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Accounting Terms – Profit Loss, and Other Terms

Different fields of study make use of certain terms that are not easily understood by others. If you’re an accounting student or a professional accountant, you know the different terms used in accounting. One very popular term is profit & loss. 

So, do you know what the term means? To start with, you have to determine what profit means. Profit can be referred to as net earnings or net income. Businesses can either sell services or even products. Profit will come from the sales of these services and products. If the costs of running a business are controlled, it can add up to the profits. 

Profits are also called ROI or return on investment. However, this term is often limited to securities like bonds or stocks. But still, some companies use ROI to mean short or long term business outcomes. Taxable income is another term for profit. 

The profit & loss of a certain company is determined by finance professionals through accounting. They can determine what created the profits as well as the losses. Accountants form some sort of business equation so justify the profits & losses of a business. By doing so, they can easily tell a company’s net worth. 

It seems that by simply starting to define one accounting term, it eventually leads to defining other terms as well. Net worth is another term that is quite difficult to understand. It refers to the resulting amount after deducting the liabilities of a company from the assets. Private companies refer to net worth as owner’s equity.

Why owner’s equity? Well, after deducting all the liabilities, what’s left basically belongs to the owner. In the case of public companies, the profit of the business is returned as dividends to shareholders. As you can see, before owner or shareholders of a company can take hold of the profits, all liabilities must be deducted first. 

Every business aims to get a good and positive figure because that would mean profit to them; if not, the business is at a loss. Societies and economies are built on profit. However, there are times when a certain business incurs losses. Consumer behaviors and economic trends change. Because of this fact, it is not possible to foresee the company’s future performance at all times. 

How can you tell if a business is at a loss? That is understandable and even those who have no background in accounting know what it means. All liabilities will be deducted from the assets and if results to a negative amount, then the business is at a loss. The accounting staff of the company can still pursue effective measures to revive the business. If the business has efficient and effective accounting staffs, the business can improve in the near future. 

It cannot be argued that an accounting staff is needed to ensure the company’s success. Without them, the success of the business is not guaranteed. So the owner of the business should choose the best accounting staff. That way, all the financial transactions and decisions are noted and studied. Only then can the company gain profits. 

Profit & loss is just a simple accounting term. Aside from the term, you also learned about net earnings, net income, net worth, dividends, etc.

At Peavy and Associates, PC we can assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

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Understanding and Using Accounting Principles

If everyone involved in the process of accounting followed their own system, or no system at all, there’s be no way to truly tell whether a company was profitable or not. Most companies follow what are called generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, and there are huge tomes in libraries and bookstores devoted to just this one topic. Unless a company states otherwise, anyone reading a financial statement can make the assumption that company has used GAAP.

If GAAP are not the principles used for preparing financial statements, then a business needs to make clear which other form of accounting they’re used and are bound to avoid using titles in its financial statements that could mislead the person examining it.  

GAAP are the gold standard for preparing financial statement. Not disclosing that it has used principles other than GAAP makes a company legally liable for any misleading or misunderstood data. These principles have been fine-tuned over decades and have effectively governed accounting methods and the financial reporting systems of businesses. Different principles have been established for different types of business entities, such for-profit and not-for-profit companies, governments and other enterprises. 

GAAP are not cut and dried, however. They’re guidelines and as such are often open to interpretation. Estimates have to be made at times, and they require good faith efforts towards accuracy. You’ve surely heard the phrase “creative accounting” and this is when a company pushes the envelope a little (or a lot) to make their business look more profitable than it might actually be. This is also called massaging the numbers. This can get out of control and quickly turn into accounting fraud, which is also called cooking the books. The results of these practices can be devastating and ruin hundreds and thousands of lives, as in the cases of Enron, Rite Aid and others.

At Peavy and Associates, PC we can assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

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Accounting Dictionary For Students, Businesses, and Personal Use

Are you taking up an accounting course or are you already a graduate of accountancy? It doesn’t really matter whether you’re a student or a full-pledged accountant; you need to have an accounting dictionary with you. You can even treat it like a bible. 

You see, one can’t possibly memorize all the accounting terms. Students and fresh graduates have better memories. The accounting lessons are still fresh in their minds. But what about those who graduated many years ago? To guide them in their work, they have to get an accounting dictionary so that they will not be lost in their lessons if ever they come across an unfamiliar accounting term.  

Students and accounting professionals should have their own accounting dictionary. That way, they can easily look up for the definition of a certain term especially when they’re unsure of the true meaning. You can’t afford to make mistakes in accounting because the success of the business rests on you and your knowledge. One tiny mistake can lead to a wrong analysis and decision.

In choosing an accounting staff, the company should get only the best. You see, accounting professionals will be the ones to analyze the financial situation of the company. They have the power to influence business decisions. Therefore, you must hire only the best and the most competitive employees. That way, you can be sure that even when your back is turned, they are still doing their job. 

Where can you find accounting dictionaries? You can easily purchase them in bookstores worldwide. These dictionaries are not hard to find and for accounting students, it is a must to have it. It can help you a lot in mastering your lessons. If you can understand accounting terms with ease, all the lessons will be a piece of cake. 

Professional accountants often opt for online accounting dictionaries. Most companies have internet connection in their offices. With the use of online accounting dictionaries, accountants will just type the term that they would like to find and the results are on the screen in seconds. They no longer have to carry dictionary books because it can be found online. 

Whether you’re using a dictionary book or an online dictionary, what matters is how you understand the various terms and definitions. By now, students and professionals should have already mastered the different terms, but you can’t blame them if their memory fails once in a while. Nobody’s perfect and that’s a fact that you need to accept. It also helps to have a handy accounting dictionary especially if you need one.

If you prefer the online dictionary, you would have to choose among the many websites online. Make sure that you choose a good site which can provide you with a complete dictionary of accounting terms. Take note of the website so that you won’t have to search for it all over again. 

If you opt for the dictionary book, you should also choose the one which has the complete definition of accounting terms. Get the latest edition of the dictionary so that the new terms can be found on it. The dictionaries don’t cost much; besides, you can still use it even after you graduate. Books are great investments, so don’t think that you’re wasting money. 

Always have a handy accounting dictionary with you to avoid mistakes in doing your accounting works.

At Peavy and Associates, PC we can assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

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Understanding the In’s and Out’s of GAAP

While many businesses assume that accountants are bound by generally accepted accounting practices and that these are inviolate, nothing could be further from the truth. Everything is subject to interpretation, and GAAP is no different. For one thing, GAAP themselves permit alternative accounting methods to be used for certain expenses and for revenue in certain specialized types of businesses. For another, GAAP methods require that decisions be made about the timing for recording revenue and expenses, or they require that key factors be quantified. Deciding on the timing of revenue and expenses and putting definite values on these factors require judgments, estimates and interpretations.

The mission of GAAP over the years has been to standardize accounting methods in order to bring about uniformity across all businesses. But alternative methods are still permitted for certain basic business expenses. No tests are required to determine whether one method is more preferable than another. A business is free to select whichever method it wants. But it must choose which cost of good sold expense method to use and which depreciation expense method to use.

For other expenses and for sales revenue, one general accounting method has been established; there are no alternative methods. However, a business has a fair amount of latitude in actually implementing the methods. One business applies the accounting methods in a conservative manner, and another business applies the methods in a more liberal manner. The end result is more diversity between businesses in their profit measure and financial statements than one might expect, considering that GAAP have been evolving since 1930.

The pronouncement on GAAP prepared by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is now more than 1000 pages long. And that doesn’t even include the rules and regulations issued by the federal regulatory agency that jurisdiction over the financial reporting and accounting methods of publicly owned businesses – the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

 

At Peavy and Associates, PC we can assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Choosing The Right Accountant for Your Business

Finding a good accountant does not always end up being a simple task. There are so many accountants that seem to appear every year, it is hard to know who to choose to put in charge of your finances. Finding a accountant is a very serious task that is never taken lightly, especially since it involves your business. Here are two simple steps of how to choose a accountant that you can trust with your businesses finances.

The first thing you do to find a good accountant, is to build a list of referrals form credible sources. To find resources for these referrals may seem like a daunting task at first, however, it is simpler to accomplish this goal then what you think. You can go to such resources such as your local bank, any type of financial planners that you may have, and you can even talk to your current insurance agent about people they know about to be your accountant. If you have any contacts or affiliations with other businesses, then you can ask them for accountant referrals as well. These are all trusted resources that can provide you with some good leads on who you can trust to be your accountant. Finding accountant candidates through trusted resources such as your businesses bank, is one of the best ways to find an accountant. Most professional referrals like this mean that the accountant has a good reputation.

Once you have your accountant referrals, you then want to contact them and exchange information. Feel free to tell the accountant about your business as well as your accounting needs and expectations. While you give the accountant your information, also ask for theirs. Some key things you want to find out is if the accountant can handle a business in your industry and your size, as well as finding out all of the services they offer. Do not be afraid to look at their portfolio and get estimates for their services. Be sure you know what services the fees cover. You never want to select an accountant whose fees are to high for what you can afford. Make sure that you can maintain a good line of communication and determine if they are helpful and informative. The accountant who offers the most detail and takes the most time to not only tell you about the services they can offer you, but also listens to your concerns, is usually the type of accountant that you are looking for.

After gathering all of the information about the accountants, then make the decision of who is the right accountant for you. Remember that you will be having a long business relationship with your accountant, so you want to select an accountant that you feel you can build a good rapport with as well as someone who will have you and your businesses best interest in mind.

By following these simple steps, you can have confidence in finding an accountant who will work hard to help you direct your company into a positive direction for financial growth and expansion.

 

At Peavy and Associates, PC we can assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Preparing for a Tax Audit…Checklist

There is no reason to be afraid of an audit. However, it is best to be prepared for an audit to make sure that it runs smoothly. Different types of audits require different preparation methods.

If a business is brought up for an audit by the IRS, there are several things you can do to prepare your business for audit. First, review the tax returns that are being audited. Make sure that you are ready to explain how you or your tax preparer came up with the figures in the return when you go into the audit. If you don’t know how your tax preparer came up with the figures, or you have any questions, you should contact your tax preparer prior to the audit for any clarification needed so that you are thoroughly prepared for the audit.

Organizing records used to prepare your tax returns yearly is a great way to maintain proper accounting before an audit. However, if you have not organized your records as you filed year by year, now is the time to organize them for the audit. Make sure that the person performing the audit has access to all records used to prepare the tax returns. For the audit to go smoothly, these records should be organized in a logical fashion. In addition to making an audit quick and painless, this organization will lend you credibility with the auditor, thus making the auditor take things in stride if a small issue does arise during the audit.

Your audit notice should tell you what documentation the auditor wants to see during the audit. Typically, auditors may want to see bank statements, canceled income checks, receipts for expenses, and your financial records. If you have a smaller business, you are not required to maintain a formal set of financial records such as journals and ledgers. However, the auditor may request to see any financial records you do have, and see your bookkeeping system during the audit. If your bookkeeping system in on a computer or otherwise electronic, make sure you take a printout of your financial records with you. If you do keep a ledger and journal for financial records, the auditor is entitled to see them and you should bring them to the audit also. In addition, you should bring with you any prepared financial statements so that the auditor has a clear overview of your bookkeeping.

If you don’t keep a formal set of financial records and you are missing a few receipts, take your appointment books, service logs, and diaries with you to the audit as well. The documentation in your appointment book, service log, and diary will substantiate your expense for deduction without a receipt, provided the expense can be proved to be reasonable based on the information in your personal records.

If you have a home based business, you will also want to bring with you to your audit any usage logs of “listed property.” This is anything that you use for business and home use. Usage logs show that you use these things for business purposes, thereby allowing you to take a partial deduction for that property during the audit if you have not already done so.

If you are in any doubt as to what information you need to prepare for your business tax audit, you should contact a certified public accountant to assist you and represent you to the audit representative.

 

At Peavy and Associates, PC we can assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Preparing for Tax Day…Are you ready?

Due to tax day deadlines being strict, and the penalties given for late tax payments, you should always make certain you’re prepared before (and for) “tax day.” You should start preparing your income tax return well before April 15th. Whether you are doing your own income tax return or you are getting the help of a certified public accountant or firm to prepare your income tax return, you should get a few things together before you begin or meet with the CPA.

The main thing you will need for your income tax return is proof of the income you made and the taxes you paid in the previous year. That includes income made through employers, interest from accounts, dividends from investments, income made through self-employment, income made as a subcontractor, and any other income. Student loans and other types of loans may also be considered income for the purposes of income tax, as can winnings from a lottery, casino, or other contest. If you are unsure what can be considered as income for tax purposes, you should contact a certified public accountant.

The other thing that is important is social security numbers for everyone you will claim on your income tax return. That includes social security numbers for your spouse and any children you will claim. Without social security numbers, proof of residence, and birth dates, you cannot claim deductions on your income tax return for these individuals.

The next thing that you should gather is what you will need for deductions. If you have a mortgage, your interest paid to the mortgage company may be tax deductible. If you use a vehicle for business purposes, you can claim a tax deduction for mileage. If you have children in daycare so that you can work, you can claim a tax deduction for that expense. You can also claim tax deductions for excessive medical expenses and charitable contributions.

If you are self-employed, you will need to also gather your receipts for tax deductible expenses. A tax deductible business expense is any expense that is used solely or primarily for the business you are involved in. The tax deductible expense must be documented in order to claim it, so any receipts you have, usage logs for computers and vehicles, etc. should be gathered so that you can take the highest deduction possible. If you have any doubts about what is tax deductible for your business, you should contact a certified public accountant to assist you in your income tax preparation.

Once you have gathered all of the necessary tax documents, you must determine which tax forms you need to file. If you are an individual with few tax deductible items, you can file a simple tax return. However, if you are self-employed you must also file a tax form called Schedule C. If you have a lot of tax deductible items, you will want to file a more complex tax return to itemize your tax deductions. If you are unsure what tax forms you need to file, you should contact a certified public accountant to assist you in your income tax return preparation.

Tax day can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. Gather all of your required tax documents as early as possible, and don’t put off the inevitable. Contact a certified public accountant as soon as you can if you are unsure what tax forms you need to file, or what tax deductions you can take. And, most importantly, don’t panic on tax day!

 

At Peavy and Associates, PC we can assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

Contact Us Today

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