Basics of Accounting


To maintain uniformity in recording transactions and preparing financial statements, accountants should follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Meaning of Accounting Principles:

Accounting principles are the rules of action or conduct adopted by accountants universally while recording accounting transactions. GAAP refers to the rules or guidelines adopted for recording and reporting of business transactions, in order to bring uniformity in the preparation and presentation of financial statements.

Features of accounting principles:

(1). Accounting principles are manmade.

(2) Accounting principles are flexible in nature

(3) Accounting principles are generally accepted. Necessity of accounting principles: Accounting information is meaningful and useful for users if the accounting records and financial statements are prepared following generally accepted accounting information in standard forms which are understood.

Basic accounting concepts

(1) Business entity concepts: This concept assumes that business has a distinct and separate entity from its owners. Therefore business transactions are recorded in the books of accounts from the business point of view and not owners. For example, If owner bring Rs. 1,00,000 as capital in business. It is treated as liability of business to owner. Similarly if owner withdrew Rs. 5,000 from business for personal use, it is treated as reduction of owner‟s capital and consequently reduction in liability of business towards owner.

(2) Money measurement concept: This concept states that transactions and events that can be expressed in money terms are recorded in the books of accounts. Non monetary transactions cannot be recorded in the books like appointment of manager, capabilities of human resources etc. Another aspect is the records of transactions are to be kept not in physical unit but in monetary unit. For example, an organisation has 2 buildings, 15 computers, 20 office tables are not recorded because they are physical unit and not in monetary unit. Limitation of this concept is the value of rupee does not remain same over a period of time. As changes in the value of money is not reflected in books does not reflect fair view of business affairs.

(3) Going concern concept: This concept assumes that business shall continue to carry out its operations indefinitely for a long period of time and would not be liquidated in the foreseeable future. It provides the very basis for showing the value of assets in the balance sheet. An asset may be defined as a bundle of services. For example, a machine purchased for Rs. 2,00,000 and its estimated useful life say 10 years. The cost of machinery is spread on suitable basis over next 10 years for ascertaining the profit or loss for each year. The total cost of the machine is not treated as an expense in the year of purchase itself.

(4) Accounting period concept: Accounting period refers to span of time at the end of which financial statements are prepared to know the profits or loss and financial position of business. Information is required to by different users at regular intervals for decision making. For example, bankers require information periodically because they want to ensure safety and returns of their investments. Similarly management requires information at regular interval to assess the performance and funds requirement. Therefore they are prepared at regular interval, normally a period of one year. This interval of time is called accounting period. 10

(5) Cost concept :According to this concept all assets are recorded in the books of accounts at the purchase price which includes the purchase price, cost of acquisition, transportation and installation. For example, if an asset purchased for Rs. 1,00,000 and spent Rs. 10,000 on its installation. Therefore asset will be recorded in the books of accounts at Rs. 1,10,000. This concept is historical in nature. For example, if machine purchased for Rs. 75,000, the purchase or acquisition price will remain same for all years to come, though its market value may change. The main limitation of this concept is that it does not show the true value of asset and may lead to hidden profits.

(6) Dual aspect concept : This concept provides the very basis for recording the transaction in the books of accounts. It states that every transaction entered in the books has two aspects. For example, Man as started business with cash Rs. 50,000. In this transaction asset (cash) increases and liability (capital of owner) also increases. This principle is also known as duality principle. This principle is commonly expressed in fundamental accounting equation given below. Assets = Liabilities + Capital This equation states that assets of business are always equal to the claims of owners and outsiders.

(7) Revenue recognition concept : ( Realisation concept) According to this principle revenue is considered to have been realised when a transaction has been entered and obligation to receive the amount has been established. In other words when we receive right to receive revenue than it is called revenue is realised. For example, sales made in March, 2010 and receives amount in April, 2010. Revenue of these sales should be recognised in February month, when the goods sold. For example commission for the March, 2010 even if received in April 2010 will be taken into profit and loss A/c of March, 2010. Similarly if rent for the April, 2010 is received in advance in March, 2010 it will be taken the profit and loss A/c of the financial year of March, 2011.

(8) Matching concept : The matching concept states that expense incurred in an accounting period should be matched with revenues during that period. It follows from this that revenue and expenses incurred to earn these revenues must belong to the same accounting period. For example, salary for the month of March, 2010 paid in April, 2010 is recorded in the profit and loss A/c of financial year ending March, 2010 and not in the year when it realized. Similarly we records cost of goods sold and not the goods purchased or produced. So the cost of unsold goods should be deducted from the cost of goods produced or purchased.

(9) Full disclosure concept : Apart from legal requirement good accounting practice require all material and significant information must be disclosed. Financial statements are the basic means of communicating financial information to its users for taking useful financial decisions. This concept states that all material and relevant fact and financial performance must be fully disclosed in financial statement of the business. Company‟s act 1956 has provided a format for making profit and loss A/c and balance sheet, which needs to be compulsorily adhered to for preparation of financial statement. Disclosure of material information results in better understanding. For example, the reasons for low turnover should be disclosed.

(10) Consistency concept :This concept states that accounting practices followed by an enterprise should be uniform and consistent over a period of time. For example if an enterprise has adopted straight line method of charging depreciation then it has to be followed year after year. If we adopt written down value method from second year for charging depreciation than the financial information will not be comparable. Consistency eliminates the personal bias helps in achieving the results that are comparable. However consistency does not prohibits the change accounting policies. Necessary changes can be adopted and should be disclosed.

(11) Conservatism concept (Prudence concept) : This concept takes into consideration all prospective losses but not the prospective profit. It means profit should not be recorded until it realised but all losses, even those which have remote possibility are to be recorded in the books. For example, valuing closing stock at cost or market value whichever is lower, creating provision for doubtful debts etc. This concept ensures that the financial statements provide the real picture of the enterprise.

(12) Materiality concept : This concept states that accounting should focus on material fact. Whether the item is material or not shall depend upon nature and amount involved in it. For example, amount spent of repair of building Rs. 4,00,000 is material for enterprise having the sales turnover of Rs.1,50,000 but not material for enterprise having turnover of Rs. 25,00,000. Similarly closure of one plant material but stock eraser and pencils are not shown at the asset side but treated as expenses of that period, whether consumed or not because the amount involved in it are low.

(13) Objectivity concept : This concept states that accounting should be free from personal bias. This can be possible when every transaction is supported by verifiable documents. For example, purchase of machinery for Rs. 30,000 should be supported by the voucher and should be recorded in the 12 books of accounts. Similarly other supporting documents are cash memo, invoices, receipts provides the basis for accounting and auditing

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