"When you think about accountants, who would want to be an accountant? But, what would we do without accountants? Whether it's soldiers or garbage men or doctors, everyone has the thing that they love." -Fred Willard
If you asked a five-year-old what he wants to be when he grows up he might say a firefighter, a policeman, a doctor, an astronaut or teacher. Careers that have the potential to make a difference in other people's lives influence the choice of young ones.
It would be extremely strange to hear a youngster say that he wanted to be an accountant when he grows up. Accountants do not have glamorous jobs and their work is accomplished behind the scenes. Nevertheless, where would we be without accountants in today's world?
So what do you need to study accounting?
Accountants have notable numeracy skills, an analytical mind and are excellent at making money last. The best accountants have helped the richest people in the world achieve wealth and prestige. Experienced accountants have a great knowledge of financial matters and know how to get their clients the tax breaks and deductions they deserve.
A career in accounting seems uneventful and boring to people on the outside but crunching numbers, finding financial solutions and identifying out the uneven accounts of corrupt businesspeople can be extremely fulfilling.
Even if you do not wish to pursue a career in accounting a basic knowledge of finance and accounting can help you a lot when opening a small business or doing your own taxes during tax season.
Studying accounting basics can be done in many effective ways by attending workshops, attaining a university degree or reading many informative books. Superprof is here to show readers what are the best books to read and examine in order to acquire a basic knowledge in the field of accounting before taking an exam.
Different Types of Accountancy
Before diving into a pile of books about accounting, it is important to note that there are different kinds of accountants specialized in distinct types of accountancy.
Many have gone to university to attain a degree in accounting, finance or business and others have undergone basic accounting courses. In order to be eligible to apply for the best accounting jobs, many have undergone the learning of different modules or subjects and passed some sort of exam from the ATT (Association of Taxation Technicians) or ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) to be a chartered accountant.
Whatever the previous level training may be, here are the different types of accountancy most common in the United Kingdom:
- Audit: every year it is required by law for large companies to produce an annual report and statement of their accounts. Auditors are external accountants that are hired to come in and check if the report is correct and if the business financial practices are up to par with the law. Auditors have a legal right to get their hands on everything and check all company reports. Nothing is hidden and auditors are trained to notice fishy numbers from the annual reports. They spend a lot of time travelling from office to office reviewing new businesses. A university diploma is usually required to work as an auditor.
- Financial accounting: this is the kind of accounting everyone thinks of when they hear the word accountant. They might also be known as a public accountant and work for small or large accounting firms. These accountants keep track of a company's or businesses' financial transactions. They constantly know how much money is coming in and going out of the business. If you like to keep the books or numbers tidy and organized this is the job position for you. Many accountants without much previous training work in this sector.
- Tax Accounting: these accountants deal with why individuals and companies need to pay taxes and for what. They are familiar with tax laws and complete all the necessary forms demanded by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). They work with private individuals who hire them to find ways to pay fewer taxes. This job is great for those who like problem-solving.
- Forensic Accounting: these guys are pretty much financial Sherlock Holmes'. Pretty brilliant, right? These accountants may be hired by lawyers or law firms to examine financial statements in a divorce case or by a large company to ensure that fraud is being prevented and that everything is completely legal. You'll love this job if you are interested in law, have good ethics and are able to take a logical approach when analyzing things.
All of the aforementioned types of accountancy make the accounting profession varied and more interesting than the majority of people thought.
Find more basic accounting lessons online here on Superprof.
The Best Books to Read and Study In Order to Understand Accounting
Since there are over 2,000,000 accountants on the planet registered with the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), there are many informative books on accounting that can be read online or bought in your neighbourhood bookshop.
Many want to learn more about accounting in order to do their own taxes, be prepared and learn more while studying to be an accountant or acquire knowledge in order to help other people in the future.
However, numbers and accounting terms can be hard to process for the brain sometimes. It is, therefore, necessary to find books that explain complicated terms in simple language.
Here are some of the best books to read and study to learn more about accounting:
- Accounting Made Simple: this informative book that is written by Mike Piper, explains the basics of accounting in under 100 pages. Instead of using terminology and language that most readers cannot understand, Piper explains things in a simple and straightforward way. The concepts of the accounting theory, reading and preparing a financial report or statement and calculation are all explained in lamen's terms to help beginners.
- Accounting All-in-One for Dummies: these books for dummies help just about anyone understand the most complex topics. Instead of buying a pile of books, this one is perfect for explaining the basic concepts of accounting in just over 700 pages. This book is fantastic and explains simple accounting practices and terms such as debit and credit and even more complicated ones like amortization and regulation. The book also teaches budding accounting how to make smart business decisions by using simple examples and everyday scenarios. This guide is available for purchase either new or used on Amazon.
- Accounting Handbook: when a book has been written by so many registered accountants, it is bound to be informative and useful. Some chapters of this book are more directed to a US audience, however, this book is an extensive A-Z dictionary of accounting terms.
- The Tax & Legal Playbook: accounting and tax are some of the most difficult subjects to understand sometimes but Mark Kohler has written this book in an entertaining way that makes these subjects more fun. A great read for small business owners who want to learn the basics of cost accounting in order to avoid an onslaught of taxes at the end of the year. It is a great book to prepare individuals for tax planning and saving. The real-life examples included in this book help people to understand the concepts of accounting and taxes.
- Warren Buffet Accounting: inspired by one of the richest men in the world, the authors explain that accounting is simply incomplete without investing. Invest your hard earned money and savings can scare many people but this book explains things in a very direct way to help investors think smart and make good decisions. Helps individuals make calculations and read between the lines.
- Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh from the Lemonade Stand: this book is very special and interesting to read for those who have no previous knowledge of accounting or finance. The concepts of accounting are so simply explained that even children could understand! Readers learn how to apply financial terms and concepts by using real-life examples that are provided in the book. Never has learning accounting been so easy! This book is available to buy on Amazon and priced at £9.40 for the Kindle Edition and £9.90 for the paperback.
- The Bottom Line is Betrayal: informative books about accounting concepts do not have to be boring and painful to read. This is a great example of a book combining both education and entertainment to make learning about economics, accounting and finance more fun. Written by L. Murphy Smith, Katherine T. Smith and D. Larry Crumbley, this book talks about the continually changing world of business. Readers are introduced to contemporary issues such as auditing, marketing and corporate espionage. The book is extremely informative and a great replacement to a dull old textbook about accounting!
- Accounting Principles: this book teaches readers about different areas of accounting information such as managerial accounting and business accounting. Each chapter of this book is filled with diagrams, pictures and examples to have readers understand accounting in a simple way.
The aforementioned books are some of the industry's best in order to have regular people understand the basic concepts of accounting. We all learn things in different ways and it is best to try out a few of these options to find the one that best suits your needs.
After reading these books, you'll be able to answer most of your friend's questions about accounting. Who knows, they might even pay you to do their taxes!
The Most Helpful Accounting Tips
Whether you have bought a bunch of books to study accounting in order to manage your accounts and be the bookkeeper of your small business or want to do your taxes, helpful tips are always welcome, some of which can be found using online resources.
Helpful tips and tricks from registered accountants especially about management accounting help you save time and money. It is important to follow their advice because making mistakes while doing your own accounts can be very frustrating and detrimental.
The following tips are mostly for those running their own businesses and to work on their principle accounting skills but those who wish to do their own taxes can learn practical wisdom here also. Without further ado, here are our best suggestions in order to successfully do your accounts:
- Manage cash flow: this is crucial if you are managing your own business and taking care of the accounts. By being constantly alert at how much money is coming in and going out of your little business you will be more prepared to pay for unexpected expenses that could arise. Preparation and careful budgeting will keep your business from losing profit. Make sure payments and your debts are paid on their due date to avoid late fees.
- Keep track of those who owe you money: when running your own small business, late payments can really mess things up and disrupt your stable cash flow. Work for customers you trust and who have the reputation for paying bills on time. If you are accepting a new customer be sure to create a legally binding contract with terms that both parties have agreed on. Don't be late when sending out an invoice and send them again if payment has not been received. Persistence is key in this regard.
- Use online accounting resources and software: making good use of a virtual accounting system or accounting software will save you a lot of money and time. Having an application like QuickBooks can keep things in order and avoid intense stacks of receipts piling up. Xero and Freshbooks also come highly recommended to manage the bookkeeping part of your business and send out invoices. Paying for an accounting software is a necessary business expense.
Even beginners with no previous experience in accounting can do their own taxes, create their own ledger and do the accounts of their business thanks to helpful books and online resources.
The fundamental world of accounting is not as dull as you previously thought; it's complex and requires much effort for things to be done well. Who knows maybe the studying of books about accounting and financial reporting may inspire you to take up this profession!
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