Objectives and Nature of Accounting
Objectives of Accounting
The following are the main objectives of accounting
To maintain full and systematic records of business transactions
Accounting is the language of business transactions. Given the limitations of human memory, the main objective of accounting is to maintain ‘a full and systematic record of all business transactions.
To ascertain profit or loss of the business
Business is run to earn profits. Whether the business earned profit or incurred loss is ascertained by accounting by preparing Profit & Loss Account or Income Statement. A comparison of income and expenditure gives either profit or loss.
To depict financial position of the business
A businessman is also interested in ascertaining his financial position at the end of a given period. For this purpose, a position statement called Balance Sheet is prepared in which assets and liabilities are shown.
Just as a doctor will feel the pulse of his patient and know whether he is enjoying good health or not, in the same way by looking at the Balance Sheet one will know the financial health of an enterprise. If the assets exceed liabilities, it is financially healthy, i.e., solvent. In the other case, it would be insolvent, i.e., financially weak.
To provide accounting information to the interested parties
Apart from owner of the business enterprise, there are various parties who are interested in accounting information. These are bankers, creditors, tax authorities, prospective investors, researchers, etc. Hence, one of the objectives of accounting is to make the accounting information available to these interested parties to enable them to take sound and realistic decisions. The accounting information is made available to them in the form of annual report.
Nature of Accounting
We know Accounting is the systematic recording of financial transactions and presentation of the related information of the appropriate persons. The basic features of accounting are as follows:
- Accounting is a process: A process refers to the method of performing any specific job step by step according to the objectives, or target. Accounting is identified as a process as it performs the specific task of collecting, processing and communicating financial information. In doing so, it follows some definite steps like collection of data recording, classification summarization, finalization and reporting.
- Accounting is an art: Accounting is an art of recording, classifying, summarizing and finalizing the financial data. The word ‘art’ refers to the way of performing something. It is a behavioral knowledge involving certain creativity and skill that may help us to attain some specific objectives. Accounting is a systematic method consisting of definite techniques and its proper application requires applied skill and expertise. So, by nature accounting is an art.
- Accounting is means and not an end: Accounting finds out the financial results and position of an entity and the same time, it communicates this information to its users. The users then take their own decisions on the basis of such information. So, it can be said that mere keeping of accounts can be the primary objective of any person or entity. On the other hand, the main objective may be identified as taking decisions on the basis of financial information supplied by accounting. Thus, accounting itself is not an objective, it helps attaining a specific objective. So it is said the accounting is ‘a means to an end’ and it is not ‘an end in itself.’
- Accounting deals with financial information and transactions; Accounting records the financial transactions and date after classifying the same and finalizes their result for a definite period for conveying them to their users. So, from starting to the end, at every stage, accounting deals with financial information. Only financial information is its subject matter. It does not deal with non-monetary information of non-financial aspect.
- Accounting is an information system: Accounting is recognized and characterized as a storehouse of information. As a service function, it collects processes and communicates financial information of any entity. This discipline of knowledge has been evolved out to meet the need of financial information required by different interested groups.