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Accounting frequently offers the qualified person an opportunity to move ahead quickly in today's business world. Indeed, many of the heads of large corporations throughout the world have advanced to their positions from the accounting department. In industry, management, government, and business, accountants generally are near the top rather than near the bottom of the organization chart. Management relies on the expert knowledge and experience of accountants to cope with the increasingly complex problems of taxes and cash flow.
Accounting is a basic and vital element in every modern business. It records the past growth or decline of the business. Careful analysis of these results and trends may suggest the ways in which the business may grow in the future. Expansion or reorganization should not be planned without the proper analysis of the accounting information; and new products and the campaigns to advertise and sell them should not be launched without the help of accounting expertise.
Government officials often have a legal background*; similarly, the men and women in management often have a background in accounting. They are usually familiar with the methodology of finance and the fundamentals of fiscal and business administration.
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Today, a sharp distinction is made between the relatively unchanged work performed by a bookkeeper and the more sophisticated duties of the accountant. The bookkeeper performs the routine work of recording figures in the books, whereas the duties of an accountant extend far beyond* the actual making of records. Accounting is concerned with the use to which these records are put, their analysis and interpretation. An accountant should be studying the various alternatives open to the business, and be using his accounting experience in order to aid the management to select the best plan of action for the business.
Accounting is often said to be the language of business. It is used in the world to describe the transactions entered into* by all kinds of organizations. Accounting terms and ideas are therefore used by people associated with business, whether they are managers, owners, investors, bankers, lawyers, or accountants.
The owners and managers of a business will need some accounting knowledge in order that they may understand what the accountant is telling them, Investors and others will need accounting knowledge in order that they may read and understand the financial statements issued by the business, and adjust their relationships with* the business accordingly.
Probably there are two main questions that the managers or owners of a business want to know: first, whether or not the business is operating at a profit; second, they will want to know whether or not the business will be able to meet its commitments as they fall due*, and so not have to close down owing to lack of funds. Both of these questions should be answered by the use of the accounting data of the firm.
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The field of accounting is divided into three broad divisions: management, public and governmental accounting.
An accountant who is employed by a business is said to be in management accounting. Managerial (management) accountants work with the kinds of financial reports necessary to management for the efficient operation of the company. As companies grow, they are working under a chief accounting officer called a controller (or comptroller as he or she is often called), or financial vice-president. Other positions that may be held by accountants at lower managerial levels are assistant controller, internal auditor, system analyst, financial accountant, and cost accountant. Those who work for manufacturing concerns are sometimes called industrial accountants.
Internal auditorsare in charge of the protection of the firm's assets. The internal auditor sees that* current transactions are recorded promptly and completely. He or she also identifies inefficient procedures or detects fraudulent transactions.
The field of public accounting offers services in auditing, taxes, and management consulting to the public for a fee. A certified public accountant or CPA.as the term is usually abbreviated, must pass a series of examinations, after which he or she receives a certificate. The most important and distinctive function of a certified public accountant is auditing, which is the examination and testing of financial statements. Society relies heavily on the auditing function for credible financial reports.
As the tax laws have grown increasingly complex, not only corporations but also individuals need to have their tax liability calculated. So, public accountants assist businesses and individuals in preparing tax returns* and complying with* tax laws.
A growing and important part of most public accounting firms’ practice is management advisory services, or consulting. With their intimate knowledge* of business’s operations, auditors can make important suggestions for improvements in the last few years. These recommendations have expanded into marketing, organizational planning, personnel and recruiting, production systems, and many other business areas.
Many accountants work in government offices or for nonprofit organizations either regularly or on a part-time basis. These two areas are often joined together under the term «governmental and institutional accounting».
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