Financial Accounting
Financial Accounting

Financial Accounting

Lead Author(s): Stefan Ignatovski, Ph.D.

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Financial Accounting interactive textbook with bite-sized video lectures. Learn accounting like never before!

Chapter 1: Accounting Fundamentals

What is Accounting?

Accounting is a system that allows businesses to identify, record, and communicate financial information. Basically, a transaction happens, and the accounting system needs to identify what that transaction is, record it in the accounting records (journal and ledger), and communicate that information through the financial statements. 

Example (Practical Application)

For example, let's say that we own a coffee shop. Our business is to sell coffee. A customer walks in an buys a cup of coffee for $4. Our accounting system must identify this transaction. We know that we sold coffee and received cash ($4) for it. Once we identify that transaction, we need to record it. If we want others to invest in our coffee shop, we must show them how well we are doing. Therefore, we need to communicate these transactions through our financial statements (later about these).

Question 1

What are the basic Financial Statements?


Income Statement


Statement of Retained Earnings


Balance Sheet


Statement of Cash Flows


All of the above

Accounting Principles and Assumptions

 Accounting Principles

  1. Cost Principle (this principle tells us that we record everything at cost. If you buy a building for $100,000, you record it at $100,000. Simple as that.)
  2. Revenue Recognition Principle (this principle tells us that we only record revenues, when we earn them. We earn revenues when we provide a service or sell a product. If we sell a product for $100, we just earned revenue of $100.)
  3. Matching Principle (this principle tells us that expenses associated with specific revenues, should matched in the same period. For example, If I provide a service in 2017 that is a revenue to the company. But if they pay me salaries in 2018, that is an expense to the company, directly connected to the revenue earned in 2017. Therefore, we must match the expense to the revenue in 2017.)
  4. Full-Disclosure Principle (this principle tells us that we must inform the users of our financial records about everything.)

Accounting Assumptions

  1. Business Entity Assumption (this assumption tells us that we assume that we as owners are separate from the business entity. If you own a coffee shop, you are you own entity, and the coffee shop is a separate entity.)
  2. Going-Concern Assumption (this assumption tells us that we assume the business will continue running and will not go out of business.)
  3. Periodicity Assumption (this assumption tells us that we use artifical periods of time for reporting purposes, such as monthly, quarterly, or yearly.)
  4. Unit of Measurement Assumption (this assumption tells us that we use dollars for measurement.
Question 2

This accounting principle is applied when we sell a product or provide a service:


Cost Principle


Business Entity Assumption


Revenue Recognition Principle


Matching Principle


Full-Disclosure Principle

The Accounting Equation


This is the accounting equation. All of accounting comes to this. Stockholders’ Equity represents what the owners own from the company’s assets. Liabilities represents what the creditors own in the company’s assets.

Assets are something of value that the company has. Liabilities are what the company owes to creditors. Stockholders’ Equity is what the owners own.

Asset Accounts: Cash, Supplies, Equipment, Building, Land, Accounts Receivable, etc.

Liabilities Accounts: Accounts Payable, Notes Payable, Utilities Payable, Salaries Payable.

S. Equity Accounts: Common Stock, Dividends, Revenues (Service Revenue, Sales Revenues, Interest Revenues), and Expenses (Rent Expense, Insurance Expense, Utilities Expense, Salaries Expense).

Question 3

Assets of Best Coffee Shop company were $12,000. The Stockholders' Equity was $7,000. What is the amount of Liabilities?

Effects on the Accounting Equation

Let's see how various transactions affect the accounting equation.

Financial Statements

Income Statement

The income statement contains revenues and expenses. Revenues minus expenses are either Net Income or Net Loss. If revenues are larger then expenses, then we will have net income. If expenses are larger than revenues, it will result in a net loss. In practice, large amount of people refer to the income statement as a profit and loss statement. Take a look below at our sample Income Statement issued by Best Coffee Shop Company.

Income Statement Sample
Figure 1-1: Income Statement Example

This sample shows what we earned and what we expensed for the past year. Revenues shows us how much we earned, and expenses shows us how much in expenses we incurred.

In this income statement we can see that at the end of the year we have a Net Income of $25,500.

The Income Statement always shows the results of a company for the entire period (for example, past year).


Statement of Retained Earnings

The statement of Retained Earnings is consisted of the beginning balance, plus Net Income/-Net Loss, minus dividends. This statement shows us the ending balance of retained earnings, which shows up on the Balance Sheet. Take a look at the Statement of Retained Earnings sample below:

Statement of Retained Earnings Sample
Figure 1-2: Statement of Retained Earnings Sample

The statement of retained earnings shows us the earnings the company retained. We add the previous balance to net income and we subtract the earnings that were distributed to the owners through dividends.

The Statement of Retained Earnings always shows the results of a company for the entire period.

Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is practically the same as the accounting equation. We are listing all assets, liabilities, and stockholders’ equity accounts.

Balance Sheet Sample
Figure 1-3: Balance Sheet Sample

As you can notice, the Balance Sheet is the same as the Accounting Equation. Assets must equal Liabilities plus Stockholders' Equity. Unlike other financial statements, the Balance Sheet reports the standing of the company at a specific point in time (for example, on December 31, 2021). 

Statement of Cash Flows

The statement of cash flows is consisted of three sections: Cash flows from Operating Activities, Cash flows from Investing activities, and Cash flows from Financing activities. We will llearn about this section by the end of the course.

Statement of Cash Flows Sample
Figure 1-4: Statement of Cash Flows Sample

As you can see in the sample, the Statement of Cash flows explains what happens to the cash in our company. It explains where it comes from and where it goes. The balance at the end of the statement is the same amount as the on on the Balance Sheet.

The Statement of Cash Flows always shows the results of a company for the entire period.

Video Explanation

See the following video for better understanding and preparation of these financial statements. We will not prepare a Statement of Cash Flows until the end of this book.

Time to Exercise - Problem Solving

In the following video we will see how some transactions affect the accounting equation.

Question 4

Our company sold products in the amount of $400 on credit. How does this affect the accounting Equation?


It increases Cash and Increases Revenue


It increases Accounts Receivable and Increases Revenue


It increases Accounts Payable and increases Expenses


It increases Accounts Payable and increases Revenue

In the next video we will see some additional examples on how transactions affect the accounting equation.

Question 5

Our company bought supplies in the amount of $500 and paid cash. What is the effect on the accounting equation?


It increases Cash and Increases Supplies


It decreases Accounts Receivable and Increases Expenses


It decreases Cash and increases Supplies


It decreases Cash and increases Expenses

Chapter 1 Exercises

Exercise 1

Pierce Company has cash $100,000, building $250,000, and notes payable $120,000. What is the amount of Stockholders' Equity for Pierce Company?

Exercise 2

Pierce Company has cash $100,000, building $250,000, and notes payable $120,000. How much does Pierce Company owe to creditors?

Exercise 3

Pierce Company has cash $100,000, building $250,000, and notes payable $120,000. How much of the assets are claimed by the stockholders' of Pierce Company?

Exercise 4

Which of these is an asset, liability, or a stockholders' equity account?






Accounts Receivable


Stockholders' Equity


Accounts Payable






Stockholders' Equity


















Common Stock


Stockholders' Equity




Stockholders' Equity

 Figures 1-1 to 1-4 courtesy of the author via MS Office.