Intermediate Accounting, 15th Edition
The essential characteristics of accounting are (1) the identification, measurement, and communication of financial information about (2) economic entities to (3) interested parties. Financial accounting is the process that culminates in the preparation of financial reports on the enterprise for use by both internal and external parties. Users of these financial reports include investors, creditors, managers, unions, and government agencies. In contrast, managerial accounting is the process of identifying, measuring, analyzing, and communicating financial information needed by management to plan, control, and evaluate a companyâ€™s operations.
Financial statements are the principal means through which a company communicates its financial information to those outside it. These statements provide a companyâ€™s history quantified in money terms. The financial statements most frequently provided are (1) the balance sheet, (2) the income statement, (3) the statement of cash flows, and (4) the statement of ownersâ€™ or stockholdersâ€™ equity. Note disclosures are an integral part of each financial statement.
Some financial information is better provided, or can be provided only, by means of financial reporting other than formal financial statements. Examples include the presidentâ€™s letter or supplementary schedules in the corporate annual report, prospectuses, reports filed with government agencies, news releases, managementâ€™s forecasts, and social or environmental impact statements. Companies may need to provide such information because of authoritative pronouncement, regulatory rule, or custom. Or they may supply it because management wishes to disclose it voluntarily.
In this textbook, we focus on the development of two types of financial information: (1) the basic financial statements and (2) related disclosures.
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