Fri. Jun 9th, 2023

accounting and finance

Accounting and Finance – Key Areas of Study for Business Students

Accounting and finance are both key areas of study for business students. They offer a variety of career opportunities, both in the public and private sectors.

Finance focuses on how a company’s financial data is used to develop strategies. It also helps senior executives identify and track growth opportunities.


Accounting is a process of recording, summarizing and analyzing financial transactions within a business. It’s a critical part of modern business management because it helps companies keep track of their income and expenses, make informed decisions about purchasing and selling goods or services, and prepare for taxes.

It also allows for better corporate decision-making and regulatory compliance, as faulty accounting practices could lead to hefty penalties from government agencies and damage the reputation of a company. Accountants use a set of accounting rules, called GAAP, to prepare and present the financial data in reports that are made available to investors and other outside parties.

In contrast, finance focuses on using financial data to understand and analyze potential growth patterns in order to strategically strategize a business’s finances. This includes identifying areas of concern, analyzing expenditures and projecting future growth.

The key difference between the two is that accountants are more concerned with the day-to-day management of financial information and records across a range of business sectors, while finance professionals look at numbers through the lens of growth and strategy.

For example, a finance professional may be involved in the annual budgeting process and will work with senior executives to determine strategic initiatives, capital investments, and financing options. In addition to using financial data, they may also consider non-financial metrics and KPIs to gain a better understanding of the company’s performance.

Both accounting and finance offer a variety of career opportunities for graduates. However, the pay and working conditions vary depending on the job. Choosing the right career path for you depends on what matters to you most in your life and what you want to achieve from your degree.

Financial Statements

Financial statements provide a snapshot of an organization’s financial position at a specific point in time. They are a vital tool for owners and managers in making important business decisions and for prospective investors in assessing the viability of investing in a company.

The four main types of financial statements are balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements and statements of shareholders’ equity. Each one gives users information about a company’s assets, liabilities and shareholders’ equity at a particular point in time.

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In addition to providing users with the basic accounting information they need, financial statements also include management discussion and analysis (MD&A) that can be used to evaluate a company’s performance. MD&A is often accompanied by notes to the financial statements, which can explain each item on the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement in greater detail.

A balance sheet outlines a company’s assets and liabilities at a given point in time, and it shows how much a company owns and how much it owes. It is useful in determining whether or not a company has sufficient assets to cover its current liabilities and expenses, and it is also useful in making predictions about the future financial health of a company.

Another type of financial statement is the income statement, which lists revenues, costs and expenses for a particular period of time. This is a measure of how well a company earns money, usually by selling goods or services. The report also includes information about net income, which is the amount a company makes after subtracting all expenses and taxes.

A third type of financial statement is the cash flow statement, which demonstrates how well a company has managed its cash flow. It is especially useful for determining whether or not a company is generating enough cash to meet its debt obligations and operating expenses.


Budgeting is the process of estimating future revenues and expenses. This allows you to avoid overspending and keep your cash flow healthy. It can also help you prepare for unexpected events and ensure you’ll be able to afford big-ticket items without going into debt.

There are many different ways to approach budgeting. Some of the most common types include base budgets, traditional budgets, activity-based budgets and kaizen budgets.

The type of budget you use depends on your company’s situation. For example, a small business may need to focus on reducing costs as much as possible. An activity-based budget can be a great option for that because it shows every cost associated with each operational activity.

In addition, it is important to consider your company’s goals and priorities before you start putting together a budget. This will allow you to better tie your spending back to those priorities and make sure that everything is in line with your company’s growth strategy.

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Another benefit of budgeting is that it can help you identify any areas that need to be improved. For instance, if your budget shows that the amount of sales revenue you are predicted to receive is only slightly greater than the direct cost of those sales, this might indicate that you need to increase your production or reduce your labor costs in order to make more money.

Both accounting and budgeting are essential to the financial health of any organization. Accounting helps you record and track your financial transactions, while budgeting involves planning for a specific financial period and enacting that plan.


Accounting for taxes is the process of keeping financial records that can be used to determine the amount of taxes a person or company owes. It is used by businesses, individuals, and institutions of all types and sizes.

The Internal Revenue Code governs how companies and individuals account for their tax payments. This code also regulates the methods of preparing tax documents and returns.

Tax accounting is an important part of accounting because it allows businesses to keep track of their financial position in order to plan for their future. It also helps businesses comply with government and local tax policies.

A key aspect of tax accounting is calculating current and deferred income taxes. This calculation is made by matching revenues and expenses in the same tax reporting periods. It also streamlines deferred tax assets and liabilities.

Some of the factors that impact taxes owed are when and how income is received, the timing of deductions, capitalization versus expensing, and inventory accounting techniques. For example, a business may choose the first-in-first-out (FIFO) method for inventory, but the last-in-first-out (LIFO) approach to tax accounting, which reduces the current year’s taxes payable.

Another factor that impacts the amount of taxes owed is the timing of deductions for expenses that will not be recognized until a future tax reporting period. This can include bad debts, depreciation, product warranties, and pensions.

Moreover, the timing of receipts or delays in payment of a refund can affect the taxes owed. This can be because the company paid in advance, or because the return was delayed until a later time.

Some of the most common ways that companies account for taxes include the accrual basis and the net present value method. These methods involve making advance calculations of future profits and expenses, which can then be compared to the current year’s profit and loss. This helps companies allocate costs and expenses to ensure that they have a forward view of their income and profits.

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Cash Flow

A cash flow statement reveals the cash flowing in and out of a company during a given period. This information can help businesses make more informed decisions about the future of their business. For example, it can indicate whether or not a business has enough cash to pay for its expenses.

The accounting method for creating a cash flow statement can depend on the type of accounting system used by a company. For example, Indiana University uses the accrual method of accounting, which records income and expenses when they are earned and paid rather than at the time of their receipt or payment. This can make it difficult to track a company’s cash flow on an ongoing basis.

In addition to operating activities, a company’s cash flow statements also include investing and financing activity. For example, purchasing and selling inventory or receivables is an investment activity that can be included in a company’s cash flow statement.

Financing activities are primarily associated with the raising of capital by issuing equity and bonds. Inflows from financing activities include cash receipts from issuing common stock, preferred stock, bonds and various short-term and long-term debts.

Similarly, money outflow from financing activities comprises repayment of borrowings, the redemption of bonds and treasury stock repurchases. Accountants must ensure that these inflows and outflows are consistent with the company’s accounting standards.

A cash flow statement is a vital part of any accounting and finance professional’s toolkit. It can be used to forecast future surpluses and shortfalls as well as determine the company’s financial strength and profitability. It can also help a company find new sources of funding and make important financial decisions.

Jeffrey Augers
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By Jeffrey Augers

Jeffrey Augers is a highly skilled and experienced financial analyst with over 12 years of experience in the finance industry. He has a proven track record of delivering exceptional financial insights and recommendations to clients, empowering them to make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals. Jeffrey holds a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.