On the basis of the accounting standards MOF issued a series of industry-specific accounting systems in 1992 covering industry, commodity distribution, construction, real estate, finance and insurance, transport and communications, foreign economic cooperation, tourism and catering, and agriculture, as well as a separate system for foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs). These unified systems form and integral part of China's legal system governing accounting.
To cope with enterprise reform and comply with WTO requirements, China made a major revamp to its enterprise accounting system in 2000. MOF promulgated the Accounting System for Business Enterprises to be applied to joint stock limited companies starting 1 January 2001 on a temporary basis, while other types of enterprises were also encouraged to follow the new system. Under the Accounting System, a unified system of accounting is established for all types of industry, ownership structure, organization and operation mode, and is applicable to large and medium enterprises except those engaged in finance and insurance. On the basis of the Accounting System, industry-specific accounting measures will be formulated for different industries and enterprises according to their characteristics while a specially designed accounting system will be developed for small enterprises. In addition, financial and insurance enterprises will be subject to a special accounting system for financial and insurance enterprises to accommodate their unique requirements.
The Accounting System for Business Enterprises currently in force is formulated on the basis of the Accounting System for Joint stock Limited Companies and its supplemental provisions and specific accounting standards. It consists of general provisions, account titles and financial statements, as well as examples of key accounting events and selections of major accounting rules. The general provisions list out the broad principles for the recognition, measurement and reporting of accounting elements and key business activities. In the sections on account titles and financial statements, the types of account titles to be adopted for business activities and instructions for use are specified, while samples of financial statements and instructions on their compilation are given. In the appendix, examples of how major accounting events are handled are given.