Accounting (or Accountancy, Book-keeping) refers to records of the economic activities of entities, which may be legal or natural persons. Accounting is a summary of information of a company´s assets, liabilities, receivables and economy and it provides such information to the management, the shareholders, the owners and other authorities or institutions (state, banks, insurance companies, investors, police, courts). The financial statements are the key outputs of accounting. Accounting provides a basic economic overview of the entity (usually to an enterprise or another organization).
The obligation to keep accounts is determined by state legislation. It usually applies to legal persons, associations and business individuals. Accounting must comply with the legislation of a country, its accounting standards, international law and international accounting standards (IAS/IFRS or GAAP). The common Accounting period is one calendar year or a fiscal year. The basis of accounting is formed by accounting documents.
There are two basic concepts of accounting systems:
Accounting was first described in written form in 1494 in a book by the Italian monk Luca Pacioli.
Depending on its purpose, accounting is further divided into:
Use of accounting in practice: The aim of accounting is primarily to display and analyze the economic activity of an entity in monetary terms. Accounting data is used by management as a guide for its actions and to assess the performance of an entity. Based on data from accounting, forecasts and planning of strategic development may be undertaken. The accountant has the responsibility to keep the accounts, the CFO has the overall responsibility. The outputs of accounting are used as a basis for a company´s tax return.
One of the most widespread certifications in financial and management accounting is the ACCA Qualification.