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Financial accounting (or financial accountancy) is the field of accounting concerned with the summary, analysis and reporting of financial transactions related to a business.This involves the preparation of financial statements available for public use. Stockholders, suppliers, banks, employees, government agencies, business owners, and other stakeholders are examples of people interested in receiving such information for decision making purposes.
Financial accountancy is governed by both local and international accounting standards. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) is the standard framework of guidelines for financial accounting used in any given jurisdiction. It includes the standards, conventions and rules that accountants follow in recording and summarizing and in the preparation of financial statements.
On the other hand, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is a set of passionable accounting standards stating how particular types of transactions and other events should be reported in financial statements. IFRS are issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).With IFRS becoming more widespread on the international scene, consistency in financial reporting has become more prevalent between global organizations.
While financial accounting is used to prepare accounting information for people outside the organization or not involved in the day-to-day running of the company, managerial accounting provides accounting information to help managers make decisions to manage the business.
Financial accounting and financial reporting are often used as synonyms.
1. According to International Financial Reporting Standards: the objective of financial reporting is:
To provide financial information that is useful to existing and potential investors, lenders and other creditors in making decisions about providing resources to the reporting entity.
2. According to the European Accounting Association:
Capital maintenance is a competing objective of financial reporting.
Financial accounting is the preparation of financial statements that can be consumed by the public and the relevant stakeholders. Financial information would be useful to users if such qualitative characteristics are present. When producing financial statements, the following must comply: Fundamental Qualitative Characteristics:
Enhancing Qualitative Characteristics:
The statement of cash flows considers the inputs and outputs in concrete cash within a stated period. The general template of a cash flow statement is as follows: Cash Inflow - Cash Outflow + Opening Balance = Closing Balance
Example 1: in the beginning of September, Ellen started out with $5 in her bank account. During that same month, Ellen borrowed $20 from Tom. At the end of the month, Ellen bought a pair of shoes for $7. Ellen's cash flow statement for the month of September looks like this:
Example 2: in the beginning of June, WikiTables, a company that buys and resells tables, sold 2 tables. They'd originally bought the tables for $25 each, and sold them at a price of $50 per table. The first table was paid out in cash however the second one was bought in credit terms. WikiTables' cash flow statement for the month of June looks like this:
Important: the cash flow statement only considers the exchange of actual cash, and ignores what the person in question owes or is owed.
The statement of profit or income statement represents the changes in value of a company's accounts over a set period (most commonly one fiscal year), and may compare the changes to changes in the same accounts over the previous period. All changes are summarized on the "bottom line" as net income, often reported as "net loss" when income is less than zero.
The net profit or loss is determined by:
– cost of goods sold
– selling, general, administrative expenses (SGA)
– depreciation/ amortization
= earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT)
– interest and tax expenses
The balance sheet is the financial statement showing a firm's assets, liabilities and equity (capital) at a set point in time, usually the end of the fiscal year reported on the accompanying income statement. The total assets always equal the total combined liabilities and equity in dollar amount. This statement best demonstrates the basic accounting equation: Assets = Liabilities + Equity. The statement can be used to help show the status of a company.
Accounting standards often set out a general format that companies are expected to follow when presenting their balance sheets. International Financial Reporting Standards normally require that companies report current assets and liabilities separately from non-current amounts.
Current assets are the most liquid assets of a firm, which can be realized in 12 months period. Current assets include:
Non-current assets include fixed or long-term assets and intangible assets:
Owner's equity, sometimes referred to as net assets, is represented differently depending on the type of business ownership. Business ownership can be in the form of a sole proprietorship, partnership, or a corporation. For a corporation, the owner's equity portion usually shows common stock, and retained earnings (earnings kept in the company). Retained earnings come from the retained earnings statement, prepared prior to the balance sheet.
This statement is additional to the three main statements described above. It shows how the distribution of income and transfer of dividends affects the wealth of shareholders in the company. The concept of retained earnings means profits of previous years that are accumulated till current period. Basic proforma for this statement is as follows:
Retained earnings at the beginning of period
+ Net Income for the period
= Retained earnings at the end of period.
THE STABLE MEASURING ASSUMPTION One of the basic principles in accounting is “The Measuring Unit principle:
The unit of measure in accounting shall be the base money unit of the most relevant currency. This principle also assumes the unit of measure is stable; that is, changes in its general purchasing power are not considered sufficiently important to require adjustments to the basic financial statements.”
Historical Cost Accounting, i.e., financial capital maintenance in nominal monetary units, is based on the stable measuring unit assumption under which accountants simply assume that money, the monetary unit of measure, is perfectly stable in real value for the purpose of measuring (1) monetary items not inflation-indexed daily in terms of the Daily CPI and (2) constant real value non-monetary items not updated daily in terms of the Daily CPI during low and high inflation and deflation.
UNITS OF CONSTANT PURCHASING POWER The stable monetary unit assumption is not applied during hyperinflation. IFRS requires entities to implement capital maintenance in units of constant purchasing power in terms of IAS 29 Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies.
Financial accountants produce financial statements based on the accounting standards in a given jurisdiction. These standards may be the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles of a respective country, which are typically issued by a national standard setter, or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which are issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).
Financial accounting serves the following purposes:
Objectives of Financial Accounting
The accounting equation (Assets = Liabilities + Owners' Equity) and financial statements are the main topics of financial accounting.
The trial balance, which is usually prepared using the double-entry accounting system, forms the basis for preparing the financial statements. All the figures in the trial balance are rearranged to prepare a profit & loss statement and balance sheet. Accounting standards determine the format for these accounts (SSAP, FRS, IFRS). Financial statements display the income and expenditure for the company and a summary of the assets, liabilities, and shareholders' or owners' equity of the company on the date to which the accounts were prepared.
Assets and expenses have normal debit balances, i.e., debiting these types of accounts increases them.
Liabilities, revenues, and capital have normal credit balances, i.e., crediting these increases them.
0 = Dr Assets Cr Owners' Equity Cr Liabilities . _____________________________/\____________________________ . . / Cr Retained Earnings (profit) Cr Common Stock \ . . _________________/\_______________________________ . . . / Dr Expenses Cr Beginning Retained Earnings \ . . . Dr Dividends Cr Revenue . . \________________________/ \______________________________________________________/ increased by debits increased by credits Crediting a credit Thus -------------------------> account increases its absolute value (balance) Debiting a debit Debiting a credit Thus -------------------------> account decreases its absolute value (balance) Crediting a debit
When the same thing is done to an account as its normal balance it increases; when the opposite is done, it will decrease. Much like signs in math: two positive numbers are added and two negative numbers are also added. It is only when there is one positive and one negative (opposites) that you will subtract.
Many professional accountancy qualifications cover the field of financial accountancy, including Certified Public Accountant CPA, Chartered Accountant (CA or other national designations, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants AICPA and Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA).
Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transactions, and is part of the process of accounting in business. Transactions include purchases, sales, receipts, and payments by an individual person or an organization/corporation. There are several standard methods of bookkeeping, including the single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping systems. While these may be viewed as "real" bookkeeping, any process for recording financial transactions is a bookkeeping process.
International Financial Reporting Standards, commonly called IFRS, are accounting standards issued by the IFRS Foundation and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). They constitute a standardised way of describing the company’s financial performance so that company financial statements are understandable and comparable across international boundaries. They are particularly relevant for companies with shares or securities listed on a public stock exchange.
Financial statements are formal records of the financial activities and position of a business, person, or other entity.
In financial accounting, a balance sheet or statement of financial position or statement of financial condition is a summary of the financial balances of an individual or organization, whether it be a sole proprietorship, a business partnership, a corporation, private limited company or other organization such as Government or not-for-profit entity. Assets, liabilities and ownership equity are listed as of a specific date, such as the end of its financial year. A balance sheet is often described as a "snapshot of a company's financial condition". Of the four basic financial statements, the balance sheet is the only statement which applies to a single point in time of a business' calendar year.
In accounting, an economic item's historical cost is the original nominal monetary value of that item. Historical cost accounting involves reporting assets and liabilities at their historical costs, which are not updated for changes in the items' values. Consequently, the amounts reported for these balance sheet items often differ from their current economic or market values.
This page is an index of accounting topics.
In accounting, book value is the value of an asset according to its balance sheet account balance. For assets, the value is based on the original cost of the asset less any depreciation, amortization or impairment costs made against the asset. Traditionally, a company's book value is its total assets minus intangible assets and liabilities. However, in practice, depending on the source of the calculation, book value may variably include goodwill, intangible assets, or both. The value inherent in its workforce, part of the intellectual capital of a company, is always ignored. When intangible assets and goodwill are explicitly excluded, the metric is often specified to be "tangible book value".
Expenditure is an outflow of money to another person or group to pay for an item or service, or for a category of costs. For a tenant, rent is an expense. For students or parents, tuition is an expense. Buying food, clothing, furniture or an automobile is often referred to as an expense. An expense is a cost that is "paid" or "remitted", usually in exchange for something of value. Something that seems to cost a great deal is "expensive". Something that seems to cost little is "inexpensive". "Expenses of the table" are expenses of dining, refreshments, a feast, etc.
In double entry bookkeeping, debits and credits are entries made in account ledgers to record changes in value resulting from business transactions. A debit entry in an account represents a transfer of value to a party associated with that account, and a credit entry represents a transfer from an associated party. For example, a tenant who pays rent to a landlord will make a debit entry in a rent expense account associated with the landlord, and the landlord will make a credit entry in a receivable account associated with the tenant. Every transaction produces both debit entries and credit entries for each party involved, where each party's total debits and total credits for the same transaction are equal. Continuing the example, the tenant will also credit the bank account from which they pay rent, and the landlord will debit the bank account where they deposit it.
An income statement or profit and loss account is one of the financial statements of a company and shows the company’s revenues and expenses during a particular period.
In financial accounting, a cash flow statement, also known as statement of cash flows, is a financial statement that shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents, and breaks the analysis down to operating, investing, and financing activities. Essentially, the cash flow statement is concerned with the flow of cash in and out of the business. As an analytical tool, the statement of cash flows is useful in determining the short-term viability of a company, particularly its ability to pay bills. International Accounting Standard 7 is the International Accounting Standard that deals with cash flow statements.
The retained earnings of a corporation is the accumulated net income of the corporation that is retained by the corporation at a particular point of time, such as at the end of the reporting period. At the end of that period, the net income at that point is transferred from the Profit and Loss Account to the retained earnings account. If the balance of the retained earnings account is negative it may be called accumulated losses, retained losses or accumulated deficit, or similar terminology.
A chart of accounts (COA) is a created list of the accounts used by an organization to define each class of items for which money or its equivalent is spent or received. It is used to organize the entity’s finances and segregate expenditures, revenue, assets and liabilities in order to give interested parties a better understanding of the entity’s financial health.
A Statement of changes in equity and similarly the statement of changes in owner's equity for a sole trader, statement of changes in partners' equity for a partnership, statement of changes in Shareholders' equity for a Company or statement of changes in Taxpayers' equity for Government financial statements is one of the four basic financial statements.
The fundamental accounting equation, also called the balance sheet equation, represents the relationship between the assets, liabilities, and owner's equity of a person or business. It is the foundation for the double-entry bookkeeping system. For each transaction, the total debits equal the total credits. It can be expressed as furthermore:
In financial accounting, a provision is an account which records a present liability of an entity. The recording of the liability in the entity's balance sheet is matched to an appropriate expense account in the entity's income statement. The preceding is correct in IFRS. In U.S. GAAP, a provision is an expense. Thus, "Provision for Income Taxes" is an expense in U.S. GAAP but a liability in IFRS.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to accounting:
A foreign exchange hedge is a method used by companies to eliminate or "hedge" their foreign exchange risk resulting from transactions in foreign currencies. This is done using either the cash flow hedge or the fair value method. The accounting rules for this are addressed by both the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and by the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as well as other national accounting standards.
In financial accounting, a liability is defined as the future sacrifices of economic benefits that the entity is obliged to make to other entities as a result of past transactions or other past events, the settlement of which may result in the transfer or use of assets, provision of services or other yielding of economic benefits in the future.
This article lists some of the important requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).