10 Useful Accounting Formulas

basic accounting formulas

The origins of the double-entry accounting system, one of the most important concepts in accounting, can be traced back to 15th century Italy. Double-entry accounting, or double-entry bookkeeping, means that for every entry into an account, there needs to be a corresponding and opposite entry into another account. The result of the double entry is a debit entry in one or more accounts, and a corresponding credit entry into one or more accounts on the other side of the balance sheet. The concept of double-entry ensures that a company’s accounts remain balanced, and can be used to make an accurate depiction of the company’s current financial position. Since the balance sheet is founded on the principles of the accounting equation, this equation can also be said to be responsible for estimating the net worth of an entire company.

Of course, the accountant or auditor is free to come to a different conclusion if there’s evidence that the business can’t pay back its loan or meet other obligations. In that case, the company might need to start considering the liquidation value of assets. Here are the nine most important accounting concepts small-business owners should know. GAAP is a collection of accounting principles and standards that public companies must follow to make sure their financial reporting is consistent. Small businesses can follow suit to maintain good financial hygiene and uniform reporting.


Naturally, the data relating to accounting is represented in numbers, and deriving the right conclusion from an interpretation requires the proper use of the accounting formula. You should note that these formulas are the foundations of accounting. To build a stronghold on accounting and indulge in higher studies relating to accounts, you need to grasp the methods right from their grassroots. Accounting involves tracking and keeping a record of the financial transactions of an organization.

basic accounting formulas

The following are some of the most frequently used accounting formulas. This list is not comprehensive, but it should cover the items you’ll use most accounting equation often as you practice solving various accounting problems. For every transaction, both sides of this equation must have an equal net effect.

Net sales formula

To learn more about how debits and credits work, see this explainer on double-entry accounting. Under the conservatism concept, revenue and expenses are treated differently. Businesses should record revenue only when there’s reasonable certainty that it will be recognized, for example by a purchase order or signed invoice.

A certified public accountant (CPA) is an accounting professional specially licensed to provide auditing, taxation, accounting, and consulting services. Our accounting basics dictionary includes dozens of important terms. This guide includes accounting definitions, alternative word uses, explanations of related terms, and the importance of particular words or concepts to the accounting profession as a whole. But not all small business owners can pursue formal financial training. Hence, it is crucial to understand all these terms before delving deeper into the topics of accounting. You must have a holistic understanding of all these to strengthen your foundation so that you can navigate through the advanced topics more conveniently.

What is the Accounting Equation?

The act of keeping a record of financial transactions in a business or company is called accounting. An accountant has to indulge in activities such as collecting, interpreting, classifying, and summarising the financial data collected and represented in reports for future assessment. To assess the functioning of a small business or even a large one, there is a set of specific accounting equation formulas that is most handy. They can be used as first-hand solutions to derive a conclusion depending on the business needs.

  • Some students enter accounting programs with little technical knowledge — and that is OK.
  • In the coming sections, you will learn more about the different kinds of financial statements accountants generate for businesses.
  • Credits are accounting entries that increase liabilities or decrease assets.
  • A receipt is an official written record of a purchase or financial transaction.
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  • This allows others within the business to understand those projections’ potential impacts in relatable terms.

Income statements are one of three standard financial statements issued by businesses. The other two include the balance sheet and cash flow statement. Accounts receivable are sometimes called «trade receivables.» In most cases, accounts receivable derive from products or services supplied on credit or without an upfront payment. A comprehensive formula for the basic accounting equation is its expanded form.

Regardless of how the accounting equation is represented, it is important to remember that the equation must always balance. Journal entries often use the language of debits (DR) and credits (CR). A debit refers to an increase in an asset or a decrease in a liability or shareholders’ equity. A credit in contrast refers to a decrease in an asset or an increase in a liability or shareholders’ equity. Lizzette Matos is a certified public accountant in New York state. She earned a bachelor of science in finance and accounting from New York University.

Introduction to accounting frequently identifies assets, liabilities, and capital as the field’s three fundamental concepts. Assets describe an individual or company’s holdings of https://www.bookstime.com/ financial value. Accountants also distinguish between current and long-term liabilities. Current liabilities are liabilities due within one year of a financial statement’s date.