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Standard accounting practices require publicly traded companies to follow certain accounting rules when presenting financial statements so that the readers of the statements can easily compare different companies. Private companies are also often required by banks and shareholders, for example, to present information according to their specified rules.
Usually, countries practicing civil law system write standards into law and countries with English common law systems have private organizations to set the rules. There are specialist organisations that can arrange for the set up of an accounting practice with a franchise business model which can prove successful from the out-set.
Some commonly used accounting standards include:
The lack of transparent accounting standards in some nations has been cited as increasing the difficulty of doing business in them. In particular, the Asian financial meltdown in the late 1990s has been partially attributed due to the lack of detailed accounting standards. Giant firms in some Asian countries were able to take advantage of their poorly devised accounting standards to cover up immense debts and losses, which yielded a collective effect that eventually led the whole region into financial crisis.