Financial accountancy

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Financial accountancy (or financial accounting) is the field of accountancy concerned with the preparation of financial statements for decision makers, such as stockholders, suppliers, banks, employees, government agencies, owners, and other stakeholders. The fundamental need for financial accounting is to reduce principal-agent problem by measuring and monitoring agents' performance and reporting the results to interested users.

Financial accountancy 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.

In short, Financial Accounting is the process of summarizing financial data taken from an organization's accounting records and publishing in the form of annual (or more frequent) reports for the benefit of people outside the organization.

Financial accountancy is governed by both local and international accounting standards.

Basic accounting concepts

Financial accountants produce financial statements based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles of a respective country.

Financial accounting serves following purposes:

  • producing general purpose financial statements
  • provision of information used by management of a business entity for decision making, planning and performance evaluation
  • for meeting regulatory requirements

Graphic definition

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.

There are certain accounting standards that determine the format for these accounts (SSAP, FRS, IFS). The financial statements will 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 the accounts were prepared to.

Assets, Expenses, and Withdrawals have normal debit balances (when you debit these types of accounts you add to them)...remember the word AWED which represents the first letter of each type of account.

Liabilities, Revenues, and Capital have normal credit balances (when you credit these you add to them).

or

0 = Dr Assets                            Cr Owners' Equity                 Cr Liabilities  
          .       _____________________________/\____________________________       .
          .      /    Cr Retained Earnings (profit)         Cr Common Stock  \      .
          .    _________________/\_______________________________                      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 you do the same thing to an account as its normal balance it increases; when you do the opposite, it will decrease. Much like signs in math: two positive numbers are added and two negative numbers are also added. It is only when you have one positive and one negative (opposites) that you will subtract.


Related qualification

  • There are several related professional qualifications in the field of financial accountancy including:
    • Qualified Accountant qualifications (Chartered Certified Accountant) (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), Chartered Accountant, (Chartered accountant) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
    • CCA Chartered Cost Accountant (cost control) designation offered by the American Academy of Financial Management
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