Accountancy or accounting is the art of communicating financial information about a business entity to users such as shareholders and managers. The communication is generally in the form of financial statements that show in money terms the economic resources under the control of management.
Such financial information is primarily used by managers, lenders, investors, tax authorities, regulators, and other decision makers to make resource allocation decisions between and within companies, organizations, and public agencies. It involves the process of recording, verifying, and reporting of the value of assets, liabilities, income, and expenses in the books of account (ledger) to which debit and credit entries (recognizing transactions) are chronologically posted to record changes in value (see bookkeeping). Accounting has also been defined by the AICPA as “The art of recording, classifying, and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in part at least, of financial character, and interpreting the results thereof.”
A business (also called a firm, or enterprise) is a legally recognized organization designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers. Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, most being privately owned and formed to earn profit that will increase the wealth of its owners and grow the business itself. The owners and operators of a business have as one of their main objectives the receipt or generation of a financial return in exchange for work and acceptance of risk. Notable exceptions include cooperative enterprises and state-owned enterprises. Socialist systems involve either government agencies, public ownership, state-ownership or direct worker ownership of enterprises and assets that would be run as businesses in a capitalist economy. The distinction between these institutions and a business is that socialist institutions often have alternative or additional goals aside from maximizing or turning a profit.
The etymology of “business” relates to the state of being busy either as an individual or society as a whole, doing commercially viable and profitable work. The term “business” has at least three usages, depending on the scope — the singular usage (above) to mean a particular company or corporation, the generalized usage to refer to a particular market sector, such as “the music business” and compound forms such as agribusiness, or the broadest meaning to include all activity by the community of suppliers of goods and services. However, the exact definition of business, like much else in the philosophy of business, is a matter of debate.
Business Studies, the study of the management of individuals to maintain collective productivity to accomplish particular creative and productive goals (usually to generate profit), is taught as an academic subject in many schools.
Financial statements (or financial reports) are formal records of the financial activities of a business, person, or other entity. In British English, including United Kingdom company law, financial statements are often referred to as accounts, although the term financial statements is also used, particularly by accountants.
Financial statements provide an overview of a business or person’s financial condition in both short and long term. All the relevant financial information of a business enterprise, presented in a structured manner and in a form easy to understand, are called the financial statements. There are four basic financial statements:
1. Balance sheet: also referred to as statement of financial position or condition, reports on a company’s assets, liabilities, and Ownership equity at a given point in time.
2. Income statement: also referred to as Profit and Loss statement (or a “P&L”), reports on a company’s income, expenses, and profits over a period of time.Profit & Loss account provide information on the operation of the enterprise. These include sale and the various expenses incurred during the processing state.
3. Statement of retained earnings: explains the changes in a company’s retained earnings over the reporting period.
4. Statement of cash flows: reports on a company’s cash flow activities, particularly its operating, investing and financing activities.
For large corporations, these statements are often complex and may include an extensive set of notes to the financial statements and management discussion and analysis. The notes typically describe each item on the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement in further detail. Notes to financial statements are considered an integral part of the financial statements.
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