Accounting Principles Board

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The Accounting Principles Board (APB) is the former authoritative body of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It was created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in 1959 and issued pronouncements on accounting principles until 1973, when it was replaced by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).[1]

The APB was disbanded in the hopes that the smaller, fully independent FASB could more effectively create accounting standards. The APB and the related Securities Exchange Commission were unable to operate completely independently of the U.S. government.[2] According to the SEC, "the overall record of the APB was a reasonably good one, but it seems likely that a smaller full-time body directly in control of its research holds promise of more success".[3] Among others, Abraham Briloff was critical of some actions of the Accounting Principles Board. In response to APB 17, Briloff referred to the APB as the "Accounting Pragmatics Board".[4]

Of the 31 APB opinions and 4 statements, several were instrumental in improving the theory and practice of significant areas of accounting. Many have been superseded by FASB pronouncements; 19 opinions still stand as part of generally accepted accounting principles:[5]

Opinion Number Subject Description Date Issued
2 Accounting for the Investment Credit Discusses the Revenue Act of 1962 and provides accounting standards for the "investment credit." December 1962
4 Accounting for the Investment Credit Clarifies whether the “investment credit” should be considered as part of net income. March 1964
6 Status of Accounting Research Bulletins Reviewed the ARB and incorporated needed revisions. October 1965
9 Reporting the Results of Operations Discusses the reporting requirements of 1) net income and extraordinary items and 2) computation of earnings per November 1966
10 Omnibus Opinion—1966 Provides authoritative guidance on consolidated financial statements, tax allocation accounts, taxes payable, and activities related to stocks. December 1966
12 Omnibus Opinion—1967 Provides authoritative guidance on allowances, depreciation, deferred compensation, capital changes and debt. December 1967
14 Accounting for Convertible Debt and Debt Issued with Stock Purchase Provides authoritative guidance related to accounting and reporting for convertible debt. March 1969
16 Business Combinations Provides guidance regarding the appropriate accounting and reporting of business combinations. August 1970
17 Intangible Assets Provides accounting guidance for reporting goodwill and other intangible assets. August 1970
18 The Equity Method of Accounting for Investments in Common Stock Provides guidance for determining when the equity method should be applied to common stock. March 1971
20 Accounting Changes Defines various types of accounting changes and establishes guidelines for determining the appropriate reporting of each type. July 1971
21 Interest on Receivables and Payables Clarifies when interest should be applied to receivables and payables. August 1971
22 Disclosure of Accounting Policies Provides guidance related to the disclosure of accounting principles in the financial statements. April 1972
23 Accounting for Income Taxes—Special Areas Establishes accounting and reporting guidelines for subsidiaries, intangible development costs, and various April 1972
25 Accounting for Stock Issued to Employees Establishes accounting and reporting guidelines for stock provided as compensation to employees. October 1972
26 Early Extinguishment of Debt Provides guidelines for accounting for the differences between debt issues. October 1972
28 Interim Financial Reporting Clarifies accounting principles related to interim financial reporting. May 1973
29 Accounting for Nonmonetary Transactions Verifies that nonmonetary transactions should be valued based on their fair values, except in a limited number of cases in which nonmonetary exchanges are not considered to be the culmination of an earnings process.
30 Reporting the Results of Operations Discusses the proper disclosure of discontinued operations, as well as the reporting of gains or losses from business disposals. It also defines those transactions that should be categorized as extraordinary items.


  1. ^ Vangermeersch, Richard. "Accounting Principles Board (1959-1973)." History of Accounting: An International Encyclopedia, edited by Michael Chatfield and Richard Vangermeersch. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996. Pp. 11-15.full-text
  2. ^ Horngren, Charles T. "The marketing of accounting standards". The Journal of Accountancy (October 1973): 61–66.
  3. ^ John C. Burton. "Some general and specific thoughts on the accounting environment". The Journal of Accountancy (October 1973): 40–46.
  4. ^ Briloff, Abraham J. 1972. Unaccountable Accounting. New York: Harper & Row.
  5. ^ Bragg, Steven M. (2003). The Ultimate Accountants' Reference: Including GAAP, IRS & SEC Regulations, Leases, and More. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-77155-4.