On the basis of the above definitions, procedure of accounting can be basically divided into two parts:
(i) Generating financial information and
(ii) Using the financial information.
Generating Financial Information
1. Recording –
- This is the basic function of accounting.
- All business transactions of a financial character, as evidenced by some documents such as sales bill, pass book, salary slip etc. are recorded in the books of account.
- Recording is done in a book called “Journal.”
- This book may further be divided into several subsidiary books according to the nature and size of the business.
2. Classifying –
- Classification is concerned with the systematic analysis of the recorded data, with a view to group transactions or entries of one nature at one place so as to put information in compact and usable form.
- The book containing classified information is called “Ledger”.
- This book contains on different pages, individual account heads under which, all financial transactions of similar nature are collected.
- For example, there may be separate account heads for Salaries, Rent, Printing and Stationeries, Advertisement etc.
- All expenses under these heads, after being recorded in the Journal, will be classified under separate heads in the Ledger. This will help in finding out the total expenditure incurred under each of the above heads.
3. Summarising –
- It is concerned with the preparation and presentation of the classified data in a manner useful to the internal as well as the external users of financial statements.
- This process leads to the preparation of the following financial statements:(a) Trial Balance (b) Profit and Loss Account (c) Balance Sheet (d) Cash-flow Statement.
4. Analysing –
- The term ‘Analysis’ means methodical classification of the data given in the financial statements.
- The figures given in the financial statements will not help anyone unless they are in a simplified form.
- For example, all items relating to fixed assets are put at one place while all items relating to current assets are put at another place.
- It is concerned with the establishment of relationship between the items of the Profit and Loss Account and Balance Sheet i.e. it provides the basis for interpretation.
5. Interpreting –
- This is the final function of accounting.
- It is concerned with explaining the meaning and significance of the relationship as established by the analysis of accounting data.
- The recorded financial data is analysed and interpreted in a manner that will enable the end-users to make a meaningful judgement about the financial condition and profitability of the business operations.
- The financial statement should explain not only what had happened but also why it happened and what is likely to happen under specified conditions.
6. Communicating –
- It is concerned with the transmission of summarised, analysed and interpreted information to the end-users to enable them to make rational decisions.
- This is done through preparation and distribution of accounting reports, which include besides the usual profit and loss account and the balance sheet, additional information in the form of accounting ratios, graphs, diagrams, fund flow statements etc.
The first two procedural stages of the process of generating financial information along with the preparation of trial balance are covered under book-keeping while the preparation of financial statements and its analysis, interpretation and also its communication to the various users are considered as accounting stages.
Using the Financial Information
- There are certain users of accounts.
- Besides the owner or the management of the business enterprise, users of accounts include the investors, employees, lenders, suppliers, customers, government and other agencies and the public at large.
- Accounting provides the art of presenting information systematically to the users of accounts.
- Accounting data is more useful if it stresses economic substance rather than technical form.
- Information is useless and meaningless unless it is relevant and material to a user’s decision.
- The information should also be free of any biases.
- The users should understand not only the financial results depicted by the accounting figures, but also should be able to assess its reliability and compare it with information about alternative opportunities and the past experience.
- The owners or the management of the enterprise, commonly known as internal users, use the accounting information in an analytical manner to take the valuable decisions for the business.
- So the information served to them is presented in a manner different to the information presented to the external users.
- Even the small details which can affect the internal working of the business are given in the management report while financial statements presented to the external users contains key information regarding assets, liabilities and capital which are summarised in a logical manner that helps them in their respective decision-making.
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