of sectors.

Enhanced Free Access to Online Accounting Standards

Basic versions of both ASC and GARS have long been available to the public at no charge, but functionality was limited. Full access was available only through a “Professional View” paid subscription service that cost a minimum of $1,197 a year for ASC and $547 for GARS.

Now any user can access the full functionality of both. Current subscribers will be issued pro-rated refunds.

Features previously accessible only to subscribers include:

  • No login required
  • Ability to browse by topic, search, and go-to navigation
  • All-in-one page feature
  • Glossary term finder
  • Multiple printing options
  • Improved search functionality
  • Ability to copy/paste text

Who Benefits?

Previously, the subscription fee made access to the ASC and GARS prohibitive for many smaller companies, not-for-profits, students, and others. Now anyone researching accounting principles will be able to go straight to an authoritative source at no cost.

This access will be of particular use to anyone preparing or using GAAP financial statements and will make it easier for organizations of all sizes to follow GAAP.

Want To Learn More?

For a deeper dive into navigating the ASC, sign up for our upcoming Technically Speaking webinar on May 24, 2023. Hosted by KSM’s Technical Accounting Advisory Services Group, this webinar will walk viewers through this databases and explain how to use it.

For further clarification of GAAP principles, please reach out to your KSM advisor or complete this form.

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