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Accounting involves recording financial transactions to enable you to keep track of financial activity. Accounting may also involve sorting, summarizing, and analyzing financial data. With careful accounting, it's possible to retrieve data at a later time to check details. Accounting also enables prudent financial planning to make wise decisions about money. Anyone with interests and skills in mathematics might consider a career in business accounting.
A business owner must know the status of their income and expenses in order to make sound financial decisions for a company. This information is present in various financial statements that an accountant would prepare. These include income statements, expense statements, and balance sheets. Having these statements and reports provides information about the overall financial health of a company. An accountant might make projections and estimates about future financial situations based on financial statements. Projections can then enable a business owner to set budgets and make decisions about company operations.
A large part of accounting involves basic bookkeeping. Bookkeeping simply means recording the financial activity that occurs within a company. This would include all of the sales that come in, any capital funds received, and bills paid. This activity generally occurs in separate transactions that happen throughout each day. As these transactions occur, the accountant would record them. As the days and weeks go by, the accountant would also summarize the transactions. This might occur daily, quarterly, or annually. Most accounting that happens in today's world is done electronically on a computer. Prior to electronic accounting programs, accountants and bookkeepers performed this work manually on paper.
Keeping detailed and accurate accounting records is of paramount importance. If records are incomplete or inaccurate, a business owner might make financial decisions that are unsound for a company. The business owner might decide to make a large purchase or an investment based on financial information that indicates a balance of money in an account. If the balance is actually much lower, the purchase could result in a dangerous financial situation for a company. A business owner might also choose not to make an investment based on financial statements. If the company's overall financial balance was higher than thought, the business owner might have missed out on an investment opportunity that could have been advantageous for the company in the long term.
To pursue an accounting career, a person will need to attend a college or university with an accounting program. Skills learned will include preparing financial records, organizing and maintaining these records, ensuring that these records comply with all laws, preparing income tax returns, and learning how to advise business owners about improving profits and reducing expenses. An accounting education might include pursuing a degree at a variety of different levels. The most basic education would involve a certificate in accounting. Students could also pursue an associate degree, a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, or even an MBA or PhD in accounting.
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