To make sure that financial statements are easy to understand, there is a set of rules and practices that is established, which is known as the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This has been developed to provide a basic guideline for the rules of accounting because I think it’s fair to say that it can get confusing at times.
There are a lot of variations to the meaning so here is the best answer. It’s the generally accepted accounting rules and procedures that are necessary to define accounting practice. Basically it’s a set of theories that accountants come to accept, and there are always controversies with some methods between accountants like any other field of study.
Accounting is a discipline that is always growing and changing so it’s a good idea to keep up to date with all of the trends that are going on. Since the management prepares the financial statements of a company it is possible that a financial statement can be altered to give a company a particular boost.
So, that’s why the companies that sell their ownership to the public needs to get their financial statements audited by a public certified accountant. A certified public accountant (CPA) are licensed through the sate for the same exact reason lawyers and doctors are, so they and protect the public by providing the highest quality of professional service possible.
The reason why CPAs are used is because they have no connection with the company and are independent. They have zero financing ties with the company. Some firms that employ a lot of certified public accountants include Deloitte & Touch http://www.deloitte.com, KPMG http://www.us.kpmg.com/index.asp, and PricewaterhouseCoopers http://www.pwcglobal.com/.
An accountant with no strings attached or is independent commonly performs an audit, which is evaluating a companies financial statements, product, accounting systems, and records. The main purpose of an audit is to make sure that the financial statements have been properly prepared according to the excepted accounting rules. Keep in mind; since accounting is not a precise science it has room for interpretation according to the GAPP.
However, that doesn’t mean that the accountants report should contain substantial errors in the financial report, but more like that for the most report it is reliable for creditors to take a look at. An accountant can make a decision only when the financial statements conform to the guidelines of GAAP. In the past creditors, banks, and investors tend to favor an auditor when they are deciding to invest in a company or give loans, because of their independence.
The individualistic audit is an extremely crucial factor in the growth of financial markets internationally. Also, many organizations can directly or indirectly influence a GAAP. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) http://www.fasb.org/ is the most critical body for the development and issuing of rules on accounting practice.
The website I previously listed is extremely critical and you can attend seminars online for no cost, and also stay up to date with the rules. This independent body issues the Statements of Financial Accounting Standards. Next, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) http://www.aicpa.org/index.htm is the official professional association for certified accountants.
It’s the largest CPA organization that exists in America and heavily influence accounting practices through its senior committees. The Securities and Exchange Commission is the agency of the federal government that legally has the power to set and execute accounting practices for companies that sell security to the public, and it has a large impact on accounting practice.
Next, the governmental accounting standard (GASB) http://www.gasb.org/ is critical for accounting because its main job is to issue the standards for accounting to the local and state governments in the United States. However, a lot of these organizations are focused on the rules in regulations in the United States.
There are a lot of businesses and accountants internationally so that’s why the International Accounting Standard Board http://www.iasb.org/ (IASB) was formed. It was approved by more then 25 international agencies. The U.S laws that analyze the revenues for the cost of operating a business can also affect accounting practice. It’s no question that the major provider for income for the government comes from income tax.
The income tax rules are heavily applies by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) http://www.irs.gov/. Sometimes these rules actually cause a conflict with the accepted rules of accounting. A lot of businesses use accounting practices because it’s a requirement by tax law. Also, companies can use the rules of tax law to their advantage financially. Accounting also has laws of conduct for profession, and one extremely important one is ethics.
A nice website dealing with the issues of ethics is http://www.ethics.org/.
It touches bases on questions that help determine if something is either right or wrong, and is based on moral decisions. Most people are faced with several ethical issues each day and, and some ethical activities could be on the range of illegal. If a business decides to use false or misleading advertising, or to bribe customers into giving them testimonials for a specific product, then they could be acting in an unethical manner.
The ethics of a company could also be a result of the employees so that’s why it’s always a good idea to run a background check of who you are hiring, whether it’s online or offline. Professional ethics is the guidelines that apply to the conduct of individuals of a certain profession.
Similar to the ethical actions of a company, the ethical actions of an individual is a decision. As being a member of an organization, accountants have to take the responsibility not only to their customers and employers, but also to the general public to act in the greatest ethical way possible. Accountants are very good at following professional ethics because they are the second professional group as having the largest ethical standards, with clergy being the highest, no surprises about that one.
It is important for individuals who decide to become an accountant to have the highest levels of professionalism as possible. To enforce that its prestigious members are following the rules, the AICPA along with each state have adopted some codes of professional conduct that certified public accountants have to follow. Some simple rules are being responsible to the people that depend on the trust of accountants, such as creditors and investors.
When working with people the accountant must act with integrity which means that they are honest, and the individuals gain from the visit with the accountant. The accountant must display objectivity which means that they are intellectually honest, and they must remain independent which means that they must avoid any relationship with the business or individual because it will damage the accountant’s principles.