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Wiley GAAP 2008 by Colorado Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Ralph Nach American Express Tax and Business Inc., Barry J. Epstein

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Researching GAAP Problems

The research procedures presented here are intended to serve as a general model for approaching research on accounting issues or questions you may have. These procedures are only intended as an illustration of the process, not as a “cookbook” approach. These procedures should be refined and adapted to each individual fact situation.

Research Procedures

Step 1: Identify the Problem

Gain an understanding of the problem or question.

Problems and research questions can arise from new authoritative pronouncements, changes in a firm's economic operating environment, or new transactions.

It is important to remember that research can be performed before or after the critical event has occurred.

If little is known about the subject area, it may be useful to consult general reference sources (e.g., Journal of Accountancy, CPA Journal, Business Week) to become more familiar with the topic and build up some “economic horse sense” in the area (i.e., the basic what, why, how, when, who, where).

If you are a preparer/auditor, ensure that you have sufficiently determined whether the issue you are researching is a GAAP issue or an auditing issue so that your search is directed to the appropriate literature.

Step 2: Analyze the Problem

Identify critical factors, issues, and questions that relate to the research problem.

What are the options? Brainstorm possible alternative accounting treatments.

What are the goals of the transaction? Are these goals compatible with full and transparent ...

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