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 All existing accounting standards documents will be superseded by the codification, and all other accounting literature not included in the codification is considered nonauthoritative by FASB.

The codification re-organizes 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.

PICK YOUR VIEW

The codification will be available in both basic and professional views. The basic view will be available at no charge. It will include topically organized access to all of the standards, a utility to identify the location of the original standards, and basic print functionality.

The professional view, available for $850 per year for a single concurrent subscription, will provide the basic features, along with a sophisticated text search engine, a "go to" feature for quickly accessing content, and a cross-reference feature for identifying the location of the original standards, with links.

In addition, the professional view will include a printer-friendly utility for viewing source references at the paragraph level. Archive features will allow users to access any previous version of the content. "Joining" features will be available for viewing or printing any user-selected excerpts. A glossary display feature will offer definitions of accounting terms. A "What's new" feature will point the way to recently issued content. Another feature, known as "What links here," will identify content related to a specific paragraph. An e-mail feature will be available for sending comments to colleagues, and a personal annotation feature will let users keep notes about relevant standards. In addition, a "current location" feature will help users quickly assess where they are in the codification.

FASB also plans to sell a four-volume bound edition of the codification by the end of August.

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