Accounting (the Ultimate Guide to Becoming an Accountant)

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Accounting Business concept Business people discussing the charts and graphs showing the results of their successful teamwork

Table of Contents

Accounting, also known as accountancy or financial reporting, is the management of economic information for entities such as businesses and corporations. This includes measuring, calculating, and communicating financial and non-financial information to keep track of how the organization is doing economically. The organization itself uses this information to optimize performance, but other entities use the information as well. If the organization has investors, creditors, or other customers, they likely want to know how it’s doing financially. In this category of Direct Knowledge, you’ll find accounting articles with more details about what accountants do, how they do it, and how you can join their ranks.

Main Topics for Accounting

While there is a great deal of overlap in many accounting fields, there are also a number of specialties and specific skills. Other accounting articles in this category cover more of the topics in greater detail, but here’s an introduction to some of the most prominent areas:


An audit is a process of verifying the claims made by a company or organization about their financial statements. The end goal of the audit is to determine if the claims are true in an unbiased manner. If an auditor believes the claims are not true or that certain accounting principles have not been properly observed, they must identify why they drew that conclusion.

Information Systems

An organization with a lot of data to process for accounting will have a system dedicated to it. Modern systems use advanced technology, often applying artificial intelligence and machine learning. The basis for the systems is statistics and modeling that can identify metrics of interest.

Financial Accounting

This is perhaps the most common, or at least well-known, type of accounting. Thus, you can find an accounting article devoted to this topic here. Financial accounting looks at the financial information of an organization, reporting it to those who use the information. The reports cover financial information from past data. Investors and creditors then use this information to evaluate their past performance and determine what they will do in the future.

Management Accounting

Instead of completing a report on past data, management accountants measure and analyse data as it comes out. They use this data to perform cost-benefit analysis, and don’t worry so much about formal accounting principles. The result is a report or budget for the future than helps managers make decisions and steer the organization in the right direction.

Tax Accounting

The set of tax principles used in other areas is the GAAP, or “generally accepted accounting principles“. But in the US tax system, a different set of specialized accounting principles applies. These deal with the tax differences between different types of businesses, as well as the difference between businesses and individuals.

Forensic Accounting

While it might sound like something found on a crime scene, forensic accounting is actually just what takes place during disputes and litigation. Forensic accountants must work to a standard which they can present in a court of law for the proceedings of these events.

Accounting and Information About Facilitation Organizations

In addition to providing you with direct information, the accounting articles in this category also guide you to other useful tools and sources. Some of this information comes in the form of journals and further reading material. Other information might come from professional organizations. These organization have their own publications, and might be something you’re interested in joining for other member benefits. The following is a brief description of the involvement of these organizations in the field.

Accounting Firms

These firms specialize in providing accounting services to clients. This can include handling payrolls, taxes, accounts, and auditing. The specialization in services provides optimal efficiency where it is needed most. If large enough, some companies must legally get qualified auditors to audit their financial statements. Companies usually opt for accounting firms due to their reliability and range of services.

Professional Bodies

Professional bodies in accounting often provide education and training for those in the field. They can help accountants gain official certification by training them as well as administering the designation. There are hundreds of professional accounting bodies in the world, with each country having its own (and sometimes multiple).

Standard-Setters and Other Accounting Articles of Interest

Certain standards, such as the GAAP or other international standards, are issued by official regulatory bodies. These bodies set standards for audits, ethics, education, and public accounting to ensure everyone follows the same general rules.

You can find accounting articles in this category which feature events and advancements involving these organizations. Keep an eye out for their involvement in the field and how it could affect you.

Accounting and Info for Careers

Before getting into a career in the field itself, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related fields. Math can be a good general foundation to build off of, or perhaps something related to business management. Some employers might even require a master’s degree, but it likely isn’t necessary. Following a degree, certification and professional qualifications are necessary to make the next step. Some classifications of accountant need annual renewal of training and certifications to maintain their position and title. The type of certification and frequency with which you must complete them depends on your region and/or country.

Successful Careers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors generally make a median pay of 70,000 dollars per year. The number of jobs in the field is also growing pretty quick, so there should be plenty of opportunity to make a successful career. As an accountant, you’ll typically work a regular nine-to-five job in an office. While most work full time, it’s not uncommon to work more than full time as overtime hours are the norm at certain times of the year that correspond to financial and economic seasons. Check out some accounting articles with examples of interesting professionals and their careers here.

If you want to practice accounting, it’s best to look for articles that help you gain actual skills. These skills will focus on the use of math or computer programs to get tasks done. In addition to accounting articles, books and courses in the area could be of great help as well.

Accounting Books

Dual-entry bookkeeping, financial statements, managerial accounting, fraud, analytics: there are endless areas in which to study and improve when it comes to accounting. Direct Knowledge provides books to help you delve into unfamiliar territory or perfect skills you already possess. Written by professionals in the subjects, you can find accounting books that provide clear explanations and thorough practice in applied skills so that you can reach new heights in your academic or professional career.

Accounting Books Business women using computer and calculator during note some data on notepad for calculate financial at home office.jpeg

Accounting Books That Give a Helping Hand

Accounting consists of meticulous record keeping of money and finance, forming a crucial part of any business. Professional accountants will have formal education and state certification, but those are just the final steps to a long process. First comes a formal education from a university, taking years to complete. But anyone can start gaining the skills for becoming an accountant at any time. For example, just getting familiar with spreadsheets in Excel or other software is an invaluable skill.

For Those Just Starting Off

Reading books on accounting can also introduce you to key concepts in the field. And that’s where we come in. Books such as Financial Accounting are a great place to start. This text starts with key concepts for beginners studying in their undergraduate or even master’s programs. It uses plain language to make hard concepts like equity, liabilities, and assets easier to grasp. It also teaches the basics of the actual practice so that students come away with a good grasp of what a career in the field is like.

Advancing in the Field

As you become more familiar with the subject, more advanced accounting books may be a better fit. You can use beginner books as an introduction to the many niches in the subject, and then find more advanced books that suite your preferences. And for those who still aren’t quite sure about a niche or need more practice with the fundamentals, books like Principles of Financial Accounting can help ease you into new areas. It still goes over basics, but also branches into higher-level material for intermediate learners and even experienced professionals looking for to learn something new.

These accounting books provide you with the tools you need at any step of the process of learning about accounting. Even if you’re not planning on becoming an accountant; maybe you just want to learn about the subject because you’re about to start a business of your own. Understanding the ins and outs of the jobs that your workers will be doing can help you make their jobs easier and get better results. On the other hand, maybe you do want to become an accountant, or are just starting to consider it. You can find accounting books on the basics, perfect for younger learners, supplementing university material, or for those changing fields of work.

The Variations of Accounting

Important subjects in accounting include cost analysis, taxes, finance, and management. Bookkeeping can also be important in the field, and sometimes even presents itself as a synonym. But in reality, accountants typically work together with bookkeepers who keep records of sales and transactions to make sure everything is in writing. Then, the accountant looks at financial statements and does audits to make sure all was recorded correctly.

Because accountants are needed in all businesses, the field is full of chances for advancing in many ways. Accountants can live practically anywhere, and work in practically any type of business. Even personal finances can benefit from some quality accounting. You could hire a bookkeeper to do it for you, or you could learn the basics here. The accounting books in this category can walk you through every step of the way.

Whatever stage you might be in, there’s an accounting book that can help raise you to the next one. And our range of eBooks is just a click away for anyone around the world. All that’s left for you to do is pick a place to start, and jump right in.

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