Introduction and importance of:
Accounting / Auditing / Tax / Financial Services
Accounting is the process of recording financial transactions pertaining to a business. The accounting process includes summarizing, analyzing and reporting these transactions to oversight agencies, regulators and tax collection entities.
Accounting is one of the key functions for almost any business. It may be handled by a bookkeeper or an accountant at a small firm, or by sizable finance departments with dozens of employees at larger companies. The financial statements used in accounting are a concise summary of financial transactions over an accounting period, summarizing a company's operations, financial position and cash flows. Such reports generated by various streams of accounting, such as cost accounting and managerial accounting, are invaluable in helping management make informed business decisions.
Auditing typically refers to financial statement audits or an objective examination and evaluation of a company’s financial statements – usually performed by an external third party. Audits can be performed by internal parties and a government entity, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Audit is an important term used in accounting that describes the examination and verification of a company’s financial records. It is to ensure that financial information is represented fairly and accurately. Also, audits are performed to ensure that financial statements are prepared in accordance with the relevant accounting standards. Financial statements are prepared internally by management utilizing relevant accounting standards, such as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). They are developed to provide useful information to the Shareholders, Creditors, Government entities, Customers, Suppliers, Partners etc. Auditing is crucial to ensure that companies represent their financial positioning fairly and accurately and in accordance with accounting standards. There are three main types of audits as below:
- Internal Audits: They are performed by the employees of a company or organization to improve decision-making within a company.
- External Audits: They are performed by external organizations and third parties to determine any material misstatements or errors in a company’s financial statements.
- Government Audits: Government audits are performed to ensure that financial statements have been prepared accurately to not misrepresent the amount of taxable income of a company.
Taxation or Tax accounting refers to the methods and policies used for the preparation of tax returns and other statements needed for tax compliance and therefore, it provides frameworks and guidelines for arriving at a taxable profit.
Tax accounting is pivotal to any business or individual as it provides a framework to declare the correct income and pay appropriate taxes. In case of ambiguity, a tax professional should be consulted to avoid any miss in tax compliance as there are fines and penalties for tax defaulters. It also works for tax avoidance by selecting which method works best for each type of business or individual.
Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit-card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, consumer-finance companies, stock brokerages, investment funds, individual managers, and some government-sponsored enterprises.
The strength of the financial services sector is also important to the prosperity of a country's population. A strong financial services sector can lead to economic growth, while a failing system can drag down a nation's economy.
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