Simple Accounting Procedures
- A bookkeeper records an asset purchase in the asset ledger. An asset is an economic resource that a firm owns. Short-term assets include cash and accounts receivable. Long-term, or fixed, assets include land, machines and equipment. Debit an asset account to record an asset purchase and credit it to record a sale. In accounting parlance, debiting an asset account means increasing its balance.
- A bookkeeper records a liability in the liability general ledger. A liability is a debt that a company must repay when it becomes due. A debt also may be a financial promise that an organization must honor in time. A short-term debt is due within a year, whereas a borrower must repay a long-term debt after 12 months or more. Examples of liabilities include bonds payable, accounts payable, interest and salaries due. Credit a debt account to record a liability and debit it to record a loan repayment. In accounting terminology, crediting a liability account means increasing its balance.
- A company earns revenue by selling goods or providing services to clients. A bookkeeper records revenues in the sales or revenue general ledger. Revenue items include earnings from sales, commissions received, interest income and investment gains. Credit a revenue account to record a sale or another income. In accounting parlance, crediting a revenue account means increasing its amount.
- A bookkeeper reports expenses in the expense general ledger. An expense is a cost or charge that a firm incurs when selling goods or providing services. Examples may be administrative expenses, such as salaries and rent, or operating expenses, such as the cost of goods sold. Debit the expense account to record a charge or cost. In accounting terminology, debiting an expense account means increasing its balance.
- Financial accounting and reporting regulations--such as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules--require a company to prepare ledger reports periodically. GAAP and SEC regulations require such reports to be accurate and complete. Complete financial statements include a balance sheet (also called statement of financial position), statement of profit and loss (P&L or statement of income), statement of cash flows and statement of retained earnings (otherwise known as statement of equity).