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Understanding accounting principles and the guiding principles

by Angelina


Accounting is often regarded as the language of business. It plays a crucial role in recording, summarizing, analyzing, and interpreting financial information, which helps businesses make informed decisions. In this article, we will delve into these golden rules, define accounting, explore accounting concepts, and touch upon the realm of cost accounting.

Define Accounting

Accounting is the systematic process of documenting, condensing, analyzing, and interpreting an organization’s financial transactions and occurrences. It offers a way to monitor a business’s financial performance, empowering stakeholders to make wise decisions. Whether you run a small business or manage a multinational corporation, accounting is indispensable for managing finances effectively.

Golden Rules of Accounting

The guiding principles for recording financial transactions are known as the “golden rules of accounting.” These rules are essential for maintaining the accuracy and consistency of financial statements. There are three primary golden rules of accounting:

  1. The Personal Account Rule: Under this rule, for transactions involving individuals or entities, such as customers, suppliers, or creditors, there are two aspects to consider: the receiver and the giver. For example, when a business receives cash from a customer, it records an increase in cash (debit) and a decrease in accounts receivable (credit). Conversely, when it pays money to a supplier, it records a decrease in cash (credit) and a decrease in accounts payable (debit).
  2. The Real Account Rule: Real accounts represent tangible assets, intangible assets, and liabilities. According to this rule, increases in real accounts are recorded on the debit side, while decreases are recorded on the credit side. For example, when a company purchases machinery, it records an increase in machinery (debit) and a decrease in cash (credit). Similarly, when a company pays off a loan, it records a decrease in the loan liability (debit) and a decrease in cash (credit).
  3. The Nominal Account Rule: Nominal accounts encompass revenues, expenses, gains, and losses. In this case, revenues and gains are recorded as credits, while expenses and losses are recorded as debits. For instance, when a business earns revenue from selling goods, it records an increase in revenue (credit) and an increase in cash or accounts receivable (debit). Conversely, when it incurs an expense, such as paying salaries, it records an increase in expenses (debit) and a decrease in cash (credit).

Understanding these golden rules is fundamental to maintaining the balance of accounting equations. These guidelines should be followed for every financial transaction to guarantee that the accounting records accurately reflect an organization’s financial situation.

Accounting Concepts

In addition to the golden rules of accounting, several accounting principles provide a framework for financial reporting and analysis. These concepts help accountants and financial professionals make sound judgments when dealing with complex transactions. Some of the critical accounting concepts include:

  1. Going Concern Concept: Unless there is proof to the contrary, this idea believes that a firm will continue to exist perpetually. It influences the valuation of assets and liabilities, as assets are typically recorded at their historical cost and not their liquidation value.
  2. Consistency Concept: A corporation must follow the same accounting principles and procedures from one period to the next in order to comply with the consistency notion. Consistency in accounting methods ensures comparability of financial statements over time.
  3. Accrual Concept: According to this concept, revenue and expenses s should be reported in the accounting period in which they are incurred, regardless of when cash is collected or paid. This principle helps provide a more accurate picture of a company’s financial performance.
  4. Materiality Concept: Materiality refers to the significance of an item or event in the financial statements. Material items should be disclosed separately in the financial statements to ensure that users have a clear understanding of their impact.

Cost Accounting 

The study, distribution, and control of costs within an organization are the main goals of the specialist discipline of accounting known as cost accounting. It is particularly crucial for manufacturing companies and businesses that produce goods. Cost accountants use various techniques to track and analyze costs, such as job costing, process costing, and activity-based costing.

The following are the main goals of cost accounting:

  1. Cost Control: Cost accountants monitor and analyze costs to identify areas where cost-saving measures can be implemented. This helps companies maintain profitability and competitiveness.
  2. Cost Allocation: Cost accountants allocate costs to products, services, or departments to determine their actual costs and aid in pricing decisions. This ensures that products are priced competitively while covering all associated costs.
  3. Performance Evaluation: Cost accounting provides valuable insight into the performance of different segments within an organization. By comparing actual costs to budgeted costs, management can assess the efficiency and effectiveness of various operations.


Accounting is the backbone of any organization’s financial management. It involves the systematic recording, summarizing, analyzing, and interpreting of financial transactions. To maintain accuracy and consistency in financial reporting, accountants follow the golden rules of accounting, ensuring that every transaction adheres to these principles.

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