Accounting - Basic Concepts

The first two accounting concepts, namely, Business Entity Concept and Money Measurement Concept are the fundamental concepts of accounting. Let us go through each one of them briefly:

Business Entity Concept

According to this concept, the business and the owner of the business are two different entities. In other words, I and my business are separate.
For example, Mr A starts a new business in the name and style of M/s Independent Trading Company and introduced a capital of Rs 2,00,000 in cash. It means the cash balance of M/s Independent Trading Company will increase by a sum of Rs 2,00,000/-. At the same time, the liability of M/s Independent Trading Company in the form of capital will also increase. It means M/s Independent Trading Company is liable to pay Rs 2,00,000 to Mr A.

Money Measurement Concept

According to this concept, “we can book only those transactions in our accounting record which can be measured in monetary terms.”

Example

Determine and book the value of stock of the following items:
Shirts   Rs 5,000/-
Pants    Rs 7,500/-

Coats    500 pieces
Jackets  1000 pieces

Value of Stock = ?
Here, if we want to book the value of stock in our accounting record, we need the value of coats and jackets in terms of money. Now if we conclude that the values of coats and jackets are Rs 2,000 and Rs 15,000 respectively, then we can easily book the value of stock as Rs 29,500 (as a result of 5000+7500+2000+15000) in our books. We need to keep quantitative records separately.

Going Concern Concept

Our accounting is based on the assumption that a business unit is a going concern. We record all the financial transaction of a business in keeping this point of view in our mind that a business unit is a going concern; not a gone concern. Otherwise, the banker will not provide loans, the supplier will not supply goods or services, the employees will not work properly, and the method of recording the transaction will change altogether.
For example, a business unit makes investments in the form of fixed assets and we book only depreciation of the assets in our profit & loss account; not the difference of acquisition cost of assets less net realizable value of the assets. The reason is simple; we assume that we will use these assets and earn profit in the future while using them. Similarly, we treat deferred revenue expenditure and prepaid expenditure. The concept of going concern does not work in the following cases:
  • If a unit is declared sick (unused or unusable unit).
  • When a company is going to liquidate and a liquidator is appointed for the same.
  • When a business unit is passing through severe financial crisis and going to wind up.

Cost Concept

It is a very important concept based on the Going Concern Concept. We book the value of assets on the cost basis, not on the net realizable value or market value of the assets based on the assumption that a business unit is a going concern. No doubt, we reduce the value of assets providing depreciation to assets, but we ignore the market value of the assets.
The cost concept stops any kind of manipulation while taking into account the net realizable value or the market value. On the downside, this concept ignores the effect of inflation in the market, which can sometimes be very steep. Still, the cost concept is widely and universally accepted on the basis of which we do the accounting of a business unit.

Dual Aspect Concept

There must be a double entry to complete any financial transaction, means debit should be always equal to credit. Hence, every financial transaction has its dual aspect:
  • we get some benefit, and
  • we pay some benefit.
For example, if we buy some stock, then it will have two effects:
  • the value of stock will increase (get benefit for the same amount), and
  • it will increase our liability in the form of creditors.
TransactionEffect
Purchase of Stock for Rs 25,000
Stock will increase by Rs 25,000 (Increase in debit balance)
Cash will decrease by Rs 25,000 (Decrease in debit balance)
or
Creditor will increase by Rs 25,000 (Increase in credit balance)

Accounting Period Concept

The life of a business unit is indefinite as per the going concern concept. To determine the profit or loss of a firm, and to ascertain its financial position, profit & loss accounts and balance sheets are prepared at regular intervals of time, usually at the end of each year. This one-year cycle is known as the accounting period. The purpose of having an accounting period is to take corrective measures keeping in view the past performances, to nullify the effect of seasonal changes, to pay taxes, etc.
Based on this concept, revenue expenditure and capital expenditure are segregated. Revenues expenditure are debited to the profit & loss account to ascertain correct profit or loss during a particular accounting period. Capital expenditure comes in the category of those expenses, the benefit of which will be utilized in the next coming accounting periods as well.
Accounting period helps us ascertain correct position of the firm at regular intervals of time, i.e., at the end of each accounting period.

Matching Concept

Matching concept is based on the accounting period concept. The expenditures of a firm for a particular accounting period are to be matched with the revenue of the same accounting period to ascertain accurate profit or loss of the firm for the same period. This practice of matching is widely accepted all over the world. Let us take an example to understand the Matching Concept clearly.
The following data is received from M/s Globe Enterprises during the period 01-04-2012 to 31-03-2013:
S.No.ParticularsAmount
1Sale of 1,000 Electric Bulbs @ Rs 10 per bulb on cash basis.10,000.00
2Sale of 200 Electric Bulb @ Rs. 10 per bulb on credit to M/s Atul Traders.2,000.00
3Sale of 450 Tube light @ Rs.100 per piece on Cash basis.45,000.00
4Purchases made from XZY Ltd.40,000.00
5Cash paid to M/s XYZ Ltd.38,000.00
6Freight Charges paid on purchases1,500.00
7Electricity Expenses of shop paid5,000.00
8Bill for March-13 for Electricity still outstanding to be paid next year.1,000.00
Based on the above data, the profit or loss of the firm is calculated as follows:
ParticularsAmountTotal
Sale
Bulb12,000.00
Tube45,000.0057,000.00
Less -
Purchases40,000.00
Freight Charges5,000.00
Electricity Expenses1,500.00
Outstanding Expenses1,000.0047,500.00
Net Profit9,500.00
In the above example, to match expenditures and revenues during the same accounting period, we added the credit purchase as well as the outstanding expenses of this accounting year to ascertain the correct profit for the accounting period 01-04-2012 to 31-03-2013.
It means the collection of cash and payment in cash is ignored while calculating the profit or loss of the year.

Accrual Concept

As stated above in the matching concept, the revenue generated in the accounting period is considered and the expenditure related to the accounting period is also considered. Based on the accrual concept of accounting, if we sell some items or we rendered some service, then that becomes our point of revenue generation irrespective of whether we received cash or not. The same concept is applicable in case of expenses. All the expenses paid in cash or payable are considered and the advance payment of expenses, if any, is deducted.
Most of the professionals use cash basis of accounting. It means, the cash received in a particular accounting period and the expenses paid cash in the same accounting period is the basis of their accounting. For them, the income of their firm depends upon the collection of revenue in cash. Similar practice is followed for expenditures. It is convenient for them and on the same basis, they pay their Taxes.

Objective Evidence Concept

According to the Objective Evidence concept, every financial entry should be supported by some objective evidence. Purchase should be supported by purchase bills, sale with sale bills, cash payment of expenditure with cash memos, and payment to creditors with cash receipts and bank statements. Similarly, stock should be checked by physical verification and the value of it should be verified with purchase bills. In the absence of these, the accounting result will not be trustworthy, chances of manipulation in accounting records will be high, and no one will be able to rely on such financial statements.

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