The Benefits Of An Experienced Accountant

For any business owner, managing expenses and dealing with costs is of great importance. Whether a retail store, restaurant or a firm of solicitors it is only natural to want to ensure that as a business you keep on moving forwards and in order to do so you will want to ensure that you spend far less than you make.

The dream financial situation for any business is to have more money coming in then going out and often in order to achieve this business owners can try to take on too much but this isn’t always a wise move. From employee training to sales and business growth; there are a number of issues to deal with including business finances.

Payroll, tax and bookkeeping, business finance is vast to say the least but as such an important part of your business it requires constant care and attention. For this reason many business owners will choose to hire an accountant.

Whether hiring in-house or outsourcing, the benefits of an accountant are plenty…

Experience and Familiarity- From looking at your business profits and losses to understanding tax and vat return the experience that comes with hiring a professional accountant is truly invaluable. From ensuring your business meets all legal financial obligations to helping you cut costs and control your financial position.
Time- Payroll, invoicing, tax returns and bookkeeping; business finances require a great deal of care and attention. Even the most basic of tasks is incredibly time consuming and you could easily find yourself spending days and days dealing with it all. An accountant however could free up your time, giving you the opportunity to focus on developing your business whilst feeling at ease knowing that everything is in the hands of those who know exactly what to do.
Control- Being able to manage finances is one thing but in the hands of an accountant you can control things with far more efficiency. From monitoring where the most money is being spent to providing suggestions on how you can make savings, the right accountant will provide invaluable support for your business. Whether you are looking to purchase new premises, invest in a new business deal or simply wish to keep your business steady, having professional support behind you can make vital difference.

Classification of Accounts – Hints for Journalizing – Advantages of Journal

Personal Accounts

Accounts recording transactions relating to individuals or firms or company are known as personal accounts. Personal accounts may further be classified as :

(1) Natural person’s personal accounts: The accounts recording transactions relating to individual human beings e.g., Anand’s A/c, Remesh’s A/c, Pankaj’s A/c are classified as natural person’s personal accounts.

(2) Artificial person’s personal account: The accounts recording transactions relating to limited companies. bank, firm, institution, club. etc. e.g. Delhi Cloth Mill; Hans Raj College; Gymkhana Club are classified as artificial persons’ personal accounts.

(3) Representative personal accounts: The accounts recording transactions relating to the expenses and incomes are classified as nominal accounts. But in certain cases due to the matching concept of accounting the amount, on a particular date, is payable to the individuals or recoverable from individuals.

Such amount (a) relates to the particular head of expenditure or income and (b) represents persons to whom itis payable or from whom it is recoverable. Such accounts are classified as representative personal accounts e.g. “Wages Outstanding Account”, Pre-paid Insurance Account. etc.

Real Accounts

The accounts recording transactions relating to tangible things (which can be touched, purchased and sold) such as goods, cash, building. machinery etc., are classified as tangible real accounts.

Whereas the accounts recording transactions relating to. intangible things (which do not have physical shape) such as goodwill, patents and copy rights. trade marks etc., are classified as intangible real accounts.

Nominal Accounts

The accounts recording transactions relating to the losses, gains. expenses and incomes e.g., Rent, salaries, wages, commission, interest, bad debts etc. are classified as nominal accounts. As already discussed, wherever a nominal account represents the amount payable to or receivable from certain persons it is known as representative personal account.

Rules of Debit and Credit (classification based)

1. Personal Accounts: Debit the receiver, Credit the giver (supplier)

2. Real Accounts: Debit what comes in, Credit what goes out

3. Nominal Accounts: Debit expenses and losses, Credit incomes and gains.,

Hints for Journalizing

The following discussion will help in diagnosing the transaction with a view to find out which accounts are relevant for passing the journal entry.

1. Treatment of cash/credit transaction.

Read carefully the following transactions:

(i) Purchased goods for Rs. 1,200 cash. .
(ii) Purchased goods for Rs. 1,200.
(iii) Purchased goods for Rs. 1,200 from Arun.
(iv) Purchased goods for Rs. 1,200 from Arun on cash.

Transaction (i) and (iv) are clear as it has been specifically stated that purchases have been made on cash. Thus the entry is :

Purchases account Dr. 1,200 To Cash account 1,200

Transaction (ii) and (iii) are not specific as to whether the purchases are for cash or on credit. However transaction (ii) does not mention any name of the supplier; therefore it implies that the purchases are for cash. Similarly transaction (iii) mentions the name of the supplier but is silent regarding cash-it implies that purchases are on credit: Thus the entry for transaction (iii) is

Purchases account Dr. 1,200 To Amex 1200.

2. Treatment of payment on personal/expenses account.

When payment is made to a person against amount due to him as per his ledger account-the personal account of the creditor should be debited. However if the payment is being made to a person representing business expenditure then the particular expenditure (nominal) account should be debited.

3. Treatment of receipt on personal/ income account.

When amount is received from a person against amount recoverable from him as per ledger account-the personal account of the debtor should be credited. However if the amount received represents business income, then the particular income (nominal) account should be credited.

4. Treatment of trade discount.

In many cases the seller allows to the buyer deduction off the list price. Such deduction is known as ‘trade discount’. Trade discount as such is not recorded in the books. The transaction is recorded with only the net amount i.e. (list price -trade discount).

5. Treatment- of cash discount (full settlement).

In some cases creditor may allow some concession to his debtor to prompt him to make the payment within the period of credit allowed. Such concession is known as ‘cash discount’. It is allowed by the person receiving the payment and represents, expenditure. It is availed by the person making the payment and represents income.

6. Treatment of Bad debts (debtor becoming insolvent).

An amount due from a debtor may become irrecoverable either partially or wholly. Reason may be that he has been declared insolvent or any other. Such irrecoverable amount represents loss to the business and is debited to Bad debts amount.

7. Treatment of Bad debts recovered

It is evident from the above entry that whenever irrecoverable amount is written off the personal account is credited. If after some time any paymentis received against a debt previously written of then it represents income and as such should be credited to an account styled as ‘Bad debts recovered account’. Personal account must not be credited.

8. Treatment of personal expenses of the owner

It is quite common for the proprietor to withdraw cash or goods from the business for personal or domestic use. Sometimes premium on the life policy of the owner may also be paid by the business. Similarly income tax payable by the proprietor may be paid by business. All this represents owner’s personal expenses and are debited to his personal account viz. Drawings account.

9. Treatment of payment/ receipt on behalf of customer or supplier.

In some cases business might pay expenses on behalf of its customers. Such payments do not constitute the expenditure of business. Hence it should be debited to the personal account of the concerned customer.

10. Treatment or exchange or new asset with old one.

Sometimes business may exchange its old asset with new one-only the difference in value is paid in cash. In such cases asset account needs debit only with the actual amount paid.

11. Treatment of goods given as charity/ advertisement.

Business might distribute goods as ‘free samples’ to advertise its products. In some cases it may also distribute goods as charity to boost its image. Both ‘advertisement’ and ‘charity’ are expenses of the business, hence should be debited and purchases account should be credited.

12. Treatment of goods lost in accident/ fire.

In certain case a business might suffer loss of goods due to some accident or fire etc., destroyed or damaged goods might have been insured also. In such cases total value of goods lost or destroyed is credited to purchases account and the (i) insurance claim admitted is debited to Insurance Company (ii) balance is debited to loss by accident/ fire account.

13. Treatment of depreciation charged on fixed assets.

Fixed assets are those properties/ possessions of the business which are used for carrying on of business viz. plant, machinery, building etc. Depreciation is the permanent decrease in the value of an asset due to wear and tear, passage of time and obsolescence. Depreciation is treated as a business expenditure. Depreciation account is debited and the respective asset account is credited.

14. Treatment of payment/ receipt of representative personal accounts.

At the close of the previous accounting year a business might have incurred expenditure which remained unpaid. It is known as ‘Outstanding expenditure’. It is a representative personal account. When actual payment is made in current accounting period the concerned account is debited and cash account is credited.

Advantages of Journal

(1) Transactions are recorded in the chronological order, thus reducing the chances of omitting any transaction.

(2) Transactions, invariably, are accompanied by narration. Thus, the entry is supplemented with basic information regarding the transactions.

(3) Debit and credit amounts are written side by side. It minimizes the chances of entering wrong amount.

Restricted use of Journal

Originally the system of recording the financial transactions developed consisted of (1) writing each transaction, with narration, in the book of original entry,
i.e.. Journal and then (2) posting therefrom to the respective accounts in the principal book, i.e., ledger. As the number of transactions’ grew the system was modified and the transactions of similar
nature say purchases, sales, cash etc. were recorded in sub-journal instead of journal for the following
reasons:

(i) If too many transactions are recorded in journal it will be unwieldy.

(ii) In every business cash balance is required to be ascertained at frequent intervals, say, everyday: therefore it was found convenient to use a separate book for recording cash
transactions.

(iil) By recording transactions of similar nature. in one sub journal, say, purchases of goods in purchases journal saves time and efforts in recording and posting.

Because of the reasons listed above, nowadays, journal is used to record only such transactions which are infrequent. Now a days computerized accounting has made the entry of journal very easy and accurate.

Double Entry System

In the 15th century a Franciscan Monk, Lucas Pacioli, described a method of arranging accounts in such a way that the dual aspect (present in every account transaction) would be expressed by a debit amount and an equal and offsetting credit amount.

Double Entry system is the system under which each transaction is regarded to have two fold aspects and both the aspects are recorded to obtain complete record of dealings. Double Entry system of book keeping adheres to the rule. that for each transactions the debit amount (s) must equal the credit amount(s). That is why this system is called Double Entry.

Advantages of Double Entry System

(i) It enables to keep a complete record of business transactions.

(ii) It provides a check on the arithmetical accuracy of books of accounts based on equality of debit and credit.

(iii) It gives the results of business activities either profit or loss during the accounting period.

(iv) It tells the financial position of the business at a point of time. Total resources of the business, claims of the outsiders, amount due by outsiders etc. are revealed by a statement known as Balance Sheet.

(v) It makes possible comparison of the current year with those of previous years helping the owner to manage his business on better lines.

(vi) It reduces the chances of errors creeping in the accounting records because of its equality principle. .

(vii) It helps to ascertain the details regarding any account easily and accurately. Other systems of book-keeping. In addition to the double entry system, there is also single entry system.

The single-entry system is “a system of book-keeping in which as a rule only records of cash and of personal account are maintained; it is always incomplete double entry varying with circumstances. Such system may be economical but it is incomplete, unscientific and full of defects.

Compound Journal Entries

If in a journal entry only one account is to be debited and only one account is to be credited then such an entry is ‘Simple Journal Entry’. However, in some cases the entry may require more than one debit or credit or both. Such entries are known as compound entries. Compound entries should be created where

(i) Transaction occur on the same day

(ii) One aspect of these transactions is common; and

(iii) Accounts involved are more than two In fact compound entry is the combination of two or more simple journal ntries.

Accountant Job Description

An accountant’s job entails working to ensure that business firms and individuals are keeping good records and paying taxes properly and on time. Though the accountant job description for some accounting positions may be simple, other accountant job descriptions are not quite as clear because of the number of duties that are required.

In general, an accountant performs vital functions to businesses, as well as individuals, of all types by offering a very wide array of business and accounting services, including public, management and government accounting, as well as internal auditing. These four major fields of accounting, and in addition to having a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, each has a separate accountant job description.

1. Public Accountant

A public accountant job description can be summed up in what most people envision as “typical” accountant’s work. It involves performing a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting activities for their clients, which may be corporations, governments, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. Specialties in public accounting are often chosen. For example, a public accountant may choose to concentrate on tax matters, such as advising companies about the tax advantages and disadvantages of certain business decisions and preparing individual income tax returns. Other public accountants may choose areas such as compensation or employee health care benefits, or may design accounting and data processing systems. Still other public accountants may choose to specialize in auditing financial statements and inform investors and authorities that statements have been correctly prepared and reported. Public accounts are usually Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), and generally own their own businesses or work for public accounting firms.

2. Management Accountant

Another accountant job description is that of a management accountant. Also called a cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private account, management accountants record and analyze the financial information of the companies for which they work. The management accountant job description includes a detailed listing of responsibilities, such as budgeting, performance evaluation, cost management, and asset management. Management accountants are often a part of executive teams involved in strategic planning or the development of new products, where they analyze and interpret financial information that corporate executives need in order to make sound business decisions. They also prepare financial reports for other groups, including stock holders, creditors, regulatory agencies, and tax authorities. Management accountants are usually a part of an accounting department, employed a large company, and may work in many areas that may include financial analysis, planning, budgeting, and cost accounting.

3. Government Accountant

A government accountant works in the public sector, maintaining and examining the records of government agencies and auditing private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulation and/or taxation. This accountant job description, while detailed, is much more specialized. Government accountants are employed by Federal, State, or local governments, and work to guarantee that revenues are received and expenditures are made in accordance with laws and regulations. Those employed by the Federal government may work as Internal Revenue Services agents or in financial management, financial institution examination, or budget analysis and administration.

4. Internal Auditor Accountant

The accountant job description of an internal auditor can basically be summarized by the job title. Internal auditors verify the accuracy of their organization’s internal records, and check for mismanagement, waste, or fraud. It is an increasingly important area of accounting, because internal auditors examine and evaluate their firms’ financial and information systems, management procedures, and internal controls to ensure that records are accurate and controls are adequate to protect against fraud and waste. They also review company operations, evaluating their efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance with corporate policies and procedures, laws, and government regulations. The accountant job description of an internal auditor can vary with different companies, and may include job duties such as electronic data processing, environmental auditing, engineering, legal auditing, insurance reviews, banking, and health care auditing.

Accountants in all four areas can work for a company, or can be employed by an accounting firm, which would in turn be hired by a company for consulting. An accountant can also be self-employed, and provide accounting services to individuals, businesses, or both.

Most accounting jobs include an accountant job description that requires a bachelor’s degree, at minimum, in accounting or a related field, and some accountant job descriptions might include the requirement of a master’s degree or Certified Public Account (CPA) certification, obtained through a four-part, Uniform CPA Explanation prepared by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). While the two-day CPA examination is rigorous, and only about 25 percent of those taking the exam pass every part they attempt, CPA certification can greatly assist in the rate of pay received, and in most states, the examination can be taken in two parts, which may assist in preparing for and passing the exam.

According to the United States Department of Labor, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow at a faster than average rate, for all accounting occupations from all accountant job descriptions mentioned, through the year 2014. This is due to an increase in the number of businesses nationwide, changing financial laws and regulations, and increased scrutiny of company finances. In addition to these reasons for new accounting jobs opening up, there will also be a need to replace accountants and auditors who will retire or transfer to other occupations.

The field is also becoming more specialized due to technology and new, accurate accounting and auditing software experience becoming a crucial addition to an accountant job description. An accountant job description may include, in addition to educational and technological requirements, strong interpersonal and communication skills, simply due to the fact that most accountants work on teams with others from different backgrounds, and will need the ability to communicate accounting and financial information clearly and concisely.

Regardless of one’s qualifications, competition in the accounting field will remain strong for the most prestigious jobs, as well as for obtaining clients for those accountants that are self-employed

Forensic Accountant – A New Career

       Forensic Accountant 

One of the newer areas, and also the fastest growing area, of accounting is forensic accounting. A forensic accountant has a unique job because the responsibilities involve the integration of accounting, auditing, and investigative skills. Using all of these skills, a forensic accountant is, in summary, a true investigator. Forensic accountants are trained to look beyond the numbers and deal with the business reality of the situation.

A forensic accountant is typically an accountant that is hired by a large firm or company, but can also be engaged in public practice, or can be employed by insurance companies, banks, police forces, government agencies, or other organizations. The forensic accountant would be hired by such organizations to investigate, analyze, interpret, summarize, and present complex financial and business information so that it can be easily understood and properly supported. One that is employed as a forensic accountant can assist corporations in two main ways.

1. Investigative Accounting.

By performing investigative accounting duties, a forensic accountant reviews the factual situation of the company and suggests possible courses of action. A forensic accountant can also assist with the protection and/or recovery of assets, and can coordinate with other experts such as private investigators, forensic document examiners, and consulting engineers in the event that a white-collar crime has occurred. The forensic accountant will also assist with the recovery of assets by way of civil action or criminal prosecution.

2. Litigation Support.

Another main duty of a forensic account is to assist in obtaining documentation to form an initial assessment of the case and identify areas of loss. The forensic accountant may review the relevant documentation to assess the case and identify loss. This may require the financial accountant to assist with settlement discussions and negotiations, as well as attend a trial to hear the testimony of the opposing expert, and to provide assistance with cross-examination.

Forensic accountants become involved in an array of investigations. This may involve:

– Criminal Investigations, where a forensic accountant may be required to prepare a report with the objective of presenting evidence in a professional and concise manner;

– Shareholders’ and Partnership Disputes, involving assignments that require a detailed analysis of numerous years of accounting records in order to resolve, for example, compensation and benefits disputes of shareholders or partners;

– Personal Injury Claims, when a forensic accountant is asked to quantify economic losses resulting from an accident, often calculating resulting economic damage in cases of medical malpractice and wrongful dismissal;

– Business Interruption, reviewing the details of an insurance policy, for example, to investigate coverage issues and the appropriate method of calculating the loss of areas such as business interruptions, property losses, and employee dishonesty (fidelity) claims;

– Fraud Investigations, which involves a forensic accountant’s work in determining funds tracing, asset identification, and recovery, most commonly performed with employee fraud cases;

– Matrimonial Disputes, which require a forensic accountant to trace, locate, and evaluate assets, including businesses, properties, and other personal assets;

– Business Economic Losses, that of which includes areas such as contract disputes, construction claims, expropriations, product liability, trademark or patent infringements, and losses occurring from a breach of a non-competition agreement;

– Professional Negligence, either through a technical perspective, where the forensic accountant will investigate a breach in an agreement, or through a loss quantification; and

– Mediation and Arbitration, where a forensic accountant may be hired to become involved in an alternative dispute resolution so that individuals and businesses may resolve disputes with minimal disruption and with a minimal amount of time.

While each forensic accountant will receive a unique assignment with each client, most assignments will include the following steps.

1. Meet with the client to understand the important facts, people, and issues at hand.

2. Perform a conflict check.

3. Perform an initial investigation.

4. Develop an action plan, setting objectives to be achieved, as well as the methods that should be used to accomplish them.

5. Obtain relevant evidence that may include documents, economic information, assets, or other proof of the occurrence of an event.

6. Perform the analysis, which may involve calculating economic damages, summarizing transactions, tracing assets, performing present value calculations, performing a regression or sensitivity analysis, utilizing a spread sheet, database, or other computerized model.

7. Preparing a final report.

A forensic accountant may be hired by a variety of institutions, including attorneys and law firms; police forces; insurance companies; government agencies; banks, credit unions, and financial lenders; courts; and business owners. They may hire a forensic accountant based on their experience and qualifications, as well as their neutrality to their particular situation, especially if damages are involved.

The typical forensic accountant will have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and often a master’s degree, in accounting or a related field. A forensic accountant is also usually a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). In addition to education, a forensic accountant should have personal characteristics that include curiosity, persistence, creativity, discretion, strong organizational and communication skills, confidence, and sound professional judgment.

Forensic accounts that find the most career success are extremely detail-oriented as well. A forensic accountant may be employed by an accounting firm or by a large corporation to perform in-house investigations, or may be self employed as a consultant to such organizations.