Learn about accounting principles, ratios, and financial analysis

Cost Accounting

The field of accounting is typically divided into two areas, financial accounting and cost (or managerial) accounting. Whereas the purpose of financial accounting is to report the results and position of a business to external parties, cost accounting focuses on internal reporting for the purpose of improving managerial decision making. This means that cost accounting is forward looking, as opposed to the primarily backward-looking financial … Continue reading Cost Accounting »

Creating Financial Statements

A company’s financial statements give investors, managers, and other “users” a complete, honest look at its financial health. Finished financial statements follow a standardized format, letting investors compare different companies in the same industry apples-to-apples. For the company’s financial reporting team, this presents a challenge – every business’s internal operations are different, but all activities need to be summarized into a standardized format. Businesses assign … Continue reading Creating Financial Statements »

The Accounting Cycle

The accounting cycle is a series of steps that businesses take to track transactions and consolidate financial information over a specific accounting period (month, quarter, year). The end result of the accounting cycle is the production of accurate financial statements for that period and preparedness for the next accounting period. We will examine the steps involved in the accounting cycle, which are: (1) identifying transactions, … Continue reading The Accounting Cycle »

Managerial Accounting

Accounting is often defined as the backbone of any corporation or business. Without the numbers explaining the day-to-day operation, it’s tough to tell how well or how poorly said company is doing. In order to simplify accounting as a whole, it is easiest to split it into two separate definitions. On one side, there is financial accounting, which focuses heavily on the numbers and creating … Continue reading Managerial Accounting »

The Love of Money: Audits and Fraud

The love of money… A Case of Fraud at LocatePlus Holdings Corporation   In business, greed comes most frequently not in the pursuit of profit but in the form of financial fraud. Individuals who lack or loosen their ethical restraints often rationalize their behavior as unavoidable or good-intentioned. But, make no mistake, people who commit fraud normally do so in order to enrich themselves even … Continue reading The Love of Money: Audits and Fraud »

Corporate Debt

Do you ever wonder how companies have the money to build new stores, develop new products, or perhaps even buy another company? Usually companies do not keep enough cash for these transactions sitting in their bank account – it needs to be raised from outside investors. There are two main ways a company can fund these endeavors: a bond issuance or a stock issuance. Corporate … Continue reading Corporate Debt »

Issuance of Stocks and Paying Dividends

Big corporations are very powerful entities that can possess more capital than some countries in the world. However, every company begins as a small start-up business. These businesses grow with the injections of capital, both from the founders and from other investors. Going Public At one point, a company’s plans become so big that it needs public financing to support future development, and so they … Continue reading Issuance of Stocks and Paying Dividends »


Understanding financial solvency is as important to an investor as it is to a financial manager. Whether it’s having the money to pay off a friendly wager or having the capital to pay off a commercial loan, being solvent is necessary to achieve long-term success. Solvency is the possession of assets in excess of liabilities, or more simply put, the ability for one to pay … Continue reading Solvency »

Cash Planning

A cash budget is used internally by management to estimate cash inflows (receipts) and outflows (disbursements) of cash during a period and the cash balance at the end of a period. In other words, a cash budget is a plan for an organization to obtain and use resources over a specific period of time. This means an organization must have an idea of where their … Continue reading Cash Planning »

Cash Flow Analysis

Cash flow is a concept in accounting that refers to the spending or receiving of cash by an organization. For a given period, cash flow is calculated by ending cash balance less starting cash balance. It is important not to confuse cash flow with earnings, as cash flow is related to solvency (or how well a business can pay its immediate debts) and not necessarily … Continue reading Cash Flow Analysis »

Operating Ratios

Operating ratios are a class of ratios that are meant to analyze how well a company is using their assets. Specifically, these ratios show how well a company utilizes its assets to create revenue. Like many of the ratios that are used in financial analysis, operating ratios are complex ratios. Some use simple measures in their numerators and denominators, such as COGS (Cost of Goods … Continue reading Operating Ratios »

GAAP – Gains and Losses


Revenue vs Gains Revenue and Gains are related fields related to the income a company receives. The main difference between them is the source of the income. Revenue Revenue represents income earned by the firm through the primary goods and/or services provided. It is the income earned from the firm’s operating activities. For example, Mike’s Computers specializes in selling computers to small businesses. During the … Continue reading GAAP – Gains and Losses »

Accounting Regulation and Ethics


Professional accountants are vital to our economy and society. Accountants ensure the effective use of resources by recommending ways to reduce cost, increase revenue, and mitigate risk. The accountancy profession is only as good as the quality of service provided by its members. The regulatory environment of the accounting industry seeks to ensure the quality and consistency of these services. This means accountants must comply … Continue reading Accounting Regulation and Ethics »

Accounting for Liabilities

Every firm needs capital to purchase assets like inventory, land, and equipment. They also need cash to help manage expenses such as paying employees. How do companies raise the money they need to run their businesses? The answer is through a mix of liabilities (borrowing money) and equity (selling shares of ownership of the company). Liabilities and equity make up the right-hand side of the … Continue reading Accounting for Liabilities »

Basics of Payroll Accounting


Most the taxes paid are through paychecks, so a large part of payroll accounting is properly accounting for all taxes. Most people are familiar with their annual personal tax return, but payroll tax filing works a bit differently. Payroll is run weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or even semi-monthly, so for each pay cycle, taxes need to be calculated and reported. All tax payments need to be … Continue reading Basics of Payroll Accounting »

Revenue and Expense Recognition

One of the first challenges auditors and regulators faced when developing the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) was trying to standardize how companies account for their revenues and expenses. Before GAAP, companies had (more or less) free reign on how and when revenue and expenses were reported, leading to general confusion when trying to compare balance sheets and income statements between companies. Today, all companies … Continue reading Revenue and Expense Recognition »

GAAP – Purpose, Framework, and Terms

What are the objectives of financial statements? How can accountants best meet these objectives? These are the very questions that the Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB) set out to address in 1976 when they began developing the conceptual framework. FASB’s goal was to identify the objectives and concepts that govern the preparation and presentation of financial reporting. In other words, to provide a backbone for … Continue reading GAAP – Purpose, Framework, and Terms »

GAAP – Accounting for Equity


An Introduction to Equity The Basic Accounting Equation says that Assets – Liabilities = Equity Equity (stockholders’ equity, owners’ equity, etc.) is the claim shareholders of a company have on assets once the liabilities have been satisfied. Equity on the Balance Sheet There are five critical entries on a balance sheet related to equity: retained earnings, common stock, preferred stock, treasury stock, and other comprehensive … Continue reading GAAP – Accounting for Equity »

Financial Analysis – A “Check-up” for a Business

Every year or two, most of us go to the doctor’s office to receive a check-up on the state of our physical health. The doctor typically checks several measurements (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.) in order to gauge how our health has progressed over the past year. They can then use their results to determine if there is any immediate threat to our well-being or … Continue reading Financial Analysis – A “Check-up” for a Business »

Balance Sheet

What is a Balance Sheet? The Balance Sheet (or Statement of Financial Position) is one of the four financial statements required by the SEC based on the U.S. GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). According to the SEC, the Statement of Financial Position presents “detailed information about a company’s assets, liabilities and shareholders’ equity.” In other words, this statement is a financial snapshot of the firm … Continue reading Balance Sheet »