Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

Been thinking the volume of accounting rules is growing a lot? It isn’t your imagination. Here’s a page count of GAAP.

with 7 comments

Is this how you’ve been feeling with all the changes in GAAP stacking up on your desk? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Just in case you had been wondering in your idle time how many pages long the Accounting Standards Codification would be in print form, I have the answer.

10,068 pages.

How thick is that if you stacked the five volumes on top of one another?

12.75 inches.

I’m working on a writing project for which it will be convenient to have a hard copy of the ASC, so I ordered a copy. Yipee! It arrived yesterday!

In case it seems like the volume of rules is growing faster than you can keep track, here is a seven-year comparison, looking at the physical size and volume count of the 2017 and 2010 editions:

2017 2010
thickness, inches 10.75   7.00
volumes 5 4


Maybe you are feeling a bit like this truck driver? Image courtesy of Adobe stock.

I jotted down the last page number in each of the sections and have them listed below. Also brought into the discussion the page count from the 2010 edition. Since I put the info into a spreadsheet (of course!), took just a moment to calculate the seven-year change:

2017/18 2010 change
intro           47          46            1
general principles           12        501      (489)
presentation         681        –         681
assets      1,155        703         452
liabilities         531        447          84
equity           97          80          17
revenue         767          68        499
expenses         107        900      (793)
broad transactions      2,858     1,805     1,053
industry      3,459     2,583        876
glossary         270        256          14
index           84        103        (19)
total pages    10,068     7,692     2,376


The tally does not include title pages, other front matter, blank pages between sections, or extra pages at end of each volume.

You aren’t just imagining that the volume of GAAP is exploding. One big reason for the increased page count (apart from the gazillion page Rev Rec ASU) is the ASC currently contains the pre-implementation and post-implementation rules for all the changes on the horizon.

So, yeah, I added up the page count in the hard copy of GAAP then blogged about it. Yeah, I’m weird. Pray for me as you feel led.

So when you think of all the changes you need to explain to all your clients, is this what your brain looks like? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

My previous page count of the ASC, IFRS-SME, SAS, and SSARS bodies of literature can be found here.

Written by Jim Ulvog

September 13, 2018, 6:32 am at 6:32 am

Posted in Accounting

7 Responses

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  1. Wow, looks like we really need something like a separate set of accounting principles for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – oh wait, nevermind.

    Jim Bennett

    December 19, 2018, 7:29 am at 7:29 am

    • Hi Jim:
      Oh, maybe like something that is a hundred or two pages long, that will be updated every three years, that doesn’t have a few hundred pages describing the astounding hair-spitting details of derivatives, and massive re-writes of long-standing rules all over the place? What a fantastic idea!!

      Jim Ulvog

      December 19, 2018, 20:43 pm at 8:43 pm

      • Yes, the AICPA should get on that!

        But it does bring up a good point – maybe we should be more proactive in suggesting going to modified cash from some of our nonprofits. Good way to avoid the new lease and revenue standards.


        December 20, 2018, 6:38 am at 6:38 am

      • Hi Jim:
        Interesting idea. Charity small enough to not have a loan covenant for GAAP financials would not likely have a lot of restricted net assets. On the other hand, smaller charities aren’t likely to have much more than a simple lease or two and minimal revenue. FRF-SME isn’t available for not-for-profit entities.

        A mess, huh?

        Jim Ulvog

        December 20, 2018, 7:36 am at 7:36 am

  2. Yes, what a mess. The FRF-SME isn’t a bad idea really, but in practice, it’s hard to learn another whole set of rules for a small number of clients.


    December 20, 2018, 11:10 am at 11:10 am

    • Hi Jim:
      Correct, although it is a small body of knowledge.

      I serve the non-profit world, so FRF-SME is defined to be not-applicable to the entire sector. Thus I haven’t seen any actual use of FRF-SME. Have you seen it in use? If so, what sectors or types of companies are using it?


      Jim Ulvog

      December 23, 2018, 5:50 am at 5:50 am

  3. […] guidance from FASB is getting more and more complex. In 2018, the entire codification was over 10,000 pages, in five volumes that were more than a foot high. This complexity translates to full employment for […]

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