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The FASB Accounting Standards Codification® Research System website includes an easy-to-use and powerful search engine to facilitate your accounting research. In addition to the keyword search common in most popular search engines, the Codification has advanced search features that let you narrow your search results by related terms and within specific Areas, Topics, and Subtopics.

To search for a term within the Codification, enter it into the "Search" text box and click "Go" (or press "Enter"). The results display on the search results page at the Subsection level. You can also search for multiple terms and phrases and perform proximity and/or wildcard searches by using "Advanced Search". In the examples that follow, the search term or terms are in presented in bold text. 

  • Single term—To search for "debt" enter debt. Search is not case sensitive so a search for Debt will return the same results.
    • Glossary terms—If any part of a glossary term name includes the terms of your search, it is returned as a Glossary search result and presented separately.
    • Stemming—A search for either debenture or debentures will yield the same results. The search engine considers stemming—i.e., singular and plural.
  • Multiple terms—To search for the occurrence of more than one term, simply enter each term in the search box. For example, entering debt restructuring is equivalent to search for debt AND restructuring, and returns, among other results, "Troubled Debt Restructurings".
  • Phrases—To search for an exact phrase, enclose your search within quotes " ". For example, entering "major maintenance" returns results about "Planned Major Maintenance Activities".
  • Wildcard (*)—The asterisk wildcard can be used to replace any number of characters at the end of a search term. It is very useful for finding all forms of a word. For example, a search for deposit* will return results that contain the words deposit, deposited, depositor, depositor’s, depositors, depository, or deposits. Note that the asterisk must be placed at the end of the query to enable wildcard search.
  • Smart terms—The Codification search engine maintains a designated list of defined phrases called smart terms. The smart terms include key phrases and aliases. For example, using the search expression "change in estimate" (without quotes) will provide search results that contain "change in accounting estimate". Another example is that the search results for "research and development" will include "R&D" and "research & development". The smart search results may differ from simple full-text searches that contain Boolean operators such as AND and OR.

"Advanced Search", and "Refine Search" (that appears at the end of the search results page), provides you with additional ways to narrow a search.  Once you have completed the desired boxes, select the "Submit" button. 

  • Text/Keyword—This field is used for keyword searches. This field includes the following options:
    • all—the results must contain all words; this is an AND search.
    • any word—the results must contain at least one of the words; this is an OR search.
    • exact phrase—the results must match the word sequence; this is a quote search. For example, a search for "debt covenant" only returns results that include the phrase "debt covenant" and would not include results that included only "debt" or only "covenant".
    • within [ ] words—the results must include all words that are within 'n' words of each other, where 'n' = a number; this is a proximity search.
  • Codification Reference—Enter any combination of specific Topic, Subtopic, and/or Section numbers to limit your search.

  • Document Title/Heading—Use to search for keywords that only occur within Titles and/or headings. This is helpful when content with similar paragraph headings span multiple sections in a Subtopic.  It works in a manner comparable to "Combine Subsections".

  • Area—Use to search within a specific Codification Area only.

  • Source Type—Select "Codification" to search within Codification content, or "Other Sources" to exclude Codification content but include other site content (Accounting Standards Updates, Proposed Accounting Standards Updates, Other Exposure Documents, Pre-Codification Standards, and Maintenance Updates).

Narrowing your search from the search results page

When you perform a search, the Codification search engine provides you with:

  • The search results including content from the body of the Codification and glossary terms.
  • A list of the highest occurring related terms that appear within the search results.
  • The number of "hits" that occur within each Area, then Topic, and then Subtopic.

An explanation of each follows:

  • By Related Term—The related term relationship is a calculation based on occurrence—how many times does the related term occur with the search term or terms; and proximity—how near (phrase, sentence, paragraph) is the related term to the search term or terms. Clicking a related term performs and AND search.  After selecting a related term, there is no reason to select "Go".
  • By Area > Topic > Subtopic:
    • When you get your initial search results, you are able to narrow your search by Area.
    • When you select one or more Areas and click "Go", the subsequent set of search results allows you to search by Topic.
    • When you select one or more Topics and click "Go", the subsequent set of search results allows you to narrow by Subtopic. The Subtopic is the lowest level you can narrow by since results are always presented at the Section level.
Searching and the Pending Content System

The Codification Search functionality also works in conjunction with the Pending Content System (PCS) to display only those results from Codification content that meet the criteria of your current profile. When you enable the PCS and set up your profile, the scope of your search is automatically narrowed. In other words, only content related to your PCS profile is included in your search. All inapplicable content is excluded from your search and from your search results.