define accounting period concept: Accounting Concepts Meaning, Conventions, Principles, and FAQs

accounting periods

Five key concepts underlie accounting procedures and the creation of financial statements, even though there are many rules for accountants. The accrual principle, matching principle, historic cost principle, conservative principle, and the principle of substance over form are those. This annual accounting period imitates a basic 12-month calendar period. Accrual basis accounting (or simply “accrual accounting”) records revenue- and expense-related items when they first occur. Accrual accounting recognizes that $2,000 in revenue on the date of the purchase.

business owners

This period defines the time range over which business transactions are accumulated into financial statements. It is needed by investors so that they can compare the results of successive time periods. For internal financial reporting, an accounting period is generally considered to be one month. A few firms compile financial information in four-week increments, so that they have 13 accounting periods per year.

Accounting period definition

define accounting period concept periods are useful to analysts and potential shareholders because it allows them to identify trends in a single company’s performance over a period of time. They can also use accounting periods to compare the performance of two or more companies during the same period of time. There are typically multiple accounting periods currently active at any given point in time. For example, assume the accounting department of XYZ Company is closing the financial records for the month of June. This indicates the accounting period is the month , although the entity may also wish to aggregate accounting data by quarter , half year , or an entire fiscal year. For example, a company that hired an external consultant would recognize the cost of that consultation in an accrual.

  • Although the basic accounting principles do not explicitly form a part of accounting standards and related rules, they are believed to be generally practised and expected.
  • Basic accounting concepts used in the business world cover revenues, expenses, assets, and liabilities.
  • In financial accounting the accounting period is determined by regulation and is usually 12 months.

The default period of Most companies is usually one year, but this doesn’t have to be one calendar year. Many companies with odd fiscal year-ends open and close their accounting periods in the middle of a calendar year. For example, a company with a June fiscal year would start its period on June 1 and end it on May 31 of the following year. The financial statements are, therefore, prepared at regular interval, normally after a period of one year, so that timely information is made available to the users. The performance and position of a business are measured at the end of the accounting periods.

Matches Revenue

52- or 53-week fiscal year such as the 52 or 53 weeks ending on the last Saturday of January, etc. Debit depreciation expense for $16,875 and credit accumulated depreciation-equipment for $16,875. Debit accumulated depreciation -equipment for $16,875 and credit depreciation expense for $16,875.

Accounting information should faithfully represent the related business transactions. Accounts receivable tracks the money owed to a person or business by its debtors. It was developed for students and entrepreneurs to build their familiarity with accounting vocabulary. Explore basic accounting terms, acronyms, abbreviations, and concepts everyone should know. Similarly, if your profits fall, it will take longer for any reduction on your tax bill will take longer to take effect. Bear in mind that if your limited company’s profits do fall, you can change your accounting year-end date to later in the year.

Requirements for Accounting Periods

One of the key benefits of this type of accounting period is that the end date of the period is always the same day of the week. So, if a firm used the fiscal year in the previous year as a means to represent its financial statement, the header might read “for the year ended on March 31st, 2021”. Balance sheets cover the end of the accounting period and are prepared at the very end, which is also why they’re also referred to as the “final accounts”. The act of chopping the continuous stream of business events into time periods is arbitrary.

financial data

This allows others within the business to understand those projections’ potential impacts in relatable terms. Overhead (O/H) costs describe expenses necessary to sustain business operations that do not directly contribute to a company’s products or services. Examples include rent, marketing and advertising costs, insurance, and administrative costs. You update the records when the transaction is made, whether or not money has exchanged hands yet. Learn more about the accrual accounting method and how it works here. For example, if you choose to update your accounting records at the end of every month, it’s best to try and stick to that frequency.

Companies may also face higher tax rates as their sales and profits rise. By comparison, fixed costs remain the same regardless of production output or sales volume. Single-entry systems account exclusively for revenues and expenses. Double-entry systems add assets, liabilities, and equity to the organization’s financial tracking.

These are the set of basic rules, laws, regulations, and assumptions which are kept in mind when entering a transaction in accounts books. Experienced accountants keep the entire accounts rule in mind when preparing an accounts book. The ICAI also publishes guidance notes on various topics from time to time to assist in the accounting process and provide clarification.

Dual Aspect Concept

Here, the accounting period is that of half-year, i.e., 1st January to 30th June, and the next period shall be from 1st July to 31st December. The accounting period concept serves the purpose of analysis and comparison of the financial data of the company for two different periods. When two different periods are referred to, analysis can be made regarding various financial parameters that suggest the company’s growth or downfall.

Assets that can easily be converted into cash are known as liquid assets. Accounts receivable, securities, and money market instruments are all common examples of liquid assets. Fixed assets are long-term owned resources of economic value that an organization uses to generate income or wealth. Cash flow describes the balance of cash that moves into and out of a company during a specified accounting period.


Gross profit simply describes the total value of sales in a given accounting period without adjusting for their costs. The method on which the accounting period concept is based is known as accrual method of accounting. As per accrual method, an accounting entry is recorded when an economic event has occurred, irrespective of the cash element for this event. This concept is also based on a matching principle, which says that the cost incurred or recorded in an accounting period must also record the returns generated in the same accounting period.

It therefore defines the stake in a company collectively held by its owner and any investors.The term “owner’s equity” covers the stake belonging to the owner of a privately held company. Publicly traded companies are collectively owned by the shareholders who hold its stock. In corporate accounting, dividends represent portions of the company’s profits voluntarily paid out to investors. Investors are often paid in cash, but may also be issued stock, real property, or liquidation proceeds. In most cases, dividends follow a regular monthly, quarterly, or annual payment schedule.

States that the entity needs to prepare and maintain its book of accounts on a prudent basis. Conservatism says that the entity has to provide for any expected losses or expenses; however, it does not recognize future revenue expected. The concept of an accounting period is used to segment the life of a business into equal pieces. Each of the quarters has thirteen weeks which are grouped into two 4-week months and one 5-week month.

Usually expressed as a percentage, return on investment describes the level of profit or loss generated by an investment. An enrolled agent is a finance professional legally permitted to represent people and businesses in Internal Revenue Service encounters. EAs must earn licensure from the IRS by passing a three-part exam or accruing direct experience as an IRS employee. We also explain relevant etymologies or histories of some words and include resources further exploring accounting terminology. The earlier in the tax year you select as your accounting year-end, the longer you will have to pay tax on your profits for that year.

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For example, say you purchased a new company van that allowed you to drive around to clients’ houses. As a result, you were able to serve more clients and get paid more as a result. In this case, you’d have to report the amount you paid for the van and the extra money you made from your mobile service in the same accounting period. First, the accounting period end date will determine when you need to pay your taxes. This means you have to make sure you have enough funds to pay what you owe to HMRC by the end of your accounting period.

Accounting period

Based on the 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. All the expenses paid in cash or payable are considered and the advance payment of expenses, if any, is deducted. Based on this concept, revenue expenditure and capital expenditure are segregated.

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