Accounting 101: The Basics

Before we get into accounting, I just want to talk about book-keeping. Unless you do both, an accountant cannot do his job without a book-keeper. The book-keeper is the one to record business transactions and then organize the transactions. After the book-keeper has finished, the account can get to work.

What does the accountant do?
When you receive, the organized the transactions the account will go through a process of analysing, interpreting, reviewing and then writing a report. The result will be a financial report for the company.

Debits and credits
Debits and credits will be a common concept you will see and use when preparing reports. The rule of thumb is: A decrease in assets and an increase in liabilities end in debit. And an increase in assets and a decrease in liabilities ends in credit.

Revenue is any income a company makes from the sale of goods or services or assets, liabilities, and equity used. The revenue is calculated before any expenses are deducted. It will be what you see first on a statement then later on in the statement; any expenses are deducted to come to the net revenue.

Expenses are seen as money spent in an effort to generate revenue. In layman’s terms, it shows the cost of “doing business.” Now all expenses are cost and will be added to the cost sheet, but the costs won’t be included in expenses.

Costs are seen as a cost that has to be paid to get something. These will include expenses, materials, time and consumables, a risk that have come up and opportunities lost in production and delivery.

Balance sheets
A balance sheet has an equation to work from. Assets= Liability+assets. The balance sheet is one of the major financial statements. The balance sheet shows what the financial position of the company is in by a set date. It shows their positions for a moment in time. So if a creditor views it, they will be able to see what the company owns and what their financial situation is. The balance sheet will have to be up to date to show someone like a creditor to make a decision.

Income statement
An income statement is a report created over a specific period of time to shows a company’s financial performance over that time period. The financial performance is calculated by looking at how the company gains its revenues and expenses. It will show how much the company’s net profit or loss that has been incurred over that period of time.

Cash flow statement
A cash flow statement is used to summarise a company’s financial transactions over a period of time. The statement only shows the flow of money going out of the company and money flowing into the company, whether it’s through cash or cash equivalent. It’s based on three company financial activities: Operative activities, investing activities and financing activities. The cash flow statement can provide information on whether or not a company can sell its product without affecting its product pricing and the company’s ability to expand and gain more net profit. They are also an excellent source for evaluating changes in future assets, liabilities, and equity.

Assets, liabilities and equity

Asset accounts first start with the company’s cash account and the securities account. Then the company’s inventory and fixed assets such as land and equipment will be taken into consideration. If the company were to get into major debt and had no money to pay them, their assets would be seized to cover the debt.

Liabilities are recorded in current liabilities and long-term liabilities. A liability is a payable account. Liabilities are separated into accounts payable and accruals. Accounts payable are what the company owe to suppliers and credit companies. Accruals will be made up of taxes owed, wages owed and anything that is a major necessity.

Equity accounts include all the claims the owner has against the company. This will also include shares that other people hold that the owner has no control over. If the owner decides to make other investments, these will be considered in the report as well.


For more information, visit: Chartered Accountant Cardiff.

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