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HISTORY OF ACCOUNTING
Accounting has been called ‘the language of business’. Perhaps a better term is the ‘language of financial decisions’. The better you understand the language. The better you can manage the financial aspects of living.
Accounting has a long history. Some scholars claim that writing arose in order to record accounting information. Account records date back to the ancient civilisations of China, Babylonia, Greece, and Egypt. The rulers of these civilisations used accounting to keep track of the cost of labour and materials used in building structures like the great pyramids.
Accounting developed further as a result of the information needs of merchants in the city-states of Italy during the 1400s. In that commercial climate the monk Luca Pacioli, a mathematician and friend of Leonardo da Vinci, published the first known description of double-entry bookkeeping in 1494.
The double-entry accounting system -- in which for every ‘debet dare’ there is a ‘debet habere’ – has evolved to the point where it is very much like the present day system. Debet dare and debet habere are Latin terms meaning ‘should give’ and ‘should have’ respectively.
The pace of accounting development increased during the Industrial Revolution as the economies of developed countries began to mass-produce goods. Until that time, merchandise had been priced based on managers' hunches about cost, but increased competition required merchants to adopt more sophisticated accounting systems.
In the nineteenth century, the growth of corporations, especially those in the railroad and steel industries, spurred the development of accounting. Corporation owners—the stockholders—were no longer necessarily the managers of their business. Managers had to create accounting systems to report to the owners how well their businesses were doing.
The role of government has led to still more accounting developments. When the federal government started the income tax, accounting supplied the concept of "income." Also, government at all levels has assumed expanded roles in health, education, labour, and economic planning. To ensure that the information that it uses to make decisions is reliable, the government has required strict accountability and compliance with standards in the business community.
Accounting standards may be defined as «... uniform rules for external financial reporting applicable either to all or to a certain class of entity». Accounting standards may be viewed as a method of resolving potential conflicts of interests between the various user groups which have access to company accounts. The various groups have different objectives, information needs, and capacities for the generation and interpretation of information and, therefore conflicts may arise between groups outside the entity. It is a role of accounting standards to attempt to reconcile the conflicts. A number of important issues for the accounting profession should be mentioned here. These issues are as follows:
- Reliability. Accounting information should be reliable in use.
- Uniformity. The pressure for the standardization of accounting practices is to ensure a uniformity of treatment of data and hence an identity of the meaning of information.
- Comparability. Reliability and uniformity are integrated in the notion of comparability.
- Judgment. Accountants say that they should be allowed to exercise some judgment in interpreting data. This implies that some variety should be allowed for in the procedures available for transforming data into information.
Accounting practice and financial reporting regulation have shown great variety internationally. In recent years there has been growing interest in the harmonization of international accounting. Factors which have stimulated the movement towards harmonization have included the increasing internationalization of business, the importance of multinational companies in the world economy, and the development of international capital markets. In 1973 the International Accounting Standards Committee (IASC) was established in an attempt to coordinate the development of accounting standards internationally.
T E X T 2
WHAT IS ACCOUNTING?
The study of accounting begins with the understanding of the way in which accountants see the business enterprise. Accountants frequently refer to a business organization as an accounting entity or a business entity. A business entity is any business organization such as a hardware store or grocery store that exists as an economic unit. As an economic unit, the business enterprise acquires, organizes and transforms factors of production in its activity of producing goods and services. This activity may be presented as the following.
the input factors are combined an output flow of
(land, buildings, equipment, ------ and transferred ------- goods and services
material, labour) into
The accounting interpretation is an abstraction of the reality portrayed above. The business enterprise is viewed as a system of monetary flow, instead of a system of physical flows. In accounting, business activities are associated with transactions and, indeed, are limited to transactions. Thus, unless there is a transaction there is no observable business activity.
A transaction occurs whenever the firm enters into a legal contract for the acquisition of means of production or the sale of goods and services. Business activities which do not lead to transactions remain unrecognized in accounting. Transactions involving the acquisition of factors of production lead either to an outflow of money immediately or an obligation to pay money at a later date. Transactions by which the firm sells goods or services lead to an inflow of money or the right to receive money at a future date. The accounting interpretation of business activities leads to further analysis of these transactions.
First, transactions between the firm and its markets – both its supply markets and its selling markets – are defined as «external transactions». The totality of «external transactions» forms the subject matter of financial accounting. General purpose of financial statements (reports) is to provide most of the information needed by external users of financial accounting. These financial statements are formal reports providing information on a business entity’s financial position (solvency), cash inflows and outflows, and the results of operations (profitability). Financial accounting information is historical in nature, reporting on what has happened in the past. Hence, the external users rely on relevant and reliable financial statements to make present decisions about future events.
Second, transactions within the firm, consisting of the exchanges which occur between the various departments are defined as «internal transactions». The totality of «internal transactions» forms the subject matter of cost or management or managerial accounting. Managerial accounting information provides special information for the managers of a business entity. The kind of information used by managers may range from very broad, long-range planning data to detailed explanation of why actual costs varied from costs estimates. The purpose of managerial accounting is the generate information that a manager can use to make sound internal decisions.
1. What does the study of accounting begin?
2. In what way may the activity of an organization be presented?
3. What is business activity associated with in accounting?
4. When does a transaction occur?
5. What business activities are recognized in accounting?
6. How can transactions be classified?
7. What is financial accounting?
8. What is managerial accounting?
T E X T 3
Read the following text. How many parts does it consist of ? Give the title to the text and to its parts. Define the key-sentence of each paragraph.
Accounting is shaped by the environment in which it operates. Just as nations have different histories, values, and political systems, they also have different patterns of financial accounting development. In a number of countries accounting information is directed primarily toward the needs of investors and creditors, and «decision usefulness» is the overriding criterion for judging its quality. Financial accounting in the US and Great Britain has had such an orientation for many years. Moreover, these countries have large and developed stock exchanges and bond markets. As a result, a great deal of information is disclosed in companies’ financial reports; and determining profitability is an objective of financial accounting. However, in other countries, financial accounting has a different focus and performs other roles. For example, in some countries, financial accounting is designed primarily to ensure that the proper amount of income tax is collected by the national government. This is the case in most South American countries. In other countries, financial accounting is designed to help accomplish macroeconomic policies, such as achieving a predetermined rate of growth in the nation’s economy. Whether income tax and economic policy information is also useful to individual investors and creditors is somewhat beside the point. In such countries as Switzerland, Germany, and Japan the environment is characterized by a few, very large banks that satisfy most of the capital needs of business. Ownership also tends to be concentrated. The information needs are satisfied in a relatively straightforward way – through personal contacts and direct visits. Not surprisingly, the financial reports tend not to contain as much information as US companies’ reports. And since banks are the primary source of capital, financial accounting is oriented toward creditor protection. France and Sweden offer still another orientation of financial accounting. National government plays a strong role in managing the country’s resources. Governments also actively ensure that businesses have adequate capital and will lend or even invest in companies if necessary. Financial accounting is oriented toward decision making by government planners.
T E X T 4
Äàòà äîáàâëåíèÿ: 2015-09-13; ïðîñìîòðîâ: 19; Íàðóøåíèå àâòîðñêèõ ïðàâ