DEFINITION of 'Accounting Error'

An error in an accounting item that was not caused intentionally. An accounting error can include discrepancies in dollar figures, or might be an error in using accounting policy incorrectly (i.e., a compliance error).

Accounting error should not be confused with fraud, which is an intentional error in an accounting item, usually to hide or alter data for personal gain.

BREAKING DOWN 'Accounting Error'

By doing what ever it can to follow accounting standards such as the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and maintaining internal controls, a company can easily minimize accounting errors. Corrections of the errors are shown later, in a restatement of comparative financial statements.

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