Learn Basic Accounting

Updated on January 3, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Learn Basic Accounting in Less than 1 Hour

Accounting is the formal process in which a company tries to publish its details in an auditable way, and the general public can use it.

I assume that you are visiting this page because you are interested in learning more about finance and basic accounting. Perhaps, you are an engineer, science graduate, or from a non-commerce background struggling to grasp this seemingly complicated finance concept.

Accounting is the heart and soul of finance. Unfortunately, mastering accounting is not an easy task. I had my fair share of struggles with accounting, those debits, and credits I never understood. However, while working at JPMorgan and many other research firms, I was fortunate to develop an intuitive sense of accounting and financial ratio analysis.

This article teaches basic accounting conceptsAccounting ConceptsAccounting concepts are the principles, assumptions, and conditions that govern accounting's foundation. They ensure that the accounting is done in a way that the financial statements present a true and fair view.read more through stories/case studies. It is for those who are new or are struggling with these basic concepts. I assure you will learn the core fundamentals of basic accounting in just an hour and without the usage of debits and credits!

Learn Basic Accounting

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The Story of Accounting

If you want to learn basic accounting, it can be best internalized through a story of a person starting a new business. Kartik is a young, dynamic individual who has always wanted to start his own business. Post his graduation in science. He researched the idea of the transportation and logistics market. Kartik is not comfortable with accounting matters because he has a science background and not an accounting background. (Kartik is just like you and me! a non-finance professional)

Kartik named his business FastTrack Movers and Packers. He needs to invest money in the business to kick-start the same. Let us assume that Kartik invests some of his wealth into it. Investing implies Kartik is buying shares of FastTrack logistics common stocks (becomes a shareholder of the firm).

Let us look at FastTrack Movers and Packers Business Cycle

Business Cycle

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  • Kartik infuses capital (money) in FastTrack Movers and Packers (thereby becoming a firm shareholder).
  • FastTrack Movers and Packers will buy a sturdy, dependable delivery van and inventory with these investments.
  • The business will begin earning fees and billing clients for delivering their parcels.
  • The business will be collecting the fees that it earned.
  • The business will incur expenses in operating, such as a salary for Kartik, costs associated with the delivery vehicle, advertising, etc.

For a business like above, there will be thousands and thousands of transactions each year. It will be difficult for Kartik to put all these transactions together in a structured format. In such cases, basic accounting software is very beneficial as they help generate invoices to performing basic accounting entries, prepare cheques, update the financial statements without any additional work.

Putting daily all of these entries into the basic accounting software will result in quick and easy access to the desired information. As a result, it will be helpful for the strategic business decision-making process.

Kartik desires to learn basic accounting and keep on top of his new business. His friends recommend Neeraj, an ex Investment Banker and an independent financial consultant who has helped many small business customers. Neeraj promises that he will help him learn basic accounting and the purpose of the three primary financial statements:

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Part 1 – Learn Basic Accounting – Understanding Income Statement

Income statements show the profitability of the company during the chosen time frame. Neeraj suggests that the time frame could be a day, a week, a month, or a full year. Profitability primarily takes care of two critical things:

  • Revenue earned
  • Expenses to earn the revenue

Neeraj point’s out that revenue earned is not the same as cash received, and the term expenses are more than the cash outflows.

Income Statement Sample

Download the Case Study Working files here

Case Study 1 – Revenues/Sales

If FastTrack delivers 200 parcels in December for $5 per delivery, Kartik sends invoices to his clients for these fees, and his terms require that his clients pay by 15th Jan ’2008. So how should the revenues/sales be accounted for in December?

Before we look at the solutions, we need to understand some “basic accounting and finance jargon.”


FastTrack Movers and Packers earn money for delivering customers’ parcels. We must understand here that there are two methods of revenue accounting:

  • Accrual method – Revenue is recorded only when they are “earned” (not when the company receives money)
  • Cash Method – Revenue is recorded only when cash is received.

It is important to note that generally, the accrual method of accountingAccrual Method Of AccountingAccrual Accounting is an accounting method that instantly records revenues & expenditures after a transaction occurs, irrespective of when the payment is received or made. read more is followed.

With the above understanding, let us apply the same in our first Accounting Case Study.

Applying Accrual Basis of Accounting at FastTrack Movers and Packers

If we are looking to record Revenue/Sales figures for December, there are two critical aspects that one should think about –

  • The revenue earning process, i.e., delivery of parcels, is completed in December.
  • Cash is not received in December. It is only received in January.
What if Kartik followed the cash method of accounting?

The cash method of accounting is no longer followed. However, had the above transaction been recorded on a cash basis, Revenues would have been $0 for December and $1,000 for January.

All non-finance managers, please spend time understanding the above concept. This one is significant.

Case Study 2 – Accounts Receivables

When Kartik receives $1,000 fees from the client on January, 15th, how should he record the entry when the money was received?

Introduction to Accounts Receivables

In December, Kartik did not receive money; “receivables”  will be recorded as “assets” for December. However, when Kartik gets the $1,000 worth of payment checks from his customers on the 15th Jan, he may make an accounting entry to show he received the money. This $1,000 of receipts will not be considered January revenues since the revenues were reported as “revenues earned” in December. The received $1,000 will be recorded in January as a reduction in “Accounts Receivable.”

We have covered the revenue or sales. Next, let us look at the income statement expenses. Like the accrual method of accounting, Kartik should document the expenses incurred during December regardless of whether the company paid for the expenses or not.

Case Study 3 – Expenses

For delivering the parcels, Kartik hires some laborers on a contract basis and agrees to pay them $300 on 3rd Jan. Also, Kartik bought some packaging and other supporting material for $100 in December. What is the cost to be accounted for in December?

In the case of revenue, we saw the accrual concept of accounting (revenue is recognized when earned). Likewise, for expenses, the actual payment date does not matter. However, it is important to note when one did the work. In this case study, the parcels were delivered (job completed) in December.

Thus, Total Expenses = $300 (labor) + $100 (supporting material = $400

This recording of expenses (irrespective of actual payment made or not) and matching it with the related revenue is known as Matching Principle.

Other examples of expenses that need to be “matched” could be Petrol/Diesel for a delivery van, advertisement costs, and others.

Please note that the accrual basis of accounting and Matching Principles are the two most essential rules of accounting. You should be in a position to intuitively understand these concepts.

To clarify further on these two principles, Neeraj provides another example. This time he uses “Interest Expense” on borrowed loans as an example.

Case Study 4 – Interest Expenses

In addition to Kartik infusing his capital into the business, he borrows an additional $20,000 from a bank to start his business on December 1. Let’s assume that the Bank charges 5% in interest to be paid annually at the end of each year. What is the interest expense for December?

Please note that interest expense is paid as a lump sum amount at the end of the year. Kartik pays the total interest expense of $20,000 x 5% = $1,000. Now think about the Matching Principle concept. If Kartik wants to know his business position in December, should he also record one month of interest expenses in his income statement? The answer is YES.

Kartik needs to match the interest expense to each month’s revenue.

Interest expense to be recorded for 1 month = $1000/12 = $83

I am now assuming that you are pretty clear on the following concepts –

  1. The income statement does not report the cash position of the company.
  2. Sales/revenue is recorded when the revenue earning process is completed (not when the cash is received)
  3. Expenses are “matched” with the related revenues (not when the cash is paid)

The primary purpose of the income statementPurpose Of The Income StatementAn income statement is prepared to summarize all revenues and expenses over time in order to determine the company's profit or loss and measure its business activity over time, based on the needs of the income statement's users.read more is to show the net difference between the Revenues and Expenses, which we refer to as PROFIT or Bottom Line or Net Income/Net Loss.

With this, let us prepare the Income Statement for the four case studies above.

FastTrack Income Statement as per the transaction discussed for December 2007

Income Statement - FastTrack

You may be wondering what income tax is. An income tax is a government levy (tax) imposed on individuals or entities (taxpayers) that varies with the income or profits (taxable income) of the taxpayerTaxpayerA taxpayer is a person or a corporation who has to pay tax to the government based on their income, and in the technical sense, they are liable for, or subject to or obligated to pay tax to the government based on the country’s tax laws.read more. I have assumed that Kartik pays Income Tax at 33%. Whatever comes after deducting the tax is the Net Income or Profit.

I hope you are learning basic accounting, and you are pretty clean with the Income Statement. Let us now move forward to the Balance Sheet.

Part – 2  – Learn Basic Accounting – Balance Sheet

Now that Kartik understood the Income statement, Neeraj moves to explain the Balance Sheet. The balance sheet gives an idea of what the company owns (ASSETS) and owes (LIABILITIES), as we as the amount invested by the Shareholders at a specific point in time.

Please note the keyword “specific point in time.” This is different from the Income statement, which is prepared for a period of time (for example, the income statement for December). However, if a balance sheet is dated December 31, the amounts shown on the balance sheet are the balances in the accounts after recording all the transactions of December.

A Typical Balance Sheet

Balance Sheet Sample

Assets – Assets are a firm’s economic resources. They are probable current and future economic benefits obtained or controlled by an entity as a result of past transactions or events. As you can see above, Assets are primarily divided into two types – Current Assets and Long Term Assets. ExamplesExamplesExamples of assets include all current, capital and intangible assets owned by a company and used for accounting purpose. Some of these are cash, accounts receivable, building, plant and equipment, goodwill and patents.read more of Assets for Kartik’s company could be cash, packaging material, and supplies, Vehicle, etc. Also, note that Accounts receivables are Assets. Kartik has already delivered the parcels. However, he has not been paid immediately for the delivery. Soon, the amount owed to Kartik’s Fast Track is an asset known as Accounts Receivables.

Liabilities – Liabilities are obligations owned to others as of the balance sheet date. They arise from the present obligations of a particular entity to transfer assets or provide services to other entities in the future as a result of past transactions or events. For example, Kartik took a loan from the Bank. This loan is a liability that Kartik needs to pay in the future. Also, Kartik hired a few people to deliver the parcels. However, they did not pay them (accounts payable), classified as accounts payable.

Shareholder’s Equity – The third section of a balance sheet is Stockholders’ Equity. (If the company is a sole proprietorship, it is referred to as Owner’s Equity.) The amount of Shareholder EquityShareholder EquityShareholder’s equity is the residual interest of the shareholders in the company and is calculated as the difference between Assets and Liabilities. The Shareholders' Equity Statement on the balance sheet details the change in the value of shareholder's equity from the beginning to the end of an accounting period.read more is precisely the difference between the asset amounts and the liability amounts.

A = L + E

Within the Shareholder’s Equity section, you would primarily find two sections – Common Stock and Retained Earnings.

Common Stock represents the initial amount invested in the company by the shareholder. For example, in this case, if Kartik invests a certain amount in his company, this would come broadly under the Common Stock section.

The second important part is the Retained Earnings. Retained Earnings will increase when the corporation earns a profit. There will be a decrease when the corporation has a net loss. This means that revenues will automatically cause an increase in Stockholders’ Equity, and expenses will automatically cause a decrease in Stockholders’ Equity. This illustrates a link between a company’s balance sheet and income statement.

This is the most crucial LINK between the Balance Sheet and the Income Statement. 

Income Statement Link to Equity

Case Study 5 – Cash & Common Stocks

On December 1, 2007, Kartik started his business FastTrack Movers and Packers. The first transaction that Kartik will record for his company is his investment of $20,000 in exchange for 5,000 shares of FastTrack Movers & Packers common Stock. There are no revenues because the company earned no delivery fees on December 1, and there were no expenses. How will this transaction get recorded in the balance sheet?

Cash & Common Stocks

Accounting Case Study - 5

Case Study 6 – Purchase of Vehicles

On December 2, FastTrack Movers & Packers purchases a truck for $14,000. The two accounts involved are Cash and Vehicles (or Delivery Truck). How does this transaction gets recorded in the Balance Sheet?

Purchase of Vehicle & Depreciation Expenses

Kartik also needs to know that the reported amounts on his balance sheet for assets such as equipment, vehicles, and buildings are routinely reduced by depreciation. Depreciation is required by the basic accounting principle known as the matching principleMatching PrincipleThe Matching Principle of Accounting provides accounting guidance, stating that all expenses should be recognized in the income statement of the period in which the revenue related to that expense is earned. This means that, regardless of when the actual transaction is made, the expenses that are entered into the debit side of the accounts should have a corresponding credit entry in the same period.read more. Depreciation is used for assets whose life is not indefinite—equipment wears out, vehicles become too old and costly to maintain, buildings age, and some assets (like computers) become obsolete. DepreciationDepreciationDepreciation is a systematic allocation method used to account for the costs of any physical or tangible asset throughout its useful life. Its value indicates how much of an asset’s worth has been utilized. Depreciation enables companies to generate revenue from their assets while only charging a fraction of the cost of the asset in use each year. read more is the allocation of the cost of the asset to Depreciation Expense on the income statement over its useful life.

Fast Track’s Truck has a useful life of five years and was purchased at the cost of $14,000. The accountant might match $2,800 ($14,000 ÷ 5 years) of depreciation expenses with each year’s revenues for five years. Each year the carrying amount of the van will be reduced by $2,800. (The carrying amount—or “book value”—is reported on the balance sheet, and it is the cost of the van minus the total depreciation since the van was acquired.) This means that after one year, the balance sheet will report the carrying amount of the delivery van as $11,200 (14,000 – 2,800), after two years the carrying amount will be $8,400 (14,000 – 2×2800), etc. After five years—the end of the Truck’s expected useful life—its carrying amountCarrying AmountThe carrying amount or book value of asset is the cost of tangible, intangible assets or liability recorded in the financial statements, net of accumulated depreciation or any impairments or repayments. Accordingly, the carrying amount may differ from the market value of assets.read more is zero.

Case Study 6 – Balance Sheet (as of December 2)

Accounting Case Study - 6

Case Study 7 – Prepaid Expenses

Neeraj brings up another less obvious asset—the unexpired portion of prepaid expensesPrepaid ExpensesPrepaid expenses refer to advance payments made by a firm whose benefits are acquired in the future. Payment for the goods is made in the current accounting period, but the delivery is received in the upcoming accounting period.read more. Along with the Truck, Kartik takes the insurance coverage for the Truck purchased. The insurance purchase costs him $1,200 for one year. Kartik immediately gives cash of $1,200 to the insurance agent.

Fast Track pays $1,200 on December 1 for a one-year insurance premium on its delivery truck. That divides out to be $100 per month ($1,200 ÷ 12 months). Between December 1 and December 31, $100 worth of insurance premium is “used up” or “expires.” The expired amount will be reported as an Insurance Expense on December’s income statement. Kartik asks Neeraj where the remaining $1,100 of unexpired insurance premium would be reported. On the December 31 balance sheet, Neeraj tells him, in an asset account called Prepaid Insurance.

Other examples of things that might be paid for before they are used include supplies and annual dues to a trade association. The portion that expires in the current accounting periodAccounting PeriodAccounting Period refers to the period in which all financial transactions are recorded and financial statements are prepared. This might be quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, depending on the period for which you want to create the financial statements to be presented to investors so that they can track and compare the company's overall performance.read more is listed as an expense on the income statement; the part that has not yet expired is listed as an asset on the balance sheet.

Accounting Case Study - 7

Case Study 4 – Rising Debt (Revisit)

FastTrack Movers and Packers borrowed an additional $20,000 from a bank on December 3 to invest further in business, and the company agrees to pay 5% in interest, or $1,000. The interest is to be paid in a lump sum on December 1 of each year.

As Kartik raises further money through debt, cash (Asset) increases by 20,000. However, Kartik is liable to return the amount after the term, and hence, the debt is termed as a liability. On this debt, Kartik will have to pay Interest Expenses (as discussed earlier)

Accounting Case Study - 4 (revisit)

Case Study 8 – Inventory

Kartik keeps an inventory of packing boxes not only to use for his business but also to earn additional revenues by carrying an inventory of packing boxes to sell. Let’s say that FastTrack Movers and Packers purchased 1,000 boxes wholesale for $1.00 each.


Kartik learns that each of his company’s assets was recorded at its original cost, and even if the fair market value of an item increases, an accountant will not increase the recorded amount of that asset on the balance sheet. This is the result of another basic accounting principle known as the cost principle.

Although accountants generally do not increase the value of an asset, they might decrease its value as a result of a concept known as conservatism.

Scenario 1: Assume that since Kartik bought them, however, the wholesale price of boxes has been cut by 40%, and at today’s price, he could purchase them for $0.60 each. Because the replacement cost of his inventory ($600) is less than the original recorded cost ($1000), the principle of conservatism directs the accountant to report the lower amount ($600) as the asset’s value on the balance sheet.

Scenario 2: Assume that since Kartik bought them, however, the wholesale price of boxes increase by 20%, and at today’s price, he could purchase them for $1.20 each. Because the replacement costReplacement CostReplacement Cost is the capital amount required to replace the current asset with a similar one at the present market rate. Usually, assets replacement occurs when their repair & maintenance charges surge beyond a reasonable level. read more of his inventory ($1,200) is higher than the original recorded cost ($1,000), the principle of cost directs the accountant to report the lower amount at cost ($1,000) as the asset’s value on the balance sheet.

In short, the cost principle generally prevents assets from being reported at more than cost, while conservatism might require assets to be reported at less than their cost.

Accounting Case Study - 8 (revisit)

Case Study 9 – Unearned Revenues

Another liability is money received in advance of actually earning money. The client has made an upfront payment of $600 for the delivery of 30 parcels/month for the next six months. 

FastTrack Movers and Packers have a cash receiptCash ReceiptA cash receipt is a small document that works as evidence that the amount of cash received during a transaction involves transferring cash or cash equivalent. The original copy of this receipt is given to the customer, while the seller keeps the other copy for accounting purposes.read more of $600 on December 1, but it does not have revenues of $600 at this point. It will have revenues only when it earns them by delivering the parcels. On December 1, Fast Track will show its asset. Cash increased by $600, but it will also have to show that it has a liability of $600. (It has the liability to deliver $600 of parcels within six months, or return the money.)

The liability accountLiability AccountLiability is a financial obligation as a result of any past event which is a legal binding. Settling of a liability requires an outflow of an economic resource mostly money, and these are shown in the balance of the company.read more involved in the $600 received on December 1 is Unearned Revenue. Each month, as the 30 parcels are delivered, Fast Track will be earning $100, and as a result, each month, $100 moves from the account Unearned RevenueUnearned RevenueUnearned revenue is the advance payment received by the firm for goods or services that have yet to be delivered. In other words, it comprises the amount received for the goods delivery that will take place at a future date.read more to Service Revenues. Each month Fast Track’s liability decreases by $100 as it fulfills the agreement by delivering parcels, and each month its revenues on the income statement increase by $100.

Accounting Case Study - 9

Consolidated Income Statement

Consolidated Income Statement

Consolidated Balance Sheet

Consolidated Balance Sheet

Kartik wants to be confident that he understands what Neeraj is telling him regarding the assets on the balance sheet, so he asks Neeraj if the balance sheet is, in effect, showing what the company’s assets are worth. He is surprised to hear Neeraj says that the assets are not reported on the balance sheet at their worth (fair market value). Long-term assets (such as buildings, equipment, and furnishings) are reported at their cost minus the amounts already sent to the income statement as depreciation expenses. The result is that a building’s market value may actually have increased since it was acquired. Still, the amount on the balance sheet has been consistently reduced as the accountant moved some of its cost to depreciation expense on the income statement to achieve the matching principle.

Another asset, office equipment, may have a fair market value that is much smaller than the carrying amount reported on the balance sheet. Accountants view depreciation as an allocation process — allocating the cost to expense to match the costs with the revenues generated by the asset. Accountants do not consider depreciation to be a valuation process.) The asset Land is not depreciatedLand Is Not DepreciatedThe land is a company asset with an infinite useful life. As a result, it is not subject to depreciation, unlike other long-term assets such as buildings and furniture, which have a limited useful life and thus require their costs to be allocated to the accounting period.read more, so it will appear at its original cost even if the land is now worth one hundred times more than its cost.

Short-term (current) asset amounts are likely to be close to their market values since they tend to “turn over” in relatively short periods of time.

Neeraj cautions Kartik that the balance sheet reports only the assets acquired and only at the cost reported in the transaction. This means that a company’s reputation—as excellent as it might be—will not be listed as an asset. It also means that Bill Gates will not appear as an asset on Microsoft’s balance sheet; Nike’s logo will not perform as an asset on its balance sheet, etc. Kartik is surprised to hear this since, in his opinion, these items are perhaps the most valuable things those companies have. Neeraj tells Kartik that he has just learned a valuable lesson that he should remember when reading a balance sheetReading A Balance SheetReading and understanding the balance sheet of the company includes consideration of the accounting equation, knowing different types of assets, shareholders equity and liabilities of the company and analyzing the balance sheet using ratios.read more.

So far, in this “Learn Basic Accounting” training, you have understood Income Statements and Balance Sheets. Let us now look at Cash Flow.

Part 3 – Learn Basic Accounting – Understanding Cash Flows

Because the income statement is prepared under the accrual basis of accounting, the revenues reported may not have been collected. Similarly, the expenses reported on the income statement might not have been paid. You could review the balance sheet changes to determine the facts, but the cash flow statement already has integrated all that information. As a result, savvy business people and investors utilize this important financial statementImportant Financial StatementFinancial 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.

The cash flow statement reports the cash generated and used during the time interval specified in its heading. The period that the company chooses the statement covers. For example, the heading may state, “For one month ended December 31, 2007” or “The Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2009”.

The cash flow statement organizes and reports the cash generated and used in the following categories:

  • Operating activities: converts the items reported on the income statement from the accrual basis of accounting to cash.
  • Investing activities: reports the purchase and sale of long-term investments and property, plant, and equipment.
  • Financing activities: Reports the issuance and repurchase of the company’s bonds and stock and the payment of dividends.
Cash Flow Statements

Cash Provided From or Used By Operating Activities

Learn the basic accounting section of the cash flow statement that reports the company’s net income. It then converts it from the accrual basis to the cash basis by using the changes in the balances of current assetCurrent AssetCurrent 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 and current liability accounts, such as:

In addition to using the changes in current assets and current liabilities, the operating activities section has adjustments for depreciation expenses and the gains and losses on the sale of long-term assets.

Also, check out this detailed note on Cash Flow from Operating ActivitiesCash Flow From Operating ActivitiesCash flow from Operations is the first of the three parts of the cash flow statement that shows the cash inflows and outflows from core operating business in an accounting year. Operating Activities includes cash received from Sales, cash expenses paid for direct costs as well as payment is done for funding working capital.read more.

Cash Provided From or Used By Investing Activities

Learn basic accounting section of the cash flow statement reports changes in the balances of long-term asset accounts, such as:

  • Long-term Investments
  • Land
  • Buildings
  • Equipment
  • Furniture & Fixtures
  • Vehicles

In short, investing activities involve the purchase and/or sale of long-term investments and property, plants, and equipment.

Also, check out this detailed note on Cash Flow from Investments.

Cash Provided From or Used By Financing Activities

Learn basic accounting section of the cash flow statement reports changes in balances of the long-term liability and stockholders’ equity accounts, such as:

In short, financing activitiesFinancing ActivitiesThe various transactions that involve the movement of funds between the company and its investors, owners, or creditors in order to achieve long-term growth are referred to as financing activities. Such activities can be analyzed in the financial section of the company's cash flow statement.read more involve the issuance and/or the repurchase of a company’s bonds or Stock. This section also records Dividend payments.

Also, check out this detailed note on Cash Flow from FinanceCash Flow From FinanceCash flow from financing activities refers to inflow and the outflow of cash from the financing activities like change in capital from securities like equity or preference shares, issuing debt, debentures or repayment of a debt, payment of dividend or interest on securities.read more.

Consolidated Cash Flow Statement

Consolidated Cash Flow Statement

Things to note on Cash Flows

The cash from operating activities is compared to the company’s net income. If the cash from operating activitiesOperating ActivitiesOperating activities generate the majority of the company's cash flows since they are directly linked to the company's core business activities such as sales, distribution, and production.read more is consistently higher than the net income, the company’s net income or earnings are said to be of “high quality.” If the cash from operating activities is less than net income, a red flag is raised as to why the reported net income is not turning into cash.

Some investors believe that “cash is king.” The cash flow statement identifies the cash that is flowing in and out of the company. If a company is consistently generating more cash than it is using, the company will be able to increase its dividend, buy back some of its stock, reduce debt, or acquire another company. All of these are perceived to be good for stockholder value.

What next?

If you learned something new or enjoyed this post, please leave a comment below. Let me know what you think about this Basic Accounting training. Many thanks, and take care. Happy Learning Basic Accounting!

Reader Interactions


  1. Rutuja Raje says


  2. Rutuja Raje says


  3. ridian says

    wow very nice helpful keep up for this value work you are putting out there

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks for your kind words!

  4. Ayodele says

    Wow! this is so enlightening thank you Dheeraj…. I didn’t study Economics or Accounting in school but I’ll say you have bridged the gap.. Namaste.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks for your kind words!

  5. Alabs says

    Thank you very much for this course. Quite interesting and helpful

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks for your kind words!

  6. Mohd says

    Thank you very much ! It was very easy to understand it. Please keep going <3

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      thanks Mohd!

  7. Than Aung says

    Very good Lesson and clear presentation and Many thanks to Dheeraj.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      thanks Than!

  8. Ирина says

    Вы прекрасный учитель! Благодарю Вас!

  9. Bartho PAMEN says

    I really enjoyed the structure and how synthetic the course was.

    Thanks for this free accounting course and I’ll be glad to continue learning more other courses.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      thanks Bartho! Glad you liked this basic accounting course.

  10. Kofi says

    As always, great article. U make it less of an academic exercise by using a real life example and the kind of questions an actual entrepreneur might ask

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thank you Kofi. I am glad you foudn this useful! :-)

  11. SAEED BAFAQIH says

    Many thanks for this great & simple explanation of accounting.

    I believe this course was an added value for my knowledge of accounting.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks Saeed. :-)

  12. Kingsley says

    Good job. Keep it up.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Many Thanks Kingsley!

  13. Segun says

    Thanks for this. A great insight. Keep up the good work.

    • Dheeraj says

      Thank you Segun!

    • marites says

      Thank you! I learn more.

  14. Piyush jain says

    Thanks a lot Dheeraj

    • Dheeraj says

      My pleasure Piyush!

  15. jigar pathak says

    Thanks a bunch Dheeraj…with your streamlined understanding of the subject will it be possible to cover the following topic: shareholders equity & changes due to various corporate actions.

    • DEEPAK says


      • Dheeraj Vaidya says

        Thank you Deepak! :-)

  16. Neeraj says

    Awesome Content as usual in your blog…..great work

    • Dheeraj says

      Thanks Neeraj for the encouragement!

  17. Nakul Tyagi says

    Thank u for revising my concept.

    • Dheeraj says

      Thanks Nakul!

  18. Bhagyashree Gorule says

    Thanks for providing this valuable information..

    • Dheeraj says

      Thank you Bhagyashree!

  19. Arun Chaudhari says

    Hi Dheeraj,
    I enjoy this Financial Statement Story….I am Science graduate… Case study same as the question comes in my mind early when I read Financial reporting Analysis first time…
    Well drive..

  20. Arpit Singh says

    Perfect ……………….too good

    • Dheeraj says

      Thanks Arpit.

  21. ARINJAY KUMAR says

    Thank you very much for this great enthusiasm to spread such information related to Finance.

    Appreciate your efforts!

    • Dheeraj says

      thanks Arinjay :-)

  22. william Frayser says

    This is good stuff….keep sending and thanks for exact materials one needs to move forward in securities research.

    All the best

  23. Piyush SOni says

    Looking at this thing one thing comes in my mind Hats Off to your effort. Thanks

  24. Hisham Yasin says

    Dear dheeraj

    First of all, I would like to thank you very much for the great effort you are making to produce such an informative course and many many more others.

    I’m coming from a financial and investment background, and I found that “there is no valuation model can value what you are giving”. Your efforts are highly appreciated, and the limit for their value is the sky.

    Since you thankfully asked for feedback on this course, I would say that it is a great one. No doubt on this. However, I have 2 points. The first is that the fourth financial statement that is the statement of owners’ equity is not included, which I believe is very important to include and emphasize. This is especially important for new businesses and SMEs in order to highlight on the positive and negative impact of dividend policy, retention, and their impact on growth.

    The second point is related to the structure, in terms of the sequence of introducing the financial statements. If it comes to me, I would never start with presenting the income statement first. On the contrary, I would leave it to be the last, after presenting the other (3) statements.
    I would follow this structure: 1 balance sheet, 2 statement of changes in owners’ equity, 3 cash flow statement, and 4 income statement.

    I believe this structure will give a logical reasoning for the gradual build-up of the financial position from scratch, the cash flow movement at different stages, followed lastly by the impact of the financial performance through the income statement.

    At the end, I stick to what I previously said, there is no valuation model can value what you are giving. All the respect to persons like you. Hats off.

    Hisham Yasin

    • Reza Jafer says

      Hi Hisham,

      I am an Investment Banking Analyst in Canada. The North American standard which is taught in every modelling/interview prep is 1) Income Statement 2) Cash Flow Statement 3) Balance Sheet. Accurately flows through from 1 to the other. You can add more or change it up if you like but this is the standard.


      Really appreciate all your posts. It’s hard to get this level of detail on demand without taking a course or something. Keep it up…please!

  25. Matt says

    Once again an educating post on accounting. Thanks for this case studies. It was helpful indeed.

    • Dheeraj says

      Thanks Matt for the appreciation!

  26. upin says

    Hi dheeraj nice work. Hope that you will come up with others topics with another story. Plz share some financial modeling cases. Thanks once again….

    • Dheeraj says

      Thanks Upin. Surely will work on Financial Modeling cases to share.

  27. yogesh says

    I really appreciate your effort,really I was in dark about the basics of accounting and now I am very clear with this post. Thank you very much and please continue posting such articles to spread the knowledge of accounting to the world.Expecting more such articles from you

    • Dheeraj says

      Thanks Yogesh :-)

  28. Sonal Pandey says

    Thank you Dheeraj for this intuitive explanation of accounting with this nice story. I feel more confident now. I am hoping if you could provide some similar case study for practice.

    • Dheeraj says

      Thanks Sonal. will try and put together a case study similar to the one used here for practice.