There is general agreement that, before it can be regarded as useful in satisfying the needs of various user groups, accounting information should satisfy the following criteria:
This implies the expression, with clarity, of accounting information in such a way that it will be understandable to users - who are generally assumed to have a reasonable knowledge of business and economic activities
This implies that, to be useful, accounting information must assist a user to form, confirm or maybe revise a view - usually in the context of making a decision (e.g. should I invest, should I lend money to this business? Should I work for this business?)
This implies consistent treatment of similar items and application of accounting policies
This implies the ability for users to be able to compare similar companies in the same industry group and to make comparisons of performance over time. Much of the work that goes into setting accounting standards is based around the need for comparability.
This implies that the accounting information that is presented is truthful, accurate, complete (nothing significant missed out) and capable of being verified (e.g. by a potential investor).
This implies that accounting information is prepared and reported in a "neutral" way. In other words, it is not biased towards a particular user group or vested interest