The general ledger, sometimes known as the nominal ledger, is the main accounting record of a business which uses double-entry bookkeeping. It will usually include accounts for such items as current assets, fixed assets, liabilities, revenue and expense items, gains and losses. Each General Ledger is divided in two sections. The left hand side lists debit transactions and the right hand side lists credit transactions. This gives a 'T' shape to each individual general ledger account.
A "T" account showing debits on the left and credits on the right.
The general ledger is a collection of the group of accounts that supports the value items shown in the major financial statements. It is built up by posting transactions recorded in the sales daybook, purchases daybook, cash book and general journals daybook. The general ledger can be supported by one or more subsidiary ledgers that provide details for accounts in the general ledger. For instance, an accounts receivable subsidiary ledger would contain a separate account for each credit customer, tracking that customer's balance separately. This subsidiary ledger would then be totalled and compared with its controlling account (in this case, Accounts Receivable) to ensure accuracy as part of the process of preparing a trial balance.
There are seven basic categories in which all accounts are grouped:
The balance sheet and the income statement are both derived from the general ledger. Each account in the general ledger consists of one or more pages. The general ledger is where posting to the accounts occurs. Posting is the process of recording amounts as credits, (right side), and amounts as debits, (left side), in the pages of the general ledger. Additional columns to the right hold a running activity total (similar to a checkbook).
The listing of the account names is called the chart of accounts. The extraction of account balances is called a trial balance. The purpose of the trial balance is, at a preliminary stage of the financial statement preparation process, to ensure the equality of the total debits and credits.
The general ledger should include the date, description and balance or total amount for each account. It is usually divided into at least seven main categories. These categories generally include assets, liabilities, owner's equity, revenue, expenses, gains and losses. The main categories of the general ledger may be further subdivided into subledgers to include additional details of such accounts as cash, accounts receivable, accounts payable, etc.
Because each bookkeeping entry debits one account and credits another account in an equal amount, the double-entry bookkeeping system helps ensure that the general ledger is always in balance, thus maintaining the accounting equation:
Assets = Liabilities + (Shareholders or Owners equity)
The accounting equation is the mathematical structure of the balance sheet. General Ledger & Sub Ledger
Assets have three essential characteristics:
The probable present benefit involves a capacity, singly or in combination with other assets, in the case of profit oriented enterprises, to contribute directly or indirectly to future net cash flows, and, in the case of not-for-profit organizations, to provide services;
The entity can control access to the benefit;
The transaction or event giving rise to the entity's right to, or control of, the benefit has already occurred.
It is not necessary, in the financial accounting sense of the term, for control of assets to the benefit to be legally enforceable for a resource to be an asset, provided the entity can control its use by other means.
It is important to understand that in an accounting sense an asset is not the same as ownership. Assets are equal to "equity" "liabilities."
The accounting equation relates assets, liabilities, and owner's equity:
Assets = Liabilities + Stockholder's Equity(Owners' Equity)
The accounting equation is the mathematical structure of the balance sheet.
Assets are listed on the balance sheet. Similarly, in economics an asset is any form in which wealth can be held.
Probably the most accepted accounting definition of asset is the one used by the International Accounting Standards Board. The following is a quotation from the IFRS Framework: "An asset is a resource controlled by the enterprise as a result of past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the enterprise."
Assets are formally controlled and managed within larger organizations via the use of asset tracking tools. These monitor the purchasing, upgrading, servicing, licensing, disposal etc., of both physical and non-physical assets. In a company's balance sheet certain divisions are required by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which vary from country to country.
Current assets are cash and other assets expected to be converted to cash, sold, or consumed either in a year or in the operating cycle, without disturbing the normal operations of a business. These assets are continually turned over in the course of a business during normal business activity. There are 5 major items included into current assets:
The phrase net current assets (also called working capital) is often used and refers to the total of current assets less the total of current liabilities.
Often referred to simply as "investments". Long-term investments are to be held for many years and are not intended to be disposed of in the near future. This group usually consists of four types of investments:
Different forms of insurance may also be treated as long term investments.
Also referred to as PPE (property, plant, and equipment), these are purchased for continued and long-term use in earning profit in a business. This group includes as an asset land, buildings, machinery, furniture, tools, and certain wasting resources e.g., timberland and minerals. They are written off against profits over their anticipated life by charging depreciation expenses (with exception of land assets). Accumulated depreciation is shown in the face of the balance sheet or in the notes.
These are also called capital assets in management accounting.
Intangible assets lack physical substance and usually are very hard to evaluate. They include patents, copyrights, franchises, goodwill, trademarks, trade names, etc. These assets are (according to US GAAP) amortized to expense over 5 to 40 years with the exception of goodwill.
Websites are treated differently in different countries and may fall under either tangible or intangible assets.
Tangible assets are those that have a physical substance and can be touched, such as currencies, buildings, real estate, vehicles, inventories, equipment and precious metals.
In financial accounting, a liability is defined as an obligation of an entity arising from past transactions or events, the settlement of which may result in the transfer or use of assets, provision of services or other yielding of economic benefits in the future.
All type of borrowing from persons or banks for improving a business or person income which is payable during short or long time.
They embody a duty or responsibility to others that entails settlement by future transfer or use of assets, provision of services or other yielding of economic benefits, at a specified or determinable date, on occurrence of a specified event, or on demand;
The duty or responsibility obligates the entity leaving it little or no discretion to avoid it; and,
The transaction or event obligating the entity has already occurred.
Liabilities in financial accounting need not be legally enforceable; but can be based on equitable obligations or constructive obligations. An equitable obligation is a duty based on ethical or moral considerations. A constructive obligation is an obligation that can be inferred from a set of facts in a particular situation as opposed to a contractually based obligation.
The accounting equation relates assets, liabilities, and owner's equity:
Assets = Liabilities + Owner's Equity
The accounting equation is the mathematical structure of the balance sheet.
The Australian Accounting Research Foundation defines liabilities as: "future sacrifice of economic benefits that the entity is presently obliged to make to other entities as a result of past transactions and other past events."
Probably the most accepted accounting definition of liability is the one used by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The following is a quotation from IFRS Framework:
A liability is a present obligation of the enterprise arising from past events, the settlement of which is expected to result in an outflow from the enterprise of resources embodying economic benefits
Regulations as to the recognition of liabilities are different all over the world, but are roughly similar to those of the IASB.
Examples of types of liabilities include: money owing on a loan, money owing on a mortgage, or an IOU.
Liabilities are debts and obligations of the business they represent creditors claim on business assests.
Example of Liabilities All kinds of payable 1) Notes payable - an written promise. 2) Accounts Payable - an oral promise. 3) Interests Payable. 4) Sales Payable.
Liabilities are reported on a balance sheet and are usually divided into two categories:
Current liabilities — these liabilities are reasonably expected to be liquidated within a year. They usually include payables such as wages, accounts, taxes, and accounts payables, unearned revenue when adjusting entries, portions of long-term bonds to be paid this year, short-term obligations (e.g. from purchase of equipment), and others.
Long-term liabilities — these liabilities are reasonably expected not to be liquidated within a year. They usually include issued long-term bonds, notes payables, long-term leases, pension obligations, and long-term product warranties.
Liabilities of uncertain value or timing are called provisions - see Provision (accounting).
Money deposited with a bank becomes a liability of the bank, because the bank has an obligation to pay the depositor the money deposited; usually on demand. The money deposited is an asset for the depositor; but this asset will not be recorded by the bank because it is not the bank's asset. If the depositor maintains accounting records separate and apart from the bank account maintained by the bank, only then will the asset be recorded.
A debit increases an asset; and a credit decreases an asset. A debit decreases a liability; and credit increases a liability.
When a bank receives a deposit it credits a liability account called "deposits" and credits the depositor's bank account for the same amount (the bank's "deposits" account is the sum of all of the amounts credited to all of its customer's individual bank accounts). A deposit received by a bank is credited because the bank's liability to its customer, the depositor, increases. When a bank informs its depositor that it has debited the depositor's bank account, it means that the depositor's bank account has been decreased by the amount debited.
In accounting and finance, equity is the residual claim or interest of the most junior class of investors in an assets, after all liabilities are paid. If valuations placed on assets do not exceed liabilities, negative equity exists. In an accounting context, Shareholders' equity (or stockholders' equity, shareholders' funds, shareholders' capital or similar terms) represents the remaining interest in assets of a company, spread among individual shareholders of common or preferred stock.
At the start of a business, owners put some funding into the business to finance assets. This creates liability on the business in the shape of capital as business is a separate entity from its owners. Businesses can be considered to be, for accounting purposes, sums of liabilities and assets; this is the accounting equation. After liabilities have been accounted for, the positive remainder is deemed the owner's interest in the business.
This definition is helpful to understand the liquidation process in case of bankruptcy. At first, all the secured creditors are paid against proceeds from assets. Afterwards, a series of creditors, ranked in priority sequence, have the next claim/right on the residual proceeds. Ownership equity is the last or residual claim against assets, paid only after all other creditors are paid. In such cases where even creditors could not get enough money to pay their bills, and nothing is left over to reimburse owners' equity. Thus owners' equity is reduced to zero. Ownership equity is also known as risk capital, liable capital and equity.
Equity investments generally refers to the buying and holding of shares of stock on a stock market by individuals and firms in anticipation of income from dividends and capital gain as the value of the stock rises. It also sometimes refers to the acquisition of equity (ownership) participation in a private (unlisted) company or a startup (a company being created or newly created). When the investment is in infant companies, it is referred to as venture capital investing and is generally understood to be higher risk than investment in listed going-concern situations.
The equities held by private individuals are often held via mutual funds or other forms of pooled investment vehicle, many of which have quoted prices that are listed in financial newspapers or magazines; the mutual funds are typically managed by prominent fund management firms (e.g. Schroders, Fidelity Investments or the Vanguard Group). Such holdings allow individual investors to obtain the diversification of the fund(s) and to obtain the skill of the professional fund managers in charge of the fund(s). An alternative, usually employed by large private investors and pension funds, is to hold shares directly; in the institutional environment many clients who own portfolios have what are called segregated funds as opposed to, or in addition to, the pooled e.g. mutual fund alternative.
In financial accounting, it is the owners' interest on the assets of the enterprise after deducting all its liabilities. It appears on the balance sheet / Statement of Financial Position, one of the four primary financial statements.
Ownership equity includes both tangible and intangible items (such as brand names and reputation / goodwill).
Accounts listed under ownership equity include (example):
Share capital, common stock
The book value of equity will change in the case of the following events:
Changes in the firm's assets relative to its liabilities. For example, a profitable firm receives more cash for its products than the cost at which it produced these goods, and so in the act of making a profit it is increasing its assets.
Depreciation. Equity will decrease, for example, when machinery depreciates, which is registered as a decline in the value of the asset, and on the liabilities side of the firm's balance sheet as a decrease in shareholders' equity.
Issue of new equity in which the firm obtains new capital increases the total shareholders' equity.
Share repurchases, in which a firm gives back money to its investors, reducing on the asset side its financial assets, and on the liability side the shareholders' equity. For practical purposes (except for its tax consequences), share repurchasing is similar to a dividend payment, as both consist of the firm giving money back to investors. Rather than giving money to all shareholders immediately in the form of a dividend payment, a share repurchase reduces the number of shares (increases the size of each share) in future income and distributions.
Dividends paid out to preferred stock owners are considered an expense to be subtracted from net income (from the point of view of the common share owners).
Other reasons. Assets and liabilities can change without any effect being measured in the Income Statement under certain circumstances; for example, changes in accounting rules may be applied retroactively. Sometimes assets bought and held in other countries get translated back into the reporting currency at different exchange rates, resulting in a changed value.
When the owners are shareholders, the interest can be called shareholders' equity; the accounting remains the same, and it is ownership equity spread out among shareholders. If all shareholders are in one and the same class, they share equally in ownership equity from all perspectives. However, shareholders may allow different priority ranking among themselves by the use of share classes, and options. This complicates both analysis for stock valuation, and accounting.
The individual investor is interested not only in the total changes to equity, but also in the increase / decrease in the value of his own personal share of the equity. This reconciliation of equity should be done both in total and on a per share basis.
Equity (beg. of year)
+ net income inter net money you gained
− dividends how much money you gained or lost so far
+/− gain/loss from changes to the number of shares outstanding more or less
= Equity (end of year) if you get more money during the year or less or not anything
In the stock market, market price per share does not correspond to the equity per share calculated in the accounting statements. Stock valuations, often much higher, are based on other considerations related to the business' operating cashflow, profits and future prospects; some factors are derived from the accounting statements. Thus, there is little or no correlation between the equity seen in financial statements and the stock valuation of the business.
Individuals can also use market valuations to calculate equity in real estate. An owner refers to his or her equity in a property as the difference between the market price of a property and the liability attached to the property (mortgage or home equity loan).
In business, revenue or revenues is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. In many countries, such as the United Kingdom, revenue is referred to as turnover. Some companies receive revenue from interest, dividends or royalties paid to them by other companies. Revenue may refer to business income in general, or it may refer to the amount, in a monetary unit, received during a period of time, as in "Last year, Company X had revenue of $32 million."
Profits or net income generally imply total revenue minus total expenses in a given period. In accounting, revenue is often referred to as the "top line" due to its position on the income statement at the very top. This is to be contrasted with the "bottom line" which denotes net income.
For non-profit organizations, annual revenue may be referred to as gross receipts. This revenue includes donations from individuals and corporations, support from government agencies, income from activities related to the organization's mission, and income from fundraising activities, membership dues, and financial investments such as stock shares in companies. For government, revenue includes gross proceeds from income taxes on companies and individuals, excise duties, customs duties, other taxes, sales of goods and services, dividends and interest.
In general usage, revenue is income received by an organization in the form of cash or cash equivalents. Sales revenue or revenues is income received from selling goods or services over a period of time. Tax revenue is income that a government receives from taxpayers.
In more formal usage, revenue is a calculation or estimation of periodic income based on a particular standard accounting practice or the rules established by a government or government agency. Two common accounting methods, cash basis accounting and accrual basis accounting, do not use the same process for measuring revenue. Corporations that offer shares for sale to the public are usually required by law to report revenue based on generally accepted accounting principles or International Financial Reporting Standards.
In a double-entry bookkeeping system, revenue accounts are general ledger accounts that are summarized periodically under the heading Revenue or Revenues on an income statement. Revenue account names describe the type of revenue, such as "Repair service revenue", "Rent revenue earned" or "Sales".
Business revenue is income from activities that are ordinary for a particular corporation, company, partnership, or sole-proprietorship. For some businesses, such as manufacturing and/or grocery, most revenue is from the sale of goods. Service businesses such as law firms and barber shops receive most of their revenue from rendering services. Lending businesses such as car rentals and banks receive most of their revenue from fees and interest generated by lending assets to other organizations or individuals.
Revenues from a business's primary activities are reported as sales, sales revenue or net sales. This excludes product returns and discounts for early payment of invoices. Most businesses also have revenue that is incidental to the business's primary activities, such as interest earned on deposits in a demand account. This is included in revenue but not included in net sales. Sales revenue does not include sales tax collected by the business.
Is revenue from peripheral (non-core) operations. For example, a company that manufactures and sells automobiles would record the revenue from the sale of an automobile as "regular" revenue. If that same company also rented a portion of one of its buildings, it would record that revenue as “other revenue” and disclose it separately on its income statement to show that it is from something other than its core operations.
Revenue is a crucial part of financial statement analysis. A company's performance is measured to the extent to which its asset inflows (revenues) compare with its asset outflows (expenses). Net Income is the result of this equation, but revenue typically enjoys equal attention during a standard earnings call. If a company displays solid “top-line growth,” analysts could view the period's performance as positive even if earnings growth, or “bottom-line growth” is stagnant. Conversely, high income growth would be tainted if a company failed to produce significant revenue growth. Consistent revenue growth, as well as income growth, is considered essential for a company's publicly traded stock to be attractive to investors.
Revenue is used as an indication of earnings quality. There are several financial ratios attached to it, the most important being gross margin and profit margin. Also, companies use revenue to determine bad debt expense using the income statement method.
Price / Sales is sometimes used as a substitute for a Price to earnings ratio when earnings are negative and the P/E is meaningless. Though a company may have negative earnings, it almost always has positive revenue.
Gross Margin is a calculation of revenue less cost of goods sold, and is used to determine how well sales cover direct variable costs relating to the production of goods.
Net income / sales, or profit margin, is calculated by investors to determine how efficiently a company turns revenues into profits.
Government revenue includes all amounts of money received from sources outside the government entity. Large governments usually have an agency or department responsible for collecting government revenue from companies and individuals.
Government revenue may also include Reserve Bank currency which is printed.This is recorded as an advance to the retail bank together with a corresponding currency in circulation expense entry.The income derives from the Official Cash rate payable by the retail banks for instruments such as 90 day bills.There is a question as to whether using generic business based accounting standards can give a fair and accurate picture of government accounts in that with a monetary policy statement to the reserve bank directing a positive inflation rate the expense provision for the return of currency to the reserve bank is largely symbolic in that to totally cancel the currency in circulation provision all currency would have to be returned to the reserve bank and cancelled.
In common usage, an expense or expenditure is an outflow of money to another person or group to pay for an item or service, or for a category of costs. For a tenant rent is an expense. For students or parents, tuition is an expense. Buying food, clothing, furniture or an automobile is often referred to as an expense. An expense is a cost that is "paid" or "remitted", usually in exchange for something of value. Something that seems to cost a great deal is "expensive". Something that seems to cost little is "inexpensive".
In accounting, expense has a very specific meaning. It is an outflow of cash or other valuable assets from a person or company to another person or company. This outflow of cash is generally one side of a trade for products or services that have equal or better current or future value to the buyer than to the seller. Technically, an expense is an event in which an asset is used up or a liability is incurred. In terms of the accounting equation, expenses reduce owners' equity. The International Accounting Standards Board defines expenses as
...decreases in economic benefits during the accounting period in the form of outflows or depletions of assets or incurrences of liabilities that result in decreases in equity, other than those relating to distributions to equity participants.
In double-entry bookkeeping, expenses are recorded as a debit to an expense account (an income statement account) and a credit to either an asset account or a liability account, which are balance sheet accounts. An expense decreases assets or increases liabilities. Typical business expenses include salaries, utilities, depreciation of capital assets, and interest expense for loans. The purchase of a capital asset such as a building or equipment is not an expense.
In a cash flow statement, expenditures are divided into operating, investing, and financing expenditures.
Operational expense (OPEX)—salary for employees
Capital expenditure (CAPEX)—buying equipment
Financing expense — interest expense for loans and bonds
An important issue in accounting is whether a particular expenditure is classified as an expense, which is reported immediately on the business's income statement; or whether it is classified as a capital expenditure or an expenditure subject to depreciation, which is not an expense. These latter types of expenditures are reported as expenses when they are depreciated by businesses that use accrual-basis accounting, which is most large businesses and all C corporations.
The most common interpretation of whether an expense is of capital or income variety depends upon its term. Viewing an expense as a purchase helps alleviate this distinction. If, soon after the "purchase", that which was expensed holds no value then it is usually identified as an expense. If it retains value soon and long after the purchase, it will be viewed as capital with life that should be amortized depreciated and retained on the Balance Sheet.
For tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Code permits the deduction of business expenses in the taxable year in which those expenses are paid or incurred. This is in contrast to capital expenditures that are paid or incurred to acquire an asset. Expenses are costs that do not acquire, improve, or prolong the life of an asset. For example, a person who buys a new truck for a business would be making a capital expenditure because they have acquired a new business-related asset. This cost could not be deducted in the current taxable year. However, the gas the person buys during that year to fuel that truck would be considered a deductible expense. The cost of purchasing gas does not improve or prolong the life of the truck but simply allows the truck to run.
Even if something qualifies as an expense, it is not necessarily deductible. As a general rule, expenses are deductible if they relate to a taxpayer's trade or business activity or if the expense is paid or incurred in the production or collection of income from an activity that does not rise to the level of a trade or business (investment activity).
Section 162(a) of the Internal Revenue Code is the deduction provision for business or trade expenses. In order to be a trade or business expense and qualify for a deduction, it must satisfy 5 elements in addition to qualifying as an expense. It must be (1) ordinary and (2) necessary (Welch v. Helvering, 290 U.S. 111, defines this as necessary for the development of the business at least in that they were appropriate and helpful). Expenses paid to preserve one's reputation do not appear to qualify (Welch v. Helvering). In addition, it must be (3) paid or incurred during the taxable year. It must be paid (4) in carrying on (meaning not prior to the start of a business or in creating it) (5) a trade or business activity. To qualify as a trade or business activity, it must be continuous and regular, and profit must be the primary motive.
Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code is the deduction provision for investment expenses. In addition to being an expense and satisfying elements 1-4 above, expenses are deductible as an investment activity under Section 212 of the Internal Revenue Code if they are (1) for the production or collection of income, (2) for the management, conservation, or maintenance of property held for the production of income, or (3) in connection with the determination, collection, or refund of any tax.
In investing, one controversy that mounted throughout 2002 and 2003 was whether companies should report the granting of stock options to employees as an expense on the income statement, or should not report this at all in the income statement, which is what had previously been the norm.
In finance, gain is a profit or an increase in value of an investment such as a stock or bond. Gain is calculated by fair market value or the proceeds from the sale of the investment minus the sum of the purchase price and all costs associated with it. If the investment is not converted into cash or another asset, the gain is then called an unrealized gain.
In accounting, a gain is a change in the value of an asset (increase) or liability (decrease) resulting from something other than the earnings process. While gains are often associated with investments, derivatives and other financial instruments, they can also result from something as simple as selling a production asset (such as a machine) for more than its net book (accounting) value.
As such, gains are similar to, but nonetheless significantly different from, revenues. The difference lies in the existence of intent to earn a profit. Thus, revenues result from the intentional producing and delivering of goods and/or rendering services, while gains can result from incidental occurrences and often-random events (such as the change in a stock's market price, a gift or a chance discovery).
Finally, the term “realized” also has a slightly different meaning when used in the accounting context (the accounting context; that income/revenue should only be counted when realized, if unrealized the item should be counted as an asset [income receivable] on the Balance Sheet). Under US GAAP (US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) or IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards), a gain is “realized” when the market value of some asset or liability (such as a financial instrument) changes, even if the reporting entity continues to hold that asset or liability. This “revaluation” concept is also the basis for “fair value accounting” (which was originally designed to capture the value of derivatives and other financial instruments).
The term negative return is used in business or finance to describe a loss, i.e., a negative return on investment. By extension the term is also used for a project that is not worthwhile, even in a non-economic sense.
Chart of accounts (COA) is a list of the accounts used by an organization. The list can be numerical, alphabetic, or alpha-numeric. The structure and headings of accounts should assist in consistent posting of transactions. Each nominal ledger account is unique to allow its ledger to be located. The list is typically arranged in the order of the customary appearance of accounts in the financial statements, profit and loss accounts followed by balance sheet accounts.
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