The 21st century has seen a lot of changes across sectors and industries. A prominent example of this change is the finance sector. In the 18th and 19th centuries and earlier, finance was all about transactions between a certain number of parties and the plying of commercial interests by service or commodities merchants or merchant groups, etc.
The barter trade was one of the first pieces of evidence of transactions, although coin or financial transactions came later. Nonetheless, with the introduction of coins and rising economies due to the onset of civilization, people began to put frameworks into place that would govern the flow of money. Such organizations were the forerunners of modern accounting firms that take care of an organization or firm’s accounting expenses.
Financial accounting is a key aspect of any modern business, whether performed in-house or outsourced to a specialized firm. Here are some basic accounting terms that are most commonly used, that you should know about:
- Balance sheet
- Single-entry bookkeeping
- Generally accepted accounting principles
- Departmental accounting
- Certified public accountant
- Bank statement
- Chart of accounts
- Fixed asset
- General ledger
- Cash basis accounting
What do these terms mean and what are they?
Let’s understand what each of these basic accounting terms mean and how they are used in the world of financial accounting.
1. Balance sheet
A balance sheet is a financial statement where a company's financial transactions are recorded. It will display all the assets and liabilities of that organization at the end of a financial year. And, both sides of the balance sheet must have the same figure to ensure that the financial data matches the expenses and gains experience by the business.
A balance sheet also includes the information regarding the accounts payable and receivable of the business.
This financial statement can be used to measure the financial stability and condition of an organization.
Capital refers to either assets or possessions owned by a company or a firm in question. These assets or possessions in question can either be financial or have a financial value of their own.
The term liquid capital often refers to the amount of capital obtained from the deduction of current assets from current liabilities.
Equity refers to the financial interest a person or a group has in a particular firm or organization. This financial interest is measured by the difference between the person, group, or group’s assets and liabilities.
That difference is considered as the percentage of the company stock the person or group or groups have an interest in.
An invoice refers to a document wherein a company or a firm lists the price for its services or goods that its clients avail of or purchase from it.
It usually has details like the price of a commodity or services, the additional costs due to the taxes levied on the same, as well as the address of the firm or the organization.
Liquidity refers to the ability of a firm or an organization to be able to convert its assets into ready cash or other financial value-based units.
6. Single-entry bookkeeping
Single-entry bookkeeping is a practice that is different from that of double-entry bookkeeping. Whereas in double-entry bookkeeping, organizations make entries for both debit and credit, it makes cash-only entries as part of single-entry bookkeeping.
Cash-only entries refer to entries made regarding the inflow and outflow of cash.
7. Generally accepted accounting principles
Generally accepted accounting principles refer to the set of principles that all accountants and professionals working at their firm or an organization adhere to while working for them.
These principles form a structural framework and define their code of conduct, etc.
8. Departmental accounting
Departmental accounting essentially refers to all the accounting-related expenses, such as incomes and expenses, of the various departments of an organization. When all of these departmental accounts are combined, people can get an idea of the accounting-related expenses of the whole company.
9. Certified public accountant
A certified public accountant is an accounting professional who has passed the official exam for accountants and is thus liable to sign off on tax returns and perform internally or otherwise audits for his/her clients, etc.
They can also set up independent firms should they choose to do so.
10. Bank statement
A bank statement refers to a financial report or document that a bank sends to a person or an organization or a firm detailing their monthly bank balance. It also contains details of the transactions, and the overall debit and credit of funds into an account.
11. Chart of accounts
A chart of accounts refers to the simplified index of the various accounts of the financial value of the organization or firm in question. It is similar to a list of contents at the beginning of a book.
Depreciation refers to the decrease in the value of a particular asset belonging to the firm or organization over some time. In the world of accounting, such a decrease is often marked under the income section of the ledger as an expense.
Depreciation generally takes place when a particular asset is widely available.
Inflation refers to the increase in the asset of an organization or a firm over some time. It is something that generally takes place when a particular asset is not available as freely as it was.
14. Fixed asset
Fixed assets refer to assets that are retained by an organization or a firm for a long period. Often these fixed assets can experience depreciation over some time.
15. General ledger
A general ledger refers to the generalized representation and entry of a company’s financial accounts and related transactions entered into sub-ledger-based accounts as per the notations in the organization or firm’s chart of accounts.
Insolvency essentially refers to the situation wherein an organization or a firm in question is no longer in a position where it can pay out its debts.
Notably, there are two main types of insolvency in the world of financial accounting: balance sheet-based insolvency and cash flow-based insolvency. While the former can end in bankruptcy, the latter can still be solved with a negotiation.
Liabilities refer to the debts that an organization or a firm has to pay to resolve them. Examples of types of liabilities can involve employee payroll, loans, payable accounts, etc.
Reconciliation refers to the current or present financial value of an asset owned by an organization or a firm.
In simple terms, reconciliation compares the ability of an organization or a firm to buy or purchase assets in the future with that of the present.
This comparison is to predict certain cash flow trends and plan better for the future.
19. Cash basis accounting
Cash basis accounting refers to the accounting that is carried out solely based on cash-related transactions, such as the income and expenses of an organization or a firm. This is why, they do not require receivable or payable accounts.
Budgeting refers to the entire set of income and expenses, including the accounts payable, for a given financial year or period that an organization or a firm makes to set a cap or provide an idea of how the period for which the budget has been created is going to look financially.
Now, in the world of financial accounting, there are three main categories into which the above accounting terminology can be grouped into:
|Fixed Asset||Bank Statement|
|Certified Public Accountant|
Being aware of the 20 most important accounting terms that are popular across the financial sector and what they stand for will help every aspiring accountant in doing their job better.
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