Accounting 101 for Beginners: Basic Terminology & Definitions


These general rules were established so that it is easier to compare ‘apples to apples’ when looking at a business’s financial reports. Depreciation is the term that accounts for the loss of value in an asset over time. Generally, an asset has to have substantial value in order to warrant depreciating it. Depreciation appears on the Income Statement as an expense and is often categorized as a “Non-Cash Expense” since it doesn’t have a direct impact on a company’s cash position. Online, open source and free software for small businesses.Track your income and expenses with ease. This is to help them comply with these standard accounting principles.

What are the 5 types of accounts?

The 5 primary account categories are assets, liabilities, equity, expenses, and income (revenue)

It also feeds into financial accounting since costing data is often required when compiling a balance sheet. One part of accounting focuses on presenting the financial information in the form of general-purpose financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, etc.) that are distributed to people outside of the company. These external reports must be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles often referred to as GAAP or US GAAP. Many organizations make use of and provide support for trainee accountants as they work to achieve chartered status. You’ll typically spend your time preparing and auditing accounts, collecting raw data, analyzing receipts and payments, curating details of creditors and debtors, and monitoring and forecasting bank balances. You may need to liaise with investors, deal with phone queries, process accounting records and even set up new investments.

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Then you can put in place processes—like harder payment deadlines or better follow-up with clients—to make sure you get your hands on the money you’ve earned when you need it. Up-to-date financial statements are essential if you want to fund your small business with a loan. Tax accounting is designed to make sure that you don’t pay more income tax than you are legally required to by the IRS. An example of this is when your accountant provides you with recommendations for how to get the most out of your tax return. Accounting software can help you generate financial statements easily, or you can have a bookkeeper do it for you. Chief Financial OfficerThe chief financial officer (CFO) is the top-ranked person regarding a company’s finances, so they oversee finances for the entire organization and help other executives make decisions.

  • When you start a business, you’ve suddenly got all kinds of new responsibilities.
  • In accounting, you’ll come across certain titles which appear to bear similar duties but actually have unique job descriptions.
  • Then the player appears in the meadow again, but it’s entirely on fire, and the tree person angrily orders the player to keep a talking bomb (Arin Hanson) away from the blaze.
  • Accounting professionals like CPAs or tax advisors can also provide you with knowledge and insight that are simply inaccessible to non-accountants.
  • Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) describe a standard set of accounting practices.

Plus Datarails announces FP&A Genius, touted as “ChatGPT for the CFO’s office;” and other Bookminders: Outsourced Accounting and Bookkeeping Services technology news and updates. With the ever-evolving state of technology, the leading resellers and implementers of accounting tech are more in demand than ever. This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post.

What Are the Responsibilities of an Accountant?

The primary output of the financial accounting system is the annual financial statement. The three most common components of a financial statement are the balance sheet, the income statement, and the statement of cash flows. In some jurisdictions, summary financial statements are available (or may be required) on a quarterly basis.

Is accounting a math?

Accounting isn't hard-core math. It's basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Possibly some light, entry-level algebra, but that's it. You don't have to understand calculus.

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