Accounting is one of the oldest accounting disciplines known to man. The earliest accounting systems were tally sticks, used as far back as 6000 years ago. In today's accounting processes, accounting practices are governed by a series of accounting principles which ensure the veracity and accuracy of accounting records. These accounting principles can be subjected to any kind of scrutiny because they tend to be quantifiable in nature. However, there exist other aspects of accounting that do not lend themselves easily to quantitative analysis. These aspects form what we know today as financial accounting . Financial accounting deals with the preparation, examination and publication of financial statements which include advanced techniques such as valuation methods (e.g., cost, market, or income), depreciation accounting, and accounting for long term assets.
Financial accounting involves a number of concepts which extend far beyond the accounting principles mentioned earlier. One such concept is that of GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) which dictate how accounting information should be recorded and presented. The accounting profession has become increasingly regulated over time and as such there exist professional accounting bodies which define what constitutes good accounting practices and accredit accountants who adhere to these standards .
There exists a distinction between public and private accounting firms with respect to the clients they serve. Public accounting firms are independent auditors who provide services primarily to business enterprises while private accounting firms provide services exclusively to individual clients . In today's world however, we find accounting firms providing services to both types of clients, the line between public accounting and private accounting is thus somewhat blurred.
Accounting software has become more advanced over time with many accounting packages now directly linked to accounting principles rather than simply integrating with accounting principles . This trend allows users of accounting software to automatically generate journal entries which are then subject to accounting examination at various stages in the production process. Furthermore, some accounting software can now be accessed online via cloud-based systems allowing users to access their accounts from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection.
The purpose of this article was not only to introduce the concept of accounting but also to provide a basic foundation for those seeking accounting assignment help. The next part of this series will focus on accounting for assets and liabilities with a view to explaining how accounting principles govern accounting practices in this field.
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