Hierarchy Of GAAP

What is the 'Hierarchy Of GAAP'

The hierarchy of GAAP is an outline for determining the most appropriate sources for obtaining guidance on U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The applicable hierarchy of GAAP that applies to nongovernmental entities is laid out by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statement 162, issued in May 2008.


At the top of the GAAP hierarchy are FASB statements and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) opinions. At the bottom are FASB staff questions and answers and AICPA interpretations. Accountants are directed that they should first consult sources at the top of the hierarchy and then proceed downward only if there is no relevant pronouncement at a higher level.