Indian accounting vs foreign accounting

Indian accounting vs foreign accounting

Table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • What is Indian accounting?
  • What is foreign accounting?
  • What are the main differences between Indian accounting and foreign accounting?
  • Which software solutions do businesses use in both styles of accounting?
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs


The whole business community of the world is booming because of one of the least talked about departments of the world and that is the Accounts department. Moreover, this department is the heart and soul of a company and manages all the expenses and other financial liabilities in check. We just don’t understand the value of this department because we are unaware of all the work that they do.

Historically there used to be a different room or a hall for the accounts department. But as times have changed and we are using tech for everything, the way of accounting has also transformed. Today, a single person can handle all the duties of a whole department. This is especially true in the case of companies that have shifted their offline accounting needs to online mediums.

Every business in the world is switching to online accounting from offline accounting practices nowadays. Countries are also adopting different accounting methods. That’s why, our topic of today is Indian accounting vs foreign accounting so that we can compare the two and find out which is better. So, without any further ado, let’s get started on the subject.

What is Indian Accounting?

Indians maintain a conservative approach in every aspect, including their traditional accounting systems, which reflects a continuing trend.
Many foreign economists and finance laureates believe that the Indian accounting system, although constantly undergoing improvement efforts, serves the Indian people well.

The Indian accounting system is following its roots and historical acumen with a more advanced way of handling accounts. One distinctive feature of Indian accounting is its emphasis on cautiousness and conservatism. This means that financial statements tend to be more conservative, reflecting a cautious approach to recognizing revenue and assets. Additionally, Indian accounting places a significant focus on compliance and adherence to regulatory standards. The regulatory framework includes the Companies Act of 2013 and the Income Tax Act of 1961, which businesses must follow without exceptions due to their detailed nature. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) governs the principles on which Indian accounting works.The accounting principles in India are primarily based on the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

What is Foreign Accounting?

Unlike India, which follows an old or primitive accounting system like GAAP, many Western economies have started adopting IFRS or the International Financial Reporting Standards, which the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) regulates. The main aim of IFRS is to create harmony between different accounting systems of the world and bring them to the same table. The rules and regulations would become much simpler to follow internationally if this were to happen tomorrow. However, many other countries like India are not yet ready to adopt the IFRS system as they trust the GAAP system much more.

Indian Accounting vs Foreign Accounting

AspectIndian AccountingForeign Accounting
Regulatory FrameworkThe Indian accounting system is Governed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the Companies Act, of 2013, and the Income Tax Act, of 1961.Varies by the country you reside in. Many countries follow the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or have their own set of national standards.
Principles vs. RulesPrimarily rule-based, providing specific guidelines for transactions.Principally principle-based, offering broad guidelines with more flexibility in interpretation.
Fair Value MeasurementRecognizes fair value but not as extensively as foreign accounting.Emphasizes fair value measurement for a more accurate reflection of market values.
ConservatismEmphasizes prudence and conservatism, resulting in more cautious financial reporting. Conservatism is a rare feature seen in very few economies across the globe.It is more focused on providing a fairer form of financial accounting for private as well as public companies.
Software SolutionsTally ERP 9 is the most popular for compliance with local regulations as well as tax compliance.QuickBooks is widely used for its global approach and features like multi-currency support and cloud-based activities for accounting
Global Applicability of StandardsPrimarily applicable within India for now as it is a made-in-India software.International, adopted by various countries for a globally harmonized financial reporting framework.
Convergence with Global StandardsThe Indian accounting system might take a bit longer to integrate with the international system. Efforts are being made to align the two but there are problems that the government is facing.Many countries have accepted or adopted IFRS to enhance global consistency in financial reporting.
Role of Regulatory BodiesIndian accounting is a field that is governed by the ICAI as mentioned above. Almost all the matters related to financial services are governed by the same body.International standards have to be kept in mind and that’s why IASB is given the regulation of foreign accounting.

Which software solutions do businesses use in both styles of accounting?

  1. Indian Accounting Software:
    • Tally ERP 9: One of the most widely used accounting software solutions in India. Made in India, for Indians, Tally ERP9 is one of the best accounting software in the market in India.
      Its easy-to-use interface and many features that make company accounting a cakewalk have popularized it.
  2. Foreign Accounting Software:
    • QuickBooks: Widely used in Western countries like the U.S. and Canada, QuickBooks is another accounting software that works brilliantly in cloud-based accounting operations. Its unique ability of cloud connectivity makes it much easier for company employees and owners to access their financial information from anywhere at any time.


In conclusion, the Indian accounting system and the foreign accounting system have the same aims and goals but some of the mechanisms used are different. That’s why, even though Indian accounting is deeply rooted in historical and conservative principles, foreign accounting course, particularly under IFRS, leans towards a more globally harmonized and principle-based approach for fair accounting.

Ultimately, the choice of accounting software also plays a vital role in streamlining financial processes. Businesses operating in India may find specialized solutions like Tally ERP 9 and businesses set up abroad prefer the QuickBooks software for its high accessibility and easy-to-understand syntax and interface.


  1. Is Indian accounting based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)?
    • Yes, Indian accounting predominantly follows the GAAP, governed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
  2. Which international accounting standards do companies widely adopt globally?
    • Companies globally widely adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to promote consistency and transparency in financial reporting.
  3. What is the primary software solution for Indian accounting?
    • Tally ERP 9 and Zoho Books are popular software solutions for Indian accounting, catering to local regulatory requirements.
  4. Which software solutions do businesses commonly use in foreign accounting?
    • Businesses widely use QuickBooks and Xero for foreign accounting, as they offer features such as multi-currency support and real-time collaboration.
  5. How does revenue recognition differ between Indian and foreign accounting?
    • Indian accounting often ties revenue recognition to specific milestones, while foreign accounting under IFRS focuses on the transfer of control.

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