Qualitative Characteristics of Accounting Information: Definition and Types

There are six different types of qualitative characteristics of accounting information, including:
  • Relevance. …
  • Representational faithfulness. …
  • Verifiability. …
  • Understandability. …
  • Comparability. …
  • Timeliness. …
  • Extract relevant information. …
  • Check your information.


Why are qualitative characteristics of accounting information important?

Because they make it easier for business professionals to comprehend and use the data in accounting reports, qualitative accounting information characteristics are crucial. These traits give numbers in accounting reports an explanation, demonstrate how to use them to make decisions, and forecast financial outcomes for the future.

Additional justifications for using the qualitative attributes of accounting data by professionals include the following:

What are qualitative characteristics of accounting information?

Accounting data has qualities that make it easier for financial professionals to comprehend and make decisions based on those reports.

There are six distinct categories of qualitative accounting information characteristics, including:


Relevance in accounting information is a quality that can aid people in making choices regarding a company’s financial situation. Prior to having predictive value, which can make predictions about future financial events, accounting information must first have confirmatory value, which provides information about past financial events. In order to create accurate accounting information, a business needs to have both confirmatory and predictive value.

Accounting information is deemed relevant by experts if it contains data on previous events that can be used to predict future ones, hopefully leading to more profit or aiding in the resolution of any potential financial issues. As an illustration, if a business owner wants to invest in a new asset, they can do so by reviewing their prior investment performance since that data is relevant to any future investments they make.

Representational faithfulness

Information that accurately reflects a company’s transactions, resources, and overall financial assets is referred to as representational faithfulness, also known as financial reliability.

A company’s representational faithfulness is determined by three factors, including:


A business makes sure that its financial data is verifiable in order to produce accurate financial predictions. Verifiability entails establishing the accuracy of financial data and calculations by comparing output from various independent sources. This means that outside auditors and experts can assess a company’s financial reports and arrive at the same conclusions as the accountants there. If this occurs, a companys information is accurate and verifiable. If the information cannot be independently verified, the business will revise its financial report and conduct new calculations.


Financial reports must be simple to understand because decision-making for a company frequently involves professionals who are not in the accounting department, such as managers. The ability of a person to comprehend a company’s financial report or accounting information is measured in terms of its understandability. Financial reports frequently have dozens of pages, use complicated financial terminology, and include numerous calculations.

Most businesses strive to produce financial reports that non-accounting professionals can understand. Including notes that explain common accounting concepts, such as methods of valuation and information on inventory, is a great way to make financial reports easier to understand.


Comparability is a crucial component of accounting data because it aids experts in differentiating and analyzing financial reports that aid in decision-making. In order to understand a company’s trends and overall financial performance, comparability involves comparing one financial period with another. Accounting tools like balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income reports can be used by a company to compare its financial statements.

The ability of a company to evaluate its financial statements against those of its rivals is another definition of comparability. This can help a decision-making team understand the changes that need to be made in response to the comparison and provide insight into how a company is performing.


Timeliness involves how rapidly accounting information is available to professionals. After a transaction, it frequently takes some time for financial information to reach the accounting department; the length of time depends on how effectively a company communicates. A company’s accounting team can act quickly if information is received quickly.

How to use qualitative characteristics of accounting information

To help you use the qualitative aspects of accounting information for your business, follow these steps:

1. Extract relevant information

You can forecast future financial outcomes by obtaining pertinent information from prior financial statements. Make sure the data you extract is pertinent to the data you want to predict. For instance, you can search for previous tax information from past financial records, analyze trends, and forecast future tax information.

2. Check your information

Verify the information you have extracted is accurate, neutral, and comprehensive to ensure its dependability. Either you or outside accountants can check that the data is accurate and error-free during this step.

3. Verify the information

Enlist an auditor’s assistance to make sure your data can be verified. Use an auditor who does not work for your company in order to maintain the information’s objectivity. Employing an outside auditor helps maintain the objectivity and accuracy of your information.

4. Ensure that the information is understandable

It’s crucial to make sure the information is understandable after an auditor has verified it. One way to gauge how simple the information is to comprehend is to have experts outside of the accounting division assess the data.

5. Compare the information

Compare the data to comparable data from a different financial period to complete the process. As you do this, make an effort to spot any trends and assess overall financial performance in order to accurately predict upcoming financial periods.

Qualitative characteristics of accounting information example

Here is an illustration of how a business might use the methods mentioned above to guide them as they make a crucial financial decision:

A manufacturer of children’s toys is trying to figure out how to boost sales in the coming year.

Their accounting team makes use of the characteristic of relevance by gathering pertinent data that could aid in making decisions about how to increase sales. Their cash flow statements from the previous year, which display their overall operating costs and sales revenue, are among this information’s pertinent components.

Then, by verifying that all pertinent statements were included and that the accountants who created the cash flow statement were objective, they use the reliability characteristic to make sure the cash flow statement is complete, neutral, and error-free. They also determine whether the calculations are error-free.

Then, to ensure the data is verifiable, they engage a qualified auditor to carry out the same calculations as those found in the cash flow statement.

At this point, the business solicits assistance from people outside the accounting division by asking them to evaluate the cash flow statement to see how simple it is to understand.

In order to identify any trends that could help them increase sales, the company’s accounting team is now comparing their current cash flow statement to previous cash flow statements. When making decisions, they can also include new financial data that they promptly receive.


What are the six qualitative characteristics of accounting information?

Financial reporting information is useful to users when it possesses the qualities mentioned above (relevance, materiality, understandability, comparability, consistency, reliability, neutrality, timeliness, and economic realism).

What are the 4 qualitative characteristics?

Comparability, verifiability, timeliness, and understandability are the four enhancing qualitative traits. According to the characteristic of relevance, data should be useful for users in making and assessing economic decisions by way of prediction and confirmation.

What are the quantitative characteristics of accounting?

Expert-verified answer question
  • Relevance: The data should be relevant to those who use it to make financial decisions.
  • Reliability- The information should be obtained from reliable source. …
  • Understanding- Information must be presented in a way that enables comprehension of the given circumstances.

What is meant by qualitative characteristics?

The qualities that make financial information useful to users are known as qualitative characteristics. Qualitative characteristics can be divided into Fundamental and Enhancing qualitative characteristics for analytical purposes.

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