Tom Carlson’s Blog Post
Everyone involved in accounting has heard these terms a million times but for those who are just learning the basics or are brushing up on old knowledge I have laid out some of the basic terms involved in the industry. All of the definitions below are directly quoted from the GAAP. Please feel free to let me know if there are other terms you would like me to define. Enjoy!
1. Economic Entity Assumption:
The accountant keeps all of the business transactions of a sole proprietorship separate from the business owner’s personal transactions.
For legal purposes, a sole proprietorship and its owner are considered to be one entity, but for accounting purposes they are considered to be two separate entities.
2. Monetary Unit Assumption:
Economic activity is measured in U.S.$, and only transactions that can be expressed in U.S. dollars are recorded.
Due to this of this basic accounting principle, it is assumed that the dollar’s purchasing power has not changed over time. Accountants thus ignore the effect of inflation on recorded amounts.
3. Time Period Assumption:
Time Period Assumption assumes that its possible to report the complex and ongoing activities of a business in relatively short, distinct time intervals. The shorter the time interval, the more likely the need for the accountant to estimate amounts relevant to that period.
It is very important that the time interval is shown in the heading of each income statement, statement of stockholders’ equity, and statement of cash flows.
4. Cost Principle:
For an accountant, the term “cost” refers to the amount spent when an item was originally obtained, whether that purchase happened last year or 20 years ago. For this reason, the amounts that appear on financial statements are referred to as historical cost amounts.
Because of this accounting principle asset amounts are not adjusted upward for inflation. Asset amounts are not adjusted to reflect any type of increase in value. An asset amount does not reflect the amount of money a company would receive if it were to sell the asset at today’s market value. If you want to know the current value of a company’s long-term assets, you will not get this information from a company’s financial statements. You may need to contact a third-party appraiser.
5. Full Disclosure Principle:
If certain information is important to an investor or lender using the financial statements, that information should be disclosed within the statement or in the notes to the statement. This is due to the basic accounting principle that numerous pages of “footnotes” are regularly attached to financial statements.
A company will generally list its significant accounting policies as the first note to its financial statements.
6. Going Concern Principle:
The Going Concern Principle assumes that a company will continue to exist long enough to carry out its objectives and commitments and will not liquidate in the foreseeable future. If for whatever reason the company’s financial situation is such that the accountant believes the company will not be able to carry out its objectives and commitments, the accountant is required to disclose this assessment.
7. Matching Principle:
This accounting principle requires companies to use the accrual basis of accounting. The matching principle requires that expenses be matched with revenues. Wages to employees are reported as an expense in the week when the employees worked and not in the week when the employees are paid. The expense is occurring as the sales are occurring.
Because there is no way to measure the future economic benefit of advertisements for instance, the accountant charges the ad amount to expense in the period that the ad is run.
from Tom Carlson http://ift.tt/1wrbryr