They are the functional opposite of debits and are positioned to the right side in accounting documents. Therefore, accounting principles play a crucial role in ensuring that accounting practices are uniform, scientific, and easily adaptable. Every accountant would practice accounting on their own terms and conditions, making it impossible for people attached to the company’s affairs to understand them.

“The term accounting concepts refer to basic rules, assumptions, and principles which act as a primary  standard for recording business transactions and maintaining books of accounts”. Net profit describes the amount of money left over after subtracting the cost of taxes and goods sold from the total value of all products or services sold during a given accounting period. The related term «net margin» refers to describing accounts receivable and bad debts expense net profit as a ratio of a company’s total revenues. Gross profit simply describes the total value of sales in a given accounting period without adjusting for their costs. The informal phrase «closing the books» describes an accountant’s finalization and approval of the bookkeeping data covering a particular accounting period. When an accountant «closes the books,» they endorse the relevant financial records.

For example, if you are making a credit sale on 27th March, and receiving the cash on 15th April, the revenue will be accounted as on 27th March, though the cash is received on 15th April. Accounting period concepts state that all the transactions recorded in the books of account should be based on the assumption that profit on these transactions is to be ascertained for a specific period. Hence this concept says that the balance sheet and profit and loss account of a business should be prepared at regular intervals. This is important for different purposes like calculation of profit and loss, tax calculation, ascertaining financial position, etc.

Accounting principles set the rules for reporting financial information, so all companies can be compared uniformly. It ensures that common practices and conventions are followed, and that the common rules and procedures are complied with. This observance of accounting principles has helped developed a widely understood grammar and vocabulary for recording financial statements. GAAP is a set of procedures and guidelines used by companies to prepare their financial statements and other accounting disclosures. The standards are prepared by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which is an independent non-profit organization.

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) estimates that about half of the states officially require local and county governments to adhere to GAAP. My Accounting Course  is a world-class educational resource developed by experts to simplify accounting, finance, & investment analysis topics, so students and professionals can learn and propel their careers. They have the option of getting a (paid) certificate if you want to highlight your new qualification on your resume. Conservatism is the convention by which, when two values of a transaction are available, the lower-value transaction is recorded. By this convention, profit should never be overestimated, and there should always be a provision for losses.

The accounting period concept

For example, revenue should be reported in its relevant accounting period. In order to record a transaction, we need a system of monetary measurement, or a monetary unit by which to value the transaction. Without a dollar amount, it would be impossible to record information in the financial records. It also would leave stakeholders unable to make financial decisions, because there is no comparability measurement between companies. This concept ignores any change in the purchasing power of the dollar due to inflation. In order to record a transaction, we need a system of monetary measurement, or a monetary unit by which to value the transaction.

  • However, the difference between the two figures in this case would be a debit balance of $2,000, which is an abnormal balance.
  • Therefore, employee satisfaction cannot be recorded in the accounting records.
  • The standards are prepared by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), which is an independent non-profit organization.
  • The consistency of GAAP compliance also allows companies to more easily evaluate strategic business options.
  • The time period assumption states that a company can present useful information in shorter time periods, such as years, quarters, or months.
  • The procedural part of accounting—recording transactions right through to creating financial statements—is a universal process.

This means that estimates need to be made when preparing financial statements. Prudence requires that, whenever such uncertainty exists, preparers of financial statements take a careful approach to the figures and information that they include in the financial statements. Privately held companies and nonprofit organizations also may be required by lenders or investors to file GAAP-compliant financial statements.

Best Practices for Career Growth & Professional Development

This straightforward example allows a key point about double entry to be made. While both parties will record the transaction, that is not what is meant by double entry. It is important to remember that when preparing accounting entries, we are only dealing with a single entity – either Andrea or Brian. ‘Duality’ refers to the fact that every transaction has a ‘dual aspect’ and therefore requires the use of ‘double entry’ accounting. For this reason, candidates would be wise to complete as many practice questions as possible before taking the exam.

Accounting equation

GAAP is not the international accounting standard, which is a developing challenge as businesses become more globalized. The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is the most common set of principles outside the United States. IFRS is used in the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan, India, and Singapore. Due to the thorough standards-setting process of the GAAP policy boards, it can take months or even years to finalize a new standard.

Expense Recognition (Matching) Principle

Federal endorsement of GAAP began with legislation like the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, laws enforced by the U.S. Today, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), an independent authority, continually monitors and updates GAAP. Without regulatory standards, companies would be free to present financial information in whichever format best suits their needs.

However, the core concepts remain the foundation of accounting and provide guidance on how to record and report financial transactions, as well as how to prepare financial statements that are accurate and informative. According to the Objective Evidence concept, every financial entry should be supported by some objective evidence. Purchase should be supported by purchase bills, sale with sale bills, cash payment of expenditure with cash memos, and payment to creditors with cash receipts and bank statements. Similarly, stock should be checked by physical verification and the value of it should be verified with purchase bills. In the absence of these, the accounting result will not be trustworthy, chances of manipulation in accounting records will be high, and no one will be able to rely on such financial statements.

How does IFRS differ from GAAP?

For example, if the company issues shares of common stock, your software would credit that amount to the owner’s equity account. As the formula indicates, assets go on the left side of the equation and are debited. For example, if you receive cash, your accounting software would debit your cash account behind the scenes. Business accounting software makes it easy to record every small transaction, since most products automatically sync with your business checking accounts and business credit cards. However, the FASB and the IASB continue to work together to issue similar regulations on certain topics as accounting issues arise.

Consideration should be given to the fact that excessive detail may not actually improve presentation and therefore not assist users of financial statements. For example, important information could be obscured by including it among large amounts of insignificant detail. Businesses should record any financial transactions that could materially affect business decisions. Even if this results in minor transactions being recorded, the idea is that it’s better to give a comprehensive look at the business — this is especially important in the event of an audit.

Hence, once revenue is realized, the next step is to assign the relevant accounting period. For example,  if you pay a commission to a salesperson for the sale that you record in March. The money measurement concept assumes that the business transactions are made in terms of money i.e. in the currency of a country. Hence, as per the money measurement concept, transactions that can be expressed in terms of money should be recorded in books of accounts.