Finance & Accounting
What is Financial Accounting?
Financial accounting (or financial accountancy) is the field of accounting concerned with the summary, analysis and reporting of financial transactions related to a business. This involves the preparation of financial statements available for public use. Stockholders, suppliers, banks, employees, government agencies, business owners, and other stakeholders are examples of people interested in receiving such information for decision making purposes. It is the process of preparing financial statements that companies’ use to show their financial performance and position to people outside the company, Including investors, creditors, suppliers, and customers. This is one of the most important distinctions from managerial accounting, which by contrast, involves preparing detailed reports and forecasts for managers inside the company.
Objectives of Financial Accounting
Systematic recording of transactions
Basic objective of accounting is to systematically record the financial aspects of business transactions (i.e. book-keeping). These recorded transactions are later on classified and summarized logically for the preparation of financial statements and for their analysis and interpretation.
Ascertainment of result of above recorded transactions
Accountant prepares profit and loss account to know the result of business operations for a particular period of time. If expenses exceed revenue then it is said that the business is running under loss. The profit and loss account helps the management and different stakeholders in taking rational decisions.
Ascertainment of the financial position of business
Businessman is not only interested in knowing the result of the business in terms of profits or loss for a particular period but is also anxious to know that what he owes (liability) to the outsiders and what he owns (assets) on a certain date. To know this, accountant prepares a financial position statement of assets and liabilities.
Providing information to the users for rational decision-making
Accounting as a ‘language of business’ communicates the financial result of an enterprise to various stakeholders by means of financial statements. Accounting aims to meet the financial information needs of the decision-makers and helps them in rational decision-making.
To know the solvency position
By preparing the balance sheet, management not only reveals what is owned and owed by the enterprise, but also it gives the information regarding concern’s ability to meet its liabilities in the short run (liquidity position) and also in the long-run (solvency position) as and when they fall due.
For meeting these objectives, financial accountants mainly prepare three types of documents, as briefly mentioned in the introduction above—the balance sheet, which reflects the assets and liabilities; income statement, which shows the profit and loss; and, cash flow statement, which charts the cash inflow and outflow.
The balance sheet of a company shows its assets, liabilities, and stockholders’ equity as on the last day of the accounts-reporting period. Assets include cash, stocks, buildings, and machinery, while liabilities include loans, interest, and wages. Stockholders’ equity is the difference between the assets and the liabilities.
The income statement (issued quarterly or annually) reports the company’s profitability in a given period. It presents the revenues (sales and service revenues), expenses (operating expenses, such as wages and rent, and non-operating expenses, such as loan interest), gains, and losses.
Cash flow statement
In financial accounting, a cash flow statement, also known as statement of cash flows, is a financial statement that shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect cash and cash equivalents, and breaks the analysis down to operating, investing, and financing activities.