accounting meaning

Double-entry accounting is also called balancing the books, as all of the accounting entries are balanced against each other. If the entries aren’t balanced, the accountant knows there must be a mistake somewhere in the general ledger. Financial accounts have two different sets of rules they can choose to follow. The first, the accrual basis method of accounting, has been discussed above. These rules are outlined by GAAP and IFRS, are required by public companies, and are mainly used by larger companies.

Accounting has had its origin mainly to perform what was called the ‘stewardship’ function of reporting to the owners the financial position and profitability of their business. It has a systematic body of knowledge which can be applied by the cost accountant in various situations. Certain techniques and principles (in the form of standard costing, marginal costing, budgetary control etc.) have developed over the years to aid the decision making capabilities of accountants. These can be pressed into service by anyone interested in improving profitability of business operations, cutting down costs and achieving overall efficiency.

Accounting information is not without personal influence or bias of the accountant. In measuring income, accountant has a choice between different methods of inventory valuation, deprecation methods, treatment of capital and revenue items etc. Hence, due to the lack of objectivity income arrived at may not be correct in certain cases. In the case of limited companies, the management is entrusted with the resources of the enterprise. The managers are expected to act true trustees of the funds and the accounting helps them to achieve the same. Financial information should be presented in a simple and easy way so that the users i.e. investors, debenture holders, employees and government officials can understand it easily.

What is Marginal Costing? Definition, Features, Advantages, Limitations

In every transaction, there is a movement of value from one source to another. For instance, inventory should be valued on the basis of ‘least of the cost and market price’ as per the principle of conservatism. If he has properly maintained the accounts, he will not face the problems in explaining few things in court. Generally, a businessman has to pay corporate tax, VAT and excise duty, etc. Therefore, it is necessary that proper accounts should be maintained to compute the tax liability of the business. Customers may also have either short-term or long-term interest in the reporting entity or long-term interest in the reporting entity and they may be satisfied with the profitability, liquidity and solvency position.

Accrual basis accounting (or simply “accrual accounting”) records revenue- and expense-related items when they first occur. Accrual accounting recognizes that $2,000 in revenue on the date of the purchase. The method contrasts with cash basis accounting, which would record the $2,000 in revenue only after the money is actually received.

Introduction to accounting frequently identifies assets, liabilities, and capital as the field’s three fundamental concepts. Assets describe an individual or company’s holdings of financial value. Variable costs are expenses that can change depending on the volume of goods produced or sold by a company. For example, a manufacturer would incur higher costs if it doubled its product output. Companies may also face higher tax rates as their sales and profits rise.

Characteristics of Accounting:

Green Accounting discloses or emphasizes more clearly about the quality of economic growth in terms of sustainable development. It is concerned with the interpretation of accounting information to guide the management for future planning, decision-making, control, etc. Management accounting, therefore, serves the information needs of the insiders, e.g., owners, managers and employees.

accounting meaning

“Forensic” means “suitable for use in a court of law”, and it is to that standard and potential outcome that forensic accountants generally have to work. Taxmann’s Basic Accounting book provides a thorough analysis & new insights on basic accounting and interpretation in simple language. Accounting information when properly recorded can be used to compare the results of one year with those of earlier years so that the significant changes can be analyzed. The concept of green accounting is related to the calculation of national income in which standard measures of income and output are Gross National Product (GNP) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Gross National Income (GNP) etc. The simple things we do and encounter everyday can actually be related to some level of accounting.

In professional practice, trial balances function like test-runs for an official balance sheet. As used in accounting, inventory describes assets that a company intends to liquidate through sales operations. It includes assets being held for sale, those in the process of being made, and the materials used to make them.

Fundamentals of Accounting

In general, large businesses and publicly traded companies favor accrual accounting. Accounting standards improve the reliability of financial statements. The financial statements include the income statement, the balance sheet, the cash flow statement, and the statement of retained earnings.

Financial accounting treats figures as simple, single and silent items. Such raw data is of little help in interpreting figures meaningfully and decide about the price of product, evaluation of a project, feasibility of an operation etc. The principal objective of accounting is to provide information to the users to make relevant decisions and form judgements. American Accounting Association defines Accounting (in 1966) as the process of identifying, measuring and communicating economic information to permit informed judgments and decisions by the users of the information.

The entire purpose of financial accounting is to prepare financial statements, which are used by a variety of groups and often required as part of agreements with the preparing company. In addition to management using financial accounting to gain information on operations, the following groups use financial accounting meaning accounting reporting. Financial accounting is dictated by five general, overarching principles that guide companies in how to prepare their financial statements. Instead of recording a transaction when it occurs, the cash method stipulates a transaction should be recorded only when cash has exchanged.

This guide is an easy-to-use resource for developing the vocabulary accounting professionals use. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks.

He must be able to translate the techniques, methods and practices in the service of an undertaking, yielding concrete results. It is concerned with recording of costs in the cost journal and the subsequent posting to the ledger. Third, the information collected and measured is communicated through statements and reports to users.

1 Financial Accounting

Cost accounting sharpens the skills of an accountant while applying the above mentioned techniques. It demands analytical and judgmental skills on the part of an accountant. Mere knowledge of principles may prove to be useless for a cost accountant unless he looks into the requirements of each business closely and critically. Financial accounting does not fully analyse the losses arising out of substandard material, inefficient labour, idle plant capacity etc. It does not also reveal cost variations between active and slack periods of business. Cost data for each segment of business such as division, department, job, product, process or operation is also not available.

accounting meaning

According to Kohler, management accounting is ‘that portion of accounting which attempts to supply management with quantitative information as the basis for decisions’. It does not show profit or loss of different products, jobs, departments etc. The basic objective of financial accounting is to provide useful financial information for the benefit of investors, creditors and other external groups.

Accountants are responsible for maintaining records of a company’s daily transactions and compiling those transactions into financial statements such as the balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows. Accountants also provide other services, such as performing periodic audits or preparing ad-hoc management reports. The key difference between financial and managerial accounting is that financial accounting provides information to external parties, while managerial accounting helps managers within the organization make decisions. Managerial accounting assesses financial performance and hopes to drive smarter decision-making through internal reports that analyze operations. Accounting designed or meant for outsiders is known as financial accounting.

Using Accounting Software

Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the business enterprises are functioning properly. Further, it is necessary to ensure that the corporate enterprises are remitting various taxes, duties, etc., to the state exchequer. The function of ensuring a real and permanent reduction in the unit cost of goods produced or services rendered by employing techniques such as standardization, forecasting, value analysis etc. This is concerned with finding the cost of a specific product or activity.

accounting meaning

This guide includes accounting definitions, alternative word uses, explanations of related terms, and the importance of particular words or concepts to the accounting profession as a whole. But not all small business owners can pursue formal financial training. It was developed for students and entrepreneurs to build their familiarity with accounting vocabulary. Accounting is a back-office function where employees may not directly interface with customers, product developers, or manufacturing.


Nominal accounts are considered to be temporary, they are reflected on a company’s income statement as net profit or loss, and are closed at the end of every fiscal year. Accountants can also work for themselves, setting up their own small business and freelancing their services out. There are no legal requirements or tests you must pass to call yourself an accountant, but ideally you would have an accounting degree from a recognized institution, and some work experience. Double-entry systems add assets, liabilities, and equity to the organization’s financial tracking. In common usage, capital (abbreviated “CAP.”) refers to any asset or resource a business can use to generate revenue. A second definition considers capital the level of owner investment in the business.

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