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accounting functions

The historical function of accounting classifies financial data into income, expense, assets, and liabilities. We have discussed that accounting is the art of recording, measuring, summarizing, classifying, and presenting the financial data and information of the company in financial statements and analysis. The primary functions of accounting also revolve around the definition of accounting. Your accounting department should master and perform seven crucial functions.

accounting functions

In fact, a recent survey found that bookkeepers and accountants spend roughly 86 percent of their time on tasks that have the potential to be automated. However, there are other career options worth considering beyond a Certified Public Accountant. The industry is filled with a wide range of in-demand finance and accounting careers. So whatever type of accounting path you choose, there’s incredible job growth opportunities for accountants. Collecting and analyzing financial data is a large part of accounting and is an important aspect of identifying patterns and potential issues.

The information deducted from the financial statements is necessary for the stakeholders to make important decisions regarding carrying out business with the entity. The role of accounting department in a company is to implement and master the accounting functions mentioned above. For discharging his responsibilities, he keeps accurate accounts of all financial transactions of his business, and these are regarded as stewardship functions of accounting. With financial accounting, the emphasis is on looking at past data with the objective of determining an organization’s value as a whole. Shareholders and investors will use the information to decide if a public company is undervalued and worth investing in or overvalued and should be avoided.

Accounts Receivable (AR)

The results of all financial transactions that occur during an accounting period are summarized in the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. The financial statements of most companies are audited annually by an external CPA firm. Financial accounting is generally related to the historical functions of accounting. It involves recording, summarizing, and reporting a business entity’s financial transactions during the financial period. Preparation and communication of the financial statements also come under financial accounting.

The AP and AR automation software helps businesses manage invoices and communications between the vendor and the company. Therefore, financial statements need to be prepared with utmost honesty and accuracy. A careful analysis of these statements gives them an insight into the company’s operations and how well it is doing in the foreseeable future. The company is not the only party supposed to examine the financial statements and reports. For a layperson, an accounting department only does the work related to numbers and data entries. But in reality, the accounting team needs to fulfill a broad scope of responsibilities daily.

  • Manual methods of financial accounting cannot provide the accuracy and consistency required in handling sensitive financial data.
  • An accountant using the double-entry method records a debit to accounts receivables, which flows through to the balance sheet, and a credit to sales revenue, which flows through to the income statement.
  • We handle all of these basic financial functions and more from our offices in Florida and Wyoming.
  • With these emerging technologies, labor-intensive tasks like tax preparation, payroll, and audits can be automated to reduce the amount of time and resources needed to move forward.

Additionally, accountants have a legal obligation to act honestly and avoid negligence in their practices. As such, they are also responsible for ensuring that their clients’ financial records are compliant with the relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, a certified public accountant (CPA) is an accountant who has passed the CPA exam and has met state licensing requirements.

Additionally, although the accounting department would ideally want to lower inventory costs, it would need to ensure it’s not at the expense of the product quality. The department must also aim to find a middle ground between satisfying the customer and increasing the business profit margins. Payment of government taxes on behalf of the company is another function performed by the accounting department. Some of the taxes include FICA, unemployment, social security taxes, federal and state withholding, and workers’ compensation. Many people confuse the roles of the accounting department and finance department with being the same.


The first, the accrual basis method of accounting, has been discussed above. These rules are outlined by GAAP and IFRS, are required by public companies, and are mainly used by larger companies. Some accounting software is considered better for small businesses such as QuickBooks, Quicken, FreshBooks, Xero, SlickPie, or Sage 50.

accounting functions

The scope of accounting in any business entity also covers the preparation of the financial statements. Any business entity has four major financial statements to provide a snapshot of an entity’s financial health, performance, profitability, operations, and cash flow. Accounting plays a crucial role in managing and analyzing the financial as well as non-financial information of a company. Accounting works under the rules and regulations and GAAP and Companies Act, 2013 (applicable only in India). With managerial accounting, smart managers try to predict an organization’s financial future and make sound decisions based upon those expectations. The primary purpose of any accounting function is that of ongoing financial record keeping.

Fundamentals of Financial Analysis

Tax accounts may also lean in on state or county taxes as outlined by the jurisdiction in which the business conducts business. Foreign companies must comply with tax guidance in the countries in which it must file a return. Accountants may be tasked with recording specific transactions or working with specific sets of information. For this reason, there are several broad groups that most accountants can be grouped into. By 1880, the modern profession of accounting was fully formed and recognized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Laws and regulations vary from state to state, but proper accounting systems and processes will help you ensure statutory compliance when it comes to your business. Under them are a team of managers, supervisors, and accountants who specialise in different functions. The difference between these two accounting methods is the treatment of accruals. Accounting history dates back to ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Babylon. For example, during the Roman Empire, the government had detailed records of its finances. However, modern accounting as a profession has only been around since the early 19th century.

Roles and Responsibilities

A brief statement is prepared with the balances of the ledger, which is called a trial balance. As a steward, he is supposed to be responsible for all economic activities of a business concern. Through the accounting system, the activities of employees are checked to prevent errors and fraud.

#7 Legal Compliance and Financial Control

Various functions of accounting are involved in managing the financial resources of the business optimally. The role of accounting in a business is to enable management with financial data that forms the background for future growth strategies. The data provided by the financial accounting function about the company’s assets, liabilities, cash position, and profits help in making data-driven strategic decisions. The functions of financial accounting may be classified as Historical or stewardship functions, and managerial functions. Managerial finance accounting functions include control of financial policy, formation of planning, preparation of the budget, cost control, evaluation of employee performance, and prevention of errors and fraud.

Accountant responsibilities include auditing financial documents and procedures, reconciling bank statements and calculating tax payments and returns. To be successful in this role, you should have previous experience with bookkeeping and a flair for spotting numerical mistakes. Financial accounts have two different sets of rules they can choose to follow.

Budgeting and future projections can make or break a business, and your financial records will play a crucial role when it comes to it. The accounting function will ensure that liabilities such as sales tax, VAT, income tax, and pension funds, to name a few, are appropriately addressed. The payroll team helps calculate the employees’ monetary compensation for their work. This department also ensures that everyone’s earnings are up-to-date and accounts for all factors impacting their pay. The budgeting team ensures that all departments in the company stay within the set financial limits to cover necessary expenses. It is their responsibility to keep the organisation from overspending its resources.

If you are an accountant or aspire to become an accountant, there are certain functions that you MUST know. Modern accountants should develop an analytical mindset in order to keep up with trends in the industry and remain competitive in the workforce. Several other terms are often discussed in conjunction with the phrase “accountant,” which can lead to confusion on what this career actually entails. For example, “accountant” and “bookkeeper” are phrases that are sometimes used interchangeably, yet there are several key differences between these job titles.

Our analysis of industry trend findings also found that unique accounting job postings have experienced substantial growth. From May 2020 to May 2022, the number of unique accounting-related a commercial kitchen job postings per month increased by nearly 20,000. Professionals in this field need to be able to use advanced accounting software and other computer-based tools to work effectively.

This type of accounting records the transactions that are needed for the preparation of the trial balance and final accounts. Not only do you need to record these transactions, but you must also write them down in a systematic manner to ensure consistency. You must enter these transactions using a double-entry bookkeeping system using basic accounting principles.