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10 Steps in accounting research

Accounting Research in 10 steps –

  • Establish the facts or identify the issues.
    • To begin the research process one needs to the “why” and “what” of the problem
    • Define the problem clearly and concisely
  • Generate a list of keywords and concepts.
    • Look at the clearly defined research problem, identify the keywords
    • Examine the index of accounting handbooks and/or textbooks for established accounting terminology.
  • Check out the AICPA website.
    • Under the Research tab members have access to white papers, standards and surveys.
  • Locate an overview of the research problem.
    • The best place to start are handbooks or with accounting standards.
  • Identify authoritative pronouncements.
    • Accounting research relies on authoritative precedents disseminated by recognized standard setting bodies such as FASB or IASB.
  • Locate articles regarding the research problem.
    • Online databases such as ABI/Inform, Factiva, and Lexis-Nexis aggregate information from journals, magazines, trade journals, and newspapers.
  • Google it.
    • But, be aware of freely available information, make sure information located in a Google search can be verified by information found in Accounting Standards or articles from the databases such as ABI/Inform
  • Search investment research reports.
    • Investment research reports can be found in database such as ABI/Inform, Factiva, Mergents, Morning Star Investment Research Center and Valueline.
    • Pay attention to the Financial Footnotes where significant accounting policies will be disclosed.
  • Examine financial statements.
    • Annual as well quarterly financial filings are available from the Security & Exchange commission, ( for free.
    • Financial data can be found in databases such as Factiva and Mergents. 
    • Pay attention to the Financial Footnotes where significant accounting policies will be disclosed.
  • Putting it all together.
    • Identify the purpose
    • Identify the audience
    • Identify the context
    • Identify all of the facts and ideas
    • Organize facts and ideas
    • Identify the best medium for the message


Reading Financial Statements

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