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Accounting Cycle 10 Steps of Accounting Process Explained

Understanding The Accounting Cycle & The 10 Essential Steps

When preparing the financial statements, the income statement is prepared first, followed by the statement of retained income, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. The purpose of this trial balance is to prove the equality of the permanent account balances that carried forward into the nest accounting period as opening balances. At this point, only the permanent accounts (total assets, liabilities and owner’s equity) appear since the temporary accounts have been closed.

Arguably one of the most intricate steps in the accounting process is the worksheet analysis. When you have credits and debits from your transactions that don’t balance you have to make corrective adjustments accordingly. Step six is journalizing and posting adjusting entries, this happens by writing in the adjustments which affect one account in a balance sheet and in the income statement. Without the accounting cycle serving as a guide in the accounting process, businesses may have chaos in its hands when it comes to recording its financial transactions. The accounting cycle provides order to the process, ensuring uniformity and consistency all throughout. The next step in the accounting cycle is to record these financial transactions as journal entries. You need to understand the impact of the transaction—from step one—to create the journal entry.

Module 4: Completing the Accounting Cycle

Here, the role of a bookkeeper is very crucial in maintaining the records of the accounting cycle. The cash flow statement is important as it records all the cash-related items.

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Remember, the trial balance is a list of all accounts and their balances after adjustments have been made. This trial balance is prepared to check and make sure that debits and credits equal after adjusting entries are made.

Accounting Cycle – 10 Steps of Accounting Process

The cycle begins when an accounting event, or a transaction, takes place. It will end when the event has been included in the financial statements or reports of the company, and the cycle begins anew when other accounting events take place.

You prepare the balance sheet and income statement using the corrected account balances. You post any corrections needed to the affected Understanding The Accounting Cycle & The 10 Essential Steps accounts once your trial balance shows the accounts will be balanced once the adjustments needed are made to the accounts.

Generating unadjusted trial balance report

At the start of another accounting cycle, a reversing entry is made to take into account some adjusting entries before recording transactions in the next accounting period. The eight-step accounting cycle starts with recording every company transaction individually and ends with a comprehensive report of the company’s activities for the designated cycle timeframe. Many companies use accounting software to automate the accounting cycle. This allows accountants to program cycle dates and receive automated reports.

What are the basics of accounting?

  • Accounting Basics. Regardless of who manages your business accounting, it's wise to understand accounting basics.
  • Income Statement. Image Source.
  • Balance Sheet.
  • Profit and Loss (P&L) Statement.
  • Cash Flow Statement.
  • Bank Reconciliation.
  • Debits & Credits.
  • Accounts Receivable & Accounts Payable.

There is a need to “close” the nominal or temporary accounts to the appropriate capital accounts, in preparation for the next accounting period or cycle. Closing entries are required because the business will once again start on a clean slate.

The Eight Steps of the Accounting Cycle

Financial statements are prepared from the balances from the adjusted trial balance. The financial statements are made at the very last of the accounting period. When it becomes clear an error exists somewhere in the system, accountants may create “temporary adjusting accounts” to restore the balance between total debits and total credits immediately.

The firm performs other kinds of error-checking during this period as well. With the reconciliation process, for instance, they ensure that the firm’s bank cash account balances—as the bank reports them—agree with the firms own accounting system. And, they confirm that the firm’s liability accounts for bank loans agree with the lender’s account statements. Today, with computer-based systems, many kinds of transactions enter the journal without involving a bookkeeper or accountant. In retail shops, for instance, “Point-of-Sale” systems scan customer purchases during checkout. One touch of a cash register button print’s the customer receipt and makes the appropriate accounting system journal entries at the same time.

Well, that is because accounting aids members of the organization and even the external parties, understand what exactly is going on with the business. In short, it is a means of communicating information about the business. If we discuss anything related to business, we could never omit or altogether overlook the inclusion of accounting.

But even though the cycle is automated, it’s important to understand each of the steps, and why each is necessary. The very first step in the accounting cycle is to gather all the documents that are related to financial transactions of the organization. These documents, called source documents, are things like receipts, bank statements, checks, and purchase orders. This step involves updating the ledger account to show an accurate position of balance. The length of the accounting cycle varies from company to company.

For owner value, the primary focus is the Statement of Retained earnings. This report shows how the firm’s board of directors decides to distribute the period’s earnings between shareholder dividends and retained earnings.

Understanding The Accounting Cycle & The 10 Essential Steps


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