The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has released a guide to auditing and accounting material on derivatives.

The financial industry has been struggling with derivatives in part because no single standard explains how to account for them.

"Derivatives: Current Accounting and Auditing Literature," describes reports and projects of the Financial Accounting Standards Board and other accounting groups.

"We're giving financial statement preparers, auditors, and users a much- needed road map for navigating current derivatives accounting and auditing literature," said James A. Johnson, chairman of the AICPA.

The report includes basic information about contracts, risks, and other general matters on derivatives. It focuses on instruments such as forwards, swaps, futures, and options that are not usually recognized on balance sheets.

The AICPA also lists in the study six questions about derivatives activities, designed to help bank senior management and board members better understand their risks.

Copies of the report cost $7 for AICPA members and $7.75 for nonmembers, and can be ordered by calling 1-800-TO-AICPA.

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