Definition of Accounting system
A set of accounts that summarize the transactions of a business that have been recorded on source documents.
an accounting information system for successively higher-level managers about the performance of segments or subunits under the control
of each specific manager
‘Buckets’ within the ledger, part of the accounting system. Each account contains similar transactions (line items) that are used for the production of financial statements. Or commonly used as an abbreviation for financial statements.
a process using multiple cost drivers to predict and allocate costs to products and services;
an accounting system collecting financial and operational
data on the basis of the underlying nature and extent
of business activities; an accounting information and
costing system that identifies the various activities performed
in an organization, collects costs on the basis of
the underlying nature and extent of those activities, and
assigns costs to products and services based on consumption
of those activities by the products and services
The national accounting system that records economic activity such as GDP and related measures.
The document that records a transaction and forms the basis for recording in a business’s
Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.
A collection of systems and processes used to record, report and interpret business transactions.
A broad, all-inclusive term that refers to the methods and procedures
of financial record keeping by a business (or any entity); it also
refers to the main functions and purposes of record keeping, which are
to assist in the operations of the entity, to provide necessary information
to managers for making decisions and exercising control, to measure
profit, to comply with income and other tax laws, and to prepare financial
Administrative proceedings or litigation releases that entail an accounting or auditing-related violation of the securities laws.
An alteration in the accounting methodology or estimates used in
the reporting of financial statements, usually requiring discussion in a footnote
attached to the financial statements.
Earnings of a firm as reported on its income statement.
A business for which a separate set of accounting records is being
The representation of the double-entry system of accounting such that assets are equal to liabilities plus capital.
The formula Assets = Liabilities + Equity.
An equation that reflects the two-sided nature of a
business entity, assets on the one side and the sources of assets on the
other side (assets = liabilities + owners’ equity). The assets of a business
entity are subject to two types of claims that arise from its two basic
sources of capital—liabilities and owners’ equity. The accounting equation
is the foundation for double-entry bookkeeping, which uses a
scheme for recording changes in these basic types of accounts as either
debits or credits such that the total of accounts with debit balances
equals the total of accounts with credit balances. The accounting equation
also serves as the framework for the statement of financial condition,
or balance sheet, which is one of the three fundamental financial
statements reported by a business.
Unintentional mistakes in financial statements. Accounted for by restating
the prior-year financial statements that are in error.
The change in the value of a firm's foreign currency denominated accounts due to a
change in exchange rates.
Total liabilities exceed total assets. A firm with a negative net worth is insolvent on
Intentional misstatements or omissions of amounts or disclosures in
financial statements done to deceive financial statement users. The term is used interchangeably with fraudulent financial reporting.
The ease and quickness with which assets can be converted to cash.
The period of time for which financial statements are produced – see also financial year.
The principles, bases, conventions, rules and procedures adopted by management in preparing and presenting financial statements.
Accounting rate of return (ARR)
A method of investment appraisal that measures
the profit generated as a percentage of the
investment – see return on investment.
accounting rate of return (ARR)
the rate of earnings obtained on the average capital investment over the life of a capital project; computed as average annual profits divided by average investment; not based on cash flow
The recording of revenue when earned and expenses when
incurred, irrespective of the dates on which the associated cash flows occur.
Well, frankly, accrual is not a good descriptive
term. Perhaps the best way to begin is to mention that accrual-basis
accounting is much more than cash-basis accounting. Recording only the
cash receipts and cash disbursement of a business would be grossly
inadequate. A business has many assets other than cash, as well as
many liabilities, that must be recorded. Measuring profit for a period as
the difference between cash inflows from sales and cash outflows for
expenses would be wrong, and in fact is not allowed for most businesses
by the income tax law. For management, income tax, and financial
reporting purposes, a business needs a comprehensive record-keeping
system—one that recognizes, records, and reports all the assets and liabilities
of a business. This all-inclusive scope of financial record keeping
is referred to as accrual-basis accounting. Accrual-basis accounting
records sales revenue when sales are made (though cash is received
before or after the sales) and records expenses when costs are incurred
(though cash is paid before or after expenses are recorded). Established
financial reporting standards require that profit for a period
must be recorded using accrual-basis accounting methods. Also, these
authoritative standards require that in reporting its financial condition a
business must use accrual-basis accounting.
A method of accounting in which profit is calculated as the difference between income when it is earned and expenses when they are incurred.
actual cost system
a valuation method that uses actual direct
material, direct labor, and overhead charges in determining
the cost of Work in Process Inventory
A forceful and intentional choice and application of accounting principles
done in an effort to achieve desired results, typically higher current earnings, whether the practices followed are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles or not. Aggressive
accounting practices are not alleged to be fraudulent until an administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding takes that step and alleges, in particular, that an intentional, material misstatement
has taken place in an effort to deceive financial statement readers.
Automated storage/retrieval system
A racking system using automated systems
to load and unload the racks.
Average accounting return
The average project earnings after taxes and depreciation divided by the average
book value of the investment during its life.
business intelligence (BI) system
a formal process for gathering and analyzing information and producing intelligence to meet decision making needs; requires information about
internal processes as well as knowledge, technologies, and competitors
A method of accounting in which profit is calculated as the difference between income
when it is received and expenses when they are paid.
Change in Accounting Estimate
A change in accounting that occurs as the result of new information
or as additional experience is acquired—for example, a change in the residual values
or useful lives of fixed assets. A change in accounting estimate is accounted for prospectively,
over the current and future accounting periods affected by the change.
Change in Accounting Estimate
A change in the implementation of an existing accounting
policy. A common example would be extending the useful life or changing the expected residual
value of a fixed asset. Another would be making any necessary adjustments to allowances for
uncollectible accounts, warranty obligations, and reserves for inventory obsolescense.
Change in Accounting Principle
A change from one generally accepted accounting principle to another generally accepted accounting principle—for example, a change from capitalizing expenditures
to expensing them. A change in accounting principle is accounted for in most instances
as a cumulative-effect–type adjustment.
a system using transfer prices; see transfer
Clearing House Automated Payments System (CHAPS)
A computerized clearing system for sterling funds
that began operations in 1984. It includes 14 member banks, nearly 450 participating banks, and is one of the
clearing companies within the structure of the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS).
Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS)
An international wire transfer system for high-value
payments operated by a group of major banks.
Constant dollar accounting
A method for restating financial statements by reducing or
increasing reported revenues and expenses by changes in the consumer price index,
thereby achieving greater comparability between accounting periods.
Method of accounting for sales or service agreements where completion
requires an extended period.
a discipline that focuses on techniques or
methods for determining the cost of a project, process, or
thing through direct measurement, arbitrary assignment, or
systematic and rational allocation
Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB)
a body established by Congress in 1970 to promulgate cost accounting
standards for defense contractors and federal agencies; disbanded
in 1980 and reestablished in 1988; it previously issued
pronouncements still carry the weight of law for those
organizations within its jurisdiction
cost control system
a logical structure of formal and/or informal
activities designed to analyze and evaluate how well
expenditures are managed during a period
cost management system (CMS)
a set of formal methods
developed for planning and controlling an organization’s
cost-generating activities relative to its goals and objectives
cost object anything to which costs attach or are related
Creative Accounting Practices
Any and all steps used to play the financial numbers game, including
the aggressive choice and application of accounting principles, both within and beyond
the boundaries of generally accepted accounting principles, and fraudulent financial reporting.
Also included are steps taken toward earnings management and income smoothing. See Financial
Creative Acquisition Accounting
The allocation to expense of a greater portion of the price
paid for another company in an acquisition in an effort to reduce acquisition-year earnings and
boost future-year earnings. Acquisition-year expense charges include purchased in-process research
and development and an overly aggressive accrual of costs required to effect the acquisition.
Cumulative Effect of a Change in Accounting Principle
The change in earnings of previous years
based on the assumption that a newly adopted accounting principle had previously been in use.
Cumulative Effect of Accounting Change
The change in earnings of previous years assuming
that the newly adopted accounting principle had previously been in use.
See accrual-basis accounting.
Du Pont system
A breakdown of ROE and ROA into component ratios.
Dupont system of financial control
Highlights the fact that return on assets (ROA) can be expressed in terms
of the profit margin and asset turnover.
Electronic Federal Tax Payment Systems (EFTPS)
An electronic funds transfer system used by businesses to remit taxes to the government.
enterprise resource planning (ERP) system
a packaged software program that allows a company to
(1) automate and integrate the majority of its business processes,
(2) share common data and practices across the entire enterprise, and
(3) produce and access information in a realtime environment
Enterprise resource planning system
A computer system used to manage all company
resources in the receipt, completion, and delivery of customer orders.
European Monetary System (EMS)
An exchange arrangement formed in 1979 that involves the currencies
of European Union member countries.
Federal Reserve System
The central bank of the U.S., established in 1913, and governed by the Federal
Reserve Board located in Washington, D.C. The system includes 12 Federal Reserve Banks and is authorized
to regulate monetary policy in the U.S. as well as to supervise Federal Reserve member banks, bank holding
companies, international operations of U.S.banks, and U.S.operations of foreign banks.
Federal Reserve System
The central banking authority responsible for monetary policy in the United States.
The production of financial statements, primarily for those interested parties who are external to the business.
a discipline in which historical, monetary
transactions are analyzed and recorded for use in the
preparation of the financial statements (balance sheet, income
statement, statement of owners’/stockholders’ equity,
and statement of cash flows); it focuses primarily on the
needs of external users (stockholders, creditors, and regulatory
flexible manufacturing system (FMS)
a production system in which a single factory manufactures numerous variations
of products through the use of computer-controlled
focused factory arrangement
an arrangement in which a
vendor (which may be an external party or an internal corporate
division) agrees to provide a limited number of
products according to specifications or to perform a limited
number of unique services to a company that is typically
operating on a just-in-time system
Up-front gain recognized from the securitization and sale of a pool
of loans. Profit is recorded for the excess of the sales price and the present value of the estimated
interest income that is expected to be received on the loans above the amounts funded on the loans
and the present value of the interest agreed to be paid to the buyers of the loan-backed securities.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP)
A technical accounting term that encompasses the
conventions, rules, and procedures necessary to define accepted accounting practice at a particular time.
Generally accepted accounting principles
The rules that accountants follow when processing accounting transactions and creating financial reports. The rules are primarily
derived from regulations promulgated by the various branches of the AICPA Council.
generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)
This important term
refers to the body of authoritative rules for measuring profit and preparing
financial statements that are included in financial reports by a business
to its outside shareowners and lenders. The development of these
guidelines has been evolving for more than 70 years. Congress passed a
law in 1934 that bestowed primary jurisdiction over financial reporting
by publicly owned businesses to the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC). But the SEC has largely left the development of GAAP to the
private sector. Presently, the Financial accounting Standards Board is
the primary (but not the only) authoritative body that makes pronouncements
on GAAP. One caution: GAAP are like a movable feast. New rules
are issued fairly frequently, old rules are amended from time to time,
and some rules established years ago are discarded on occasion. Professional
accountants have a heck of time keeping up with GAAP, that’s for
sure. Also, new GAAP rules sometimes have the effect of closing the barn
door after the horse has left. accounting abuses occur, and only then,
after the damage has been done, are new rules issued to prevent such
abuses in the future.
generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)
Procedures for preparing financial statements.
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
A common set of standards and procedures
for the preparation of general-purpose financial statements that either have been established
by an authoritative accounting rule-making body, such as the Financial accounting
Standards Board (FASB), or over time have become accepted practice because of their universal
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
GAAP is the term used to describe the underlying rules basis on which financial statements are normally prepared. This is codified in the Handbook of The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
hybrid costing system
a costing system combining characteristics
of both job order and process costing systems
Imputation tax system
Arrangement by which investors who receive a dividend also receive a tax credit for
corporate taxes that the firm has paid.
Canada's bank machine and electronic debit system. If you use your bank card at a bank machine which displays the Interac symbol (and that bank machine is not your bank's machine), you will be charged a fee.
internal accounting controls
Refers to forms used and procedures
established by a business—beyond what would be required for the
record-keeping function of accounting—that are designed to prevent
errors and fraud. Two examples of internal controls are (1) requiring a
second signature by someone higher in the organization to approve a
transaction in excess of a certain dollar amount and (2) giving customers
printed receipts as proof of sale. Other examples of internal
control procedures are restricting entry and exit routes of employees,
requiring all employees to take their vacations and assigning another
person to do their jobs while they are away, surveillance cameras, surprise
counts of cash and inventory, and rotation of duties. Internal controls
should be cost-effective; the cost of a control should be less than
the potential loss that is prevented. The guiding principle for designing
internal accounting controls is to deter and detect errors and dishonesty.
The best internal controls in the world cannot prevent most fraud
by high-level managers who take advantage of their positions of trust
job order costing system
a system of product costing used
by an entity that provides limited quantities of products or
services unique to a customer’s needs; focus of recordkeeping
is on individual jobs
Just-in-time inventory systems
systems that schedule materials/inventory to arrive exactly as they are
needed in the production process.
just-in-time manufacturing system
a production system that attempts to acquire components and produce inventory only as needed, to minimize product defects, and to
reduce lead/setup times for acquisition and production
system whereby customers send payments to a post office box and a local bank collects and processes checks.
MACRS (Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System)
A depreciation method created by the IRS under the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Companies must use it to depreciate all plant and equipment assets installed after December 31, 1986 (for tax purposes).
The production of financial and non-financial information used in planning for the future; making decisions about products, services, prices and what costs to incur; and ensuring that plans are implemented and achieved.
a discipline that includes almost
all manipulations of financial information for use by managers
in performing their organizational functions and in
assuring the proper use and handling of an entity’s resources;
it includes the discipline of cost accounting
Management Accounting Guidelines (MAGs)
pronouncements of the Society of Management Accountants of
Canada that advocate appropriate practices for specific
management accounting situations
management control system (MCS)
an information system that helps managers gather information about actual organizational occurrences, make comparisons against plans,
effect changes when they are necessary, and communicate
among appropriate parties; it should serve to guide organizations
in designing and implementing strategies so that
organizational goals and objectives are achieved
management information system (MIS)
a structure of interrelated elements that collects, organizes, and communicates
data to managers so they may plan, control, evaluate
performance, and make decisions; the emphasis of the
MIS is on internal demands for information rather than external
demands; some or all of the MIS may be computerized
for ease of access to information, reliability of input
and processing, and ability to simulate outcomes of
Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS)
Depreciation method that allows higher tax deductions in early years and lower deductions later.
A technical trading strategy that combines mechanical rules, such as the CRISMA
(cumulative volume, relative strength, moving average) Trading system of Pruitt and White.
Nonmarket or firm-specific risk factors that can be eliminated by diversification. Also
called unique risk or diversifiable risk. systematic risk refers to risk factors common to the entire economy.
normal cost system
a valuation method that uses actual
costs of direct material and direct labor in conjunction with
a predetermined overhead rate or rates in determining the
cost of Work in Process Inventory
system whereby a depositor may write cheques in excess of the balance, with the bank automatically extending a loan to cover the shortage.
performance management system
a system reflecting the entire package of decisions regarding performance measurement and evaluation
Periodic inventory system
An inventory system in which the balance in the Inventory account is adjusted for the units sold only at the end of the period.
Perpetual inventory system
An inventory system in which the balance in the Inventory account is adjusted for the units sold each time a sale is made.
Planning, programming and budgeting system (PPBS)
A method of budgeting in which budgets are allocated to projects or programmes rather than to responsibility centres.
A bank machine network outside Canada, across the U.S. and internationally. Customers who use a bank machine with a 'PLUS' symbol may be charged a fee.
See market mechanism.
process costing system
a method of accumulating and assigning costs to units of production in companies producing large quantities of homogeneous products;
it accumulates costs by cost component in each production department and assigns costs to units using equivalent units of production
Progressive tax system
A tax system wherein the average tax rate increases for some increases in income but
never decreases with an increase in income.
a production system dictated by product sales
and demand; a system in which parts are delivered or produced
only as they are needed by the work center for which
they are intended; it requires only minimal storage facilities
A materials flow concept in which parts are only withdrawn after a
request is made by the using operation for more parts.
Method of accounting for a merger in which the acquirer is treated as having purchased
the assets and assumed liabilities of the acquiree, which are all written up or down to their respective fair
market values, the difference between the purchase price and the net assets acquired being attributed to goodwill.
the traditional production system in which
work centers may produce inventory that is not currently
needed because of lead time or economic production/
order requirements; it requires that excess inventory be
stored until needed
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