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What is accounting?

Accounting is an effective mechanism for documenting the source and allocation of a company’s resources. Due to the foundational importance of this sort of insight, many companies employ a skilled bookkeeper or accountant. In addition to value added in terms of organized information, intelligence derived from such accounts enables companies to interpret and analyse their financial results over time as well as compare them to that of competitors. Accounting can be divided into four subcategories: financial accounting, management accounting, auditing and tax accounting.

Accounting courses are available that will either get you skilled up or that will keep you updated with the latest developments in these areas.

Who should take accountancy courses?

Anyone interested in becoming an accountant should take accountancy courses! Regardless of whether you're totally new to the field or part-way through your career, if you are interested in going into this field, or simply want to gain a new certification, taking a course in accountancy could get you ahead. When choosing a course, be sure to pick one appropriate for both your interest and your level. 

Categories of accounting

Financial accounting

Financial Accounting involves the reporting of a company's financial information and this information is then distributed to external parties such as regulators and investors. The reports are often based on past information and on the overall performance of the company. This allows the recipients of the report to project what the company's future economic activity could look like.

Management accounting

Management Accounting involves the collection and reporting on financial information for the organisation's managers. These reports are generated from specific department, service or product data and could, for example, be used to establish future budgets.

Tax accounting

Tax accounting focuses on preparation and analysis of tax returns and tax payments. It also involves planning for future taxable years.

Auditing

Auditing is the process by which financial information is verified. In this type of role, the auditor is expected to judge the fairness of the organisation’s financial position, operations results, and cash flow as presented by the financial statements.

Accountancy courses

Regulations around how things are accounted for is constantly changing and therefore, constant training is an essential requirement. This sophisticated discipline is comprised of a variety of technical skills ranging from preparing accounts and professional ethics to computerised accounting. Taking the relevant accountancy courses keeps you abreast of the latest regulations governing this discipline.

Accounting software

Many software applications have been developed specifically for dealing with the concepts of accounting. These applications range from highly technical to fairly easy. The latter is of course targeted at the smaller businesses and can be maintained by the manager who has basic literacy in accounting. The more elaborate systems could span large corporations with multiple facilities across the globe. These require extensive integration, configuration and training.

Accrediting bodies in accountancy

When choosing an education in accounting, it is wise to consider the accreditation received by that particular course or programme, especially for those looking to begin a career in accounting. If you're already in accounting and would like to develop yourself professionally, consider taking finance CPD courses. Additionally, accrediting bodies in the UK include the following:

  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
  • The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (ICAEW)

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