Accounting Terminology

Updated on January 11, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAnkush Jain
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Basic Accounting Terms

To study accountancy and to step into the corporate world and do accounting practicesAccounting PracticesAccounting practice is a set of procedures and controls used by an entity's accounting department to keep track of accounting records and entries. Other reports are generated based on accounting records, such as financial statements, cash flow statements, fund flow statements, payroll, tax workings, payment and receipts statements, and so on, and they form the basis of the auditor's reliance while auditing the financial statements.read more, we need to be aware of the basic accounting terminology to understand the concepts and the subject. In addition, for those new to this subject, it is essential to be familiar with the technical jargon; used in businesses by those in office and classrooms by those studying accountancy and who want to move ahead in this sector to make a career in this prominent field.

List of Basic Accounting Terminology

Given below is a list of the basic accounting terminology which will help you in enhancing your knowledge of the subject:

Accounting Terminology

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Source: Accounting Terminology (wallstreetmojo.com)

#1 – Accounts Payable

Accounts payableAccounts PayableAccounts payable is the amount due by a business to its suppliers or vendors for the purchase of products or services. It is categorized as current liabilities on the balance sheet and must be satisfied within an accounting period.read more are short-term obligations to be paid by an organization. It arises from trading activities and other business-related expenses during the business, including parties from whom we have purchased goods or services and costs incurred for which money is yet to be paid, generally in the same financial year.

#2 – Accounts Receivable

Accounts ReceivableAccounts ReceivableAccounts receivables is the money owed to a business by clients for which the business has given services or delivered a product but has not yet collected payment. They are categorized as current assets on the balance sheet as the payments expected within a year. read more form part of current assets and refer to amounts due from parties to whom we have sold goods or services or incurred expenses on their behalf for which money is yet to be realized. It may include debtors, bills receivable, etc., which can be converted into cash in the short term to ensure the organization’s liquidity.

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#3 – Balance Sheet

A Balance SheetBalance SheetA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders' equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner's capital equals the total assets of the company.read more is a reconciliation of assets (current and fixed) and liabilities (current and noncurrent), and capital investedCapital InvestedInvested Capital is the total money that a firm raises by issuing debt to bond holders and securities to equity shareholders. Invested Capital Formula = Total Debt (Including Capital lease) + Total Equity & Equivalent Equity Investments + Non-Operating Cash read more in an organization. Stakeholders such as creditors, shareholders, and banks, which have granted loans to the organization and government, use the Balance Sheet to analyze the financial position, growth, and stability.

#4 – Current Assets

Current assetsCurrent AssetsCurrent assets refer to those short-term assets which can be efficiently utilized for business operations, sold for immediate cash or liquidated within a year. It comprises inventory, cash, cash equivalents, marketable securities, accounts receivable, etc.read more refer to an organization’s realizable resources in the short term, generally during the same financial year. They include cash/bank balance and assets that can convert into cash, ranging from short-term loansShort Term LoansShort-term loans are defined as borrowings undertaken for a short period to meet immediate monetary requirements.read more and advances, sundry debtors, short-term investments Short Term InvestmentsShort term investments are those financial instruments which can be easily converted into cash in the next three to twelve months and are classified as current assets on the balance sheet. Most companies opt for such investments and park excess cash due to liquidity and solvency reasons.read more, etc.

#5 – Equity

Equity is the amount invested in the business by its owners, in the form of capital in the case of sole proprietorship and partnerships, or shares (equity and preference) of varying denominations in companies (public or private).

#6 – Expenses

All the money outflow (present or future) incurred for procuring goods and services to affect sales in a business (direct expensesDirect ExpensesDirect cost refers to the cost of operating core business activity—production costs, raw material cost, and wages paid to factory staff. Such costs can be determined by identifying the expenditure on cost objects.read more) and incidental to the business (indirect expensesIndirect ExpensesIndirect expenses are the general costs incurred for running business operations and management in any enterprise. In simple terms, when you want to buy grocery from a supermarket, the transportation cost to get you to the supermarket and back is the indirect expenses.read more) as well as ancillary to the running of an organization are referred to as expenses

#7 – Fixed Assets

Fixed assetsFixed AssetsFixed assets are assets that are held for the long term and are not expected to be converted into cash in a short period of time. Plant and machinery, land and buildings, furniture, computers, copyright, and vehicles are all examples.read more are tangible resources that an organization uses for carrying out daily operations of a business, such as land, plant and equipment, furniture and fixtures, buildings, machinery, etc., which are not purchased to be sold in the short term.

#8 – Ledger

LedgerLedgerLedger in accounting records and processes a firm’s financial data, taken from journal entries. This becomes an important financial record for future reference. It is used for creating financial statements. It is also known as the second book of entry.read more is the book of entry for recording transactions in such a way that we come to know the outstanding debit or credit balance of an account in our business for which we record the opening balance, transactions made in that account, and the closing balance to find out the exact position of that particular account.

#9 – Income Statement

The Income statementIncome StatementThe income statement is one of the company's financial reports that summarizes all of the company's revenues and expenses over time in order to determine the company's profit or loss and measure its business activity over time based on user requirements.read more forms part of the financial statements and tells us the exact position of our gross and net profit at a particular cut-off date. It is done by recording all the direct incomes and closing stock on the credit side and all direct expenses and opening stock on the debit side to find the gross profit and all the indirect incomes and indirect expenses similarly to find out the net profit.

#10 – Liabilities

Liabilities are the present (short term) and future(long term) obligations of an organization which represents the debts due to be paid for goods and services procured for the business in the past and include sundry creditors, short term loans and advances, bills payable, etc. which come under short term liabilities and debenturesDebenturesDebentures refer to long-term debt instruments issued by a government or corporation to meet its financial requirements. In return, investors are compensated with an interest income for being a creditor to the issuer.read more, term loans from a bank, long term loans and advances, etc. which come under long term liabilitiesLong Term LiabilitiesLong Term Liabilities, also known as Non-Current Liabilities, refer to a Company’s financial obligations that are due for over a year (from its operating cycle or the Balance Sheet Date). read more.

#11 – Net Income

The profit or loss arrived at after deducting all direct and indirect expenses from all the direct and indirect incomes equals to net income made by a business which is the earning done by the business at a cut-off date and is very useful in comparing the growth and financial position of an organization from previous years as well as for adopting measures for the betterment of the profitability levels of the business.

#12 – Revenue

The gross incomeGross IncomeThe difference between revenue and cost of goods sold is gross income, which is a profit margin made by a corporation from its operating activities. It is the amount of money an entity makes before paying non-operating expenses like interest, rent, and electricity.read more earned by the organization from carrying out core business activities without deduction of any expenses is termed as revenue earned by the organization, which also indicates the sale and other incomes in total.

#13 – Credit

Wherever an account is credited, it reduces the balance of an account in the case of real accounts,Real Accounts,Real accounts do not close their balances at the end of the financial year but retain and carry forward their closing balance from one accounting year to another. In other words, the closing balance of these accounts in one accounting year becomes the opening balance of the succeeding accounting year.read more creates an obligation to pay an individual in the case of personal accounts, and increases the income side if a nominal account is credited.

#14 – Debit

Wherever an account is debitedDebitedDebit represents either an increase in a company’s expenses or a decline in its revenue. read more, it increases the balance of an account in the case of real accounts, creating an obligation to receive money from an individual in the case of personal accounts and increasing the expenses side if a nominal account is debited.

#15 – Audit

An audit is an examination of books of accounts prepared by an organization to validate the entries recorded and ensure the accuracy and correctness of the financial statementsFinancial StatementsFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company's management to present the company's financial affairs over a given period (quarter, six monthly or yearly). These statements, which include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flows, and Shareholders Equity Statement, must be prepared in accordance with prescribed and standardized accounting standards to ensure uniformity in reporting at all levels.read more along with finding out any discrepancies in the books, including frauds, if any, hidden by the employees of the organization.

Conclusion

The above accounting terms explained above are not exhaustive. The ones explained above can help understand accounting at a beginner’s level. The list does not end here, as many accounting concepts and terms are used in daily life.

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