The Financial Accounting Standards Board has officially launched its FASB Accounting Standards Codification, an online interactive research tool that will serve as the single source of authoritative nongovernmental U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

The codification is effective for interim and annual periods ending after Sept. 15, 2009. All existing accounting standards documents will be superseded by the codification, and all other accounting literature not included in the codification is considered nonauthoritative by FASB.

“Today’s launch of the codification represents a milestone in U.S. accounting standards,” said FASB Chairman Robert Herz in a statement. “After years of development, this much more efficient, user-friendly method of researching up-to-date solutions has become a reality.”

FASB actually made an early version of the codification available starting in January 2008 for free for an extended verification period (see FASB Codification: Major Changes in GAAP Research Are Coming). During that time users were urged to provide feedback on the new system to confirm that the codification accurately reflected existing U.S. GAAP for nongovernmental entities. In December 2008, the FASB publicly announced July 1, 2009, as the date on which the codification was expected to go live.

The codification reorganizes the thousands of U.S. GAAP pronouncements into roughly 90 accounting topics and displays all topics using a consistent structure. It also includes relevant Securities and Exchange Commission guidance that follows the same topical structure in separate sections in the codification.

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