Author Archives: Quentin Pain
Author Archives: Quentin Pain
I hope I will learn something from this having never been involved in anything like it before but hubby is setting up his own business and wants me to do the admin and book keeping and accounts so have to learn quick. So thank you for this, wish me luck think I’m going to need it.
Thank you so much for providing us such a wonderful platform for distance learning. I am so eager to attend for next session and I am so hungry to know where does the Equity group fit into.Thanks so much for this course, it has been so useful and engaging!!!
I completed the course a couple of months ago, and have just come back to get certified. I passed! Just a note that I’ve had real difficulties with the certificate – had to save the background image as a jpg then copy and paste the text and combine it all in Word. A pdf download would be so much easier!
Anyway, all sorted now, and thanks again. Thank you for this course I need it to brush up on my accounting skills. When you forget the basic you forget the most important part.Hi, I am currently working in a school as Acting Bursar and even though I have a strong finance background I do need to brush up my book keeping skills, I am so glad I came across this course as I feel this will help me immensely and also help boost my confidence in the long run.I’m really glad there is a course structure like this online – – I’m looking forward to learning and getting to work in the next 12 weeks. Will there be a certification given at the end of the 12 weeks?
Hi! I love this as it’s all coming back. Thank you for this free course as it’s a great refresher course. I wonder if you can help me understand and know where I go from here after the free 12 week course. I graduated with BS in Accountancy in the Philippines about 19 years ago. I never work in accounting in this country ever since I came here for family reasons and the thought that my qualification wasn’t recognized here. But at the moment, I’m really interested to work again while I’m helping my friend doing her bookkeeping. Is it really not recognized here? Do I have to study again to work in the accounting field?
Hi! The money will be under asset as cash in the bank, right! Then either way that is equity whatever kind of business but do you mean that if I have a limited company it will be shareholders account but a different account name if different kind of business? Thank you.
Hi! Looking forward to finish the whole 12 week course to hopefully refresh my knowledge in accounting and learn new or different terms e.g. From where I studied accounting, we used Capital instead of Equity. I really wanted to go back in this career but don’t know where to start. I suppose I have to start from the beginning as it was more than 19 years ago and from a different country. So, thank you for this free course.
Hello,I studied ACCA -Association of certified chartered accounting 6 years ago in Ireland and came to Canada after. couldn’t find same rate pay here so I left the career. I didn’t really study keepkeeping or payroll at all but I figure out it is not difficult to do it base on qualification,now I am bookkeeping my husband restaurant from last 2 and half years with excel sheet only without anybody help, except for search from google. I love the way you teach online and I will take few more weeks courses before I decide whether I will go for fast track. am I able to change by the end of course? do you have some payroll course too?
Enjoyed Lesson 1. It is so easy to follow. How do I register for the free week 2 .. Thanks
Ah, thank you for clarifying that… I was really scratching my head trying to work it out!
I’m really enjoying the course and am managing to follow all the explanations and tasks, but a small thing in this week’s lesson has confused me.
You said: ” The date will be the date you compiled this.” Wouldn’t the date for each transaction be the date it took place, rather than the date the accounts were written up? Hope you can clarify this for me, please.
Of course! Thank you for spelling it out for me! I’m enjoying the course so far, but am having trouble discerning Liabilities from Equity in some instances. Why is it that a mortgage is a Liability, but rent comes under PL and is therefore Equity? Surely repayments on a mortgage are part of PL too?
I’m able to understand working the problems and am getting them done without too much struggle. I’m having a terrible time understanding the instructions. When they say take last week’s P&L and add these two entries to it, I look for the P&L, look for the answers to see what it’s supposed to look like and it often doesn’t look like what we had (from what I’m finding, anyhow.) Then the new entries or last week’s data that we’re starting with will be above or below where I expect to see it. I know you can’t tell exactly what I’m talking about when I can’t tell you more precisely and I’m feeling so confused, I can’t explain it. I’m spending far more time trying to figure out the instructions than I am working the problems. The biggest problem seem to be when it refers to work already done. I find the use of the terms “Debtor” and “Creditor” extremely confusing because their use depends on which way the transaction is going.
Are we paying or receiving? I originally learned in my first classes in bookkeeping by using the terms “Accounts Receivable” and “Accounts Payable” and this was far easier to keep straight. If Debtors and Creditors are common industry use, we’ve got to use these terms. I’ve been looking for links or shortcuts to keep them straight but I’ve been wrestling with these terms for several days and still making as many errors in their use as when I started. Got any suggestions?
Many thanks for your reply, I can confirm I have now gone down the fast tract route and am now hooked, this course is great. thank you also for the link I shall have a look at that. I am really enjoying this course,
Can I confirm that I can switch to the fast tracked course if I wish. Also this is a new area for me and I was thinking , do you do other courses that continue on from this one to enable us to become fully qualified bookkeepers etc.Thanks for your encouragement and your answer.
Not following. I’ve been over the entries several times from where we balanced, let’s say the Sales Account. Balance was 2500. Then you added two additional entries, one for 100 and one for 40. But the original sales account had not had any additional entries made to it. But now it has a balance of 150. What changed the balance or is this a different account? Expense accounts had the same thing. I’m missing something.
Thank you for wanting to teach me about bookkeeping/accounting. I really do have a genuine love for accounting, and trying to seek a career in accounting. Right now I’m a college student majoring Business Administration starting out on my associates degree. As you can see, I’m moving in the right direction at this point. I do hope to get something out of your course.
Thanks for getting back to me so soon. I started this course on Monday and have already finished task for week 6. I find it really easy to understand but I’m now struggling to remember everything I have learnt so have to keep going through my notes. I got the last task correct but I think I need To go through this chapter once more to get my head round P&L and to practice a little more. Thanks again for your support and I am sure I will be asking some more questions in the next few days.
Could you please explain me the reasons behind transaction 5 on the task for last week? I did it the other way around: stationery a credit and accounts payable a debit. I understood it as coming from the stationery to accounts payable/creditors (credit – debit).
I got the final answer correct (4400 on both columns) but there was obviously a mistake. Is there a way I could pick this error when doing it for my business?First of all, thanks for introducing this System. I did Accounting far back in 1975 in which I took RSA (Royal Society of Arts) Stages 1 & 2 Bookkeeping and Accounting, but unfortunately never work with it. I’m at the moment a Truck Driver which involve a lot of physical. And due my age I wonder how long I’m going to hang in there, and therefore, need something to backup in case I’ve a change of profession. Once again I say thanks.
I looked for the answer and didn’t see it. May have missed. What is the difference between the b/d (brought down) and c/d (carried down)? I’m having a very hard time finding things: probably spend an hour looking for stuff for every 5 minutes I spend studying. Right now I’m looking for the workbook. I’ve already been in it several times but can’t find it now. Is there a map or some way to find things?I’m spending an hour looking for things for every 5 minutes I spend studying. Right now I’m looking for the workbook. I’ve been in it several times in the past, but now I’ve lost it again.
Is there a map or some structure to how these are arranged? OK, got it,
Thanks. I had not gotten to the workbook.I’m having a hard time getting the picture on this assignment. What is the data we are to work with? You say it’s at the beginning of this lesson and there are 5 answers.
Where are they? Where is the ledger we post to? We draw up a table. What does a table look like? This doesn’t look like what I’ve seen before? Please comment. Thanks.I do not reside in the UK, and my tax authority is US. I like your class it is very straight forward and precise. I am presently thinking about full time bookkeeping and wondered if the class is recognized by US jurisdictions?I just wanted to say how great this course was and how easy it was to learn with your explanations. However i have just paid for the test but it wont appear on my account for me to take it?
I’ve just started this course I’m a stay at home mum with 3 boys 3 and under and want to get a career under my belt before the youngest (23weeks) is in school (so I have a while yet) this is going to sound like a dumb question but I want to make sure I have the correct understand for task 1, I have the understanding that everything that either costs or pays is an account ie: groceries, nursery fees, rent, electric, work(wages) am I on the right line of understanding?
I seem to progress along through a task fine until it includes figures from the previous weeks then it all goes a bit pear shaped. I think the main problem is the continuation of the totals added to the P&L account, back to the drawing board!
I have been working as a bookkeeper for the last 6 years; I am taking your course now because I just want to make sure I’m not missing something, somewhere. I suppose I’m doing it more as an edification that I DO actually know what I’m doing and because I’m tired of losing jobs because I’m not a CPA (yet.)
In short, I’m doing this because #1) I want to go step by step, #2) I want to use it as a ‘refresher’ course, and #3) I want to learn! Thank you for offering this course. What happens if I want to go from free to option #3? Can I change horses in the middle of the stream easily? Please let me know.
Having looked at other books in an attempt to self teach myself this field, I’ve noticed that most textbooks tend to be intimidating by throwing all sorts of technical jargon at you (like “contra-accounts). without explaining their meaning or the reasoning behind it. Here in some very simple lessons you’ve managed to explain what 100?s of pages of reading only seemed to make even more confusing. I’m very glad that I’ve stumbled across your course and even if some of the rules might be slightly different here in the US, at the very least, you’ve given me a much clearer understanding of the principles and philosophies involved. Thank You.
Is there an easy way to remember which way the transaction goes when its ‘a sale on credit of 1500?? It’s these ones I keep getting the wrong way round Just what I needed all this years. Very Interesting. I am enjoying starting to learn about this but im not sure about how to do the task.. I dont suppose there is someone who can point me in the right direction? Do we just need the names of the accounts, or the actual lists. for example: for ‘Bank’ would the account be the bank statements? or everything that appears on the statements? Can you tell i have NEVER done this before haha
I have done some sort of bookkeeping for years at the various jobs I have held, and have used a few different software programs. It has been a long, long time since I took a basic accounting class in school, and I really want to have a working knowledge of what current bookkeeping software is doing, so that I can really be able to confirm the reports. All the calculations are no longer with paper and pencil, yet I do not like to just assume that the program is correct. Although, this is not a software class, per se, I will learn things that I have either forgotten or never really knew. And I will be able to understand what the reports are saying, and correct any errors. Thanks so much for this information.
I’ve just started working from home and I’m struggling to get my head around the bookkeeping I need to do. I’ve a young son so not a lot of time each week to spend learning a new skill on top of trying to keep the business going. I thought I had it worked out but then realised half the information I’d need for a tax return was missing from my files. I’m really hoping this course helps.
Thank you for this free information. I have actually done bookkeeping in an accountants office a few years ago, but I moved. I am now at a point in my life where I need to supplement my single income and have decided to do Freelance Bookkeeping in the evenings and on weekends. I am over half way through the Accounting/Bookkeeping Course with ICS Learning (on line/at home). I just need a little more confidence to get started. I am currently an Administrative Assistant (doing mainly accounts receivables and posting accounts payables. I think this is the just boost to give me more confidence as I know once I get that first job I will feel great. I know I can do the work. Right now I am only comfortable doing the A/R, A/P, Bank Recs and GST here in Alberta. I am able to print out and read the reports from Simply/Sage Accounting also. Thank you again. I know I will benefit. Trish
Is it only me that is still confused? Thank very much. your course is easy to understand and I am very glad that i have started.
No problem, i don’t think it was because I was clever, just that it confused me, and up to then, your course had been very understandable!
As the accounts mentioned were ‘Sales’ and Cash’ (which i used in my answer), your answer used ‘Sales’ and ‘Bank’.
I expect I haven’t fully got it, but as all the other answers, 2-5 (which i got right 🙂 used the same accounts as the question, I thought Task 1 should? Thank you for your quick replay.
I’m studying for an exam at the end of a bookkeeping module as part of an accountancy training (so this is only the beginning for me). Your course is very good, and I thank you very muck for it! I wanted some more information about the imprest system because I need to write about it (and my book doesn’t explain it very well) I was surprised I couldn’t find any mention of it. Another thing that I thought would be part of this is bank reconciliation … would be nice to have, even a short reference would do… or did I miss it? many thanks again!
One of the most common accounting areas people want to know about is Accounting Ratios.
With just a little math you can quickly discover a lot about a business.
All you need is some basic statistics and figures such as turnover, sales and expenses tracked over time and you can figure out pretty much anything.
We have set up an Accounting Ratio page over here:
Also, another massive area of interest is our Accounting Glossary, which unusually is actually written so people can understand the terms. How good is that!
You can find that over here:
Finally, you may want to learn all about Double-Entry bookkeeping and how to understand Debits from Credits.
That is covered in great detail in the Accounting for Everyone Fast Track Online Course. Here’s how to find out more:
Double-entry accounting is really very simple provided you follow these rules.
Everything starts with a Source Document. That is usually an invoice for something you have sold or a receipt for something you have bought.
Each Source Document is copied into your double-entry system by creating Transactions.
A Source Document always contains at least one complete transaction, and depending on your accounting system sometimes more.
A double-entry transaction consists of a minimum of two Entries.
That is, each transaction you create must have at least two entries.
Each entry contains either a Debit or a Credit.
Debits and Credits are amounts of money.
For a Transaction to be true to the double-entry principle, two rules must be obeyed:
1. The entries involved must contain at least one Debit and at least one Credit.
2. The value of all the Debits must equal the value of all the Credits.
Each entry must consist of a minimum of four pieces of data as follows:
2. Reference (so it can be identified with a source document)
3. Amount (known as a Debit or a Credit)
4. Account (whose balance will be increased or decreased by the amount depending on whether it is a Debit or a Credit)
Every transaction tracks an amount of money from one account to one or more other accounts.
As long as the Debit amounts equal the Credit amounts, then we know that all the money has been accounted for.
The idea that we are doubling the amount of data by making two entries is a myth.
The two (or more) entries merely record the flow of money from one account to another. That is its sole purpose.
It is called Double-entry because two entries are the minimum required to record the two accounts involved in every transaction.
For example, buying a computer for your business involves your Bank and your Equipment accounts.
Once the transaction has been entered, a look at your books will show how much you have left in your bank and how much you have spent on equipment.
If you don’t know these things, it is unlikely your business will stay profitable as you will have no idea what is going on.
This is why double-entry accounting is used universally around the world and has been in existence for many thousands of years.
NOTE: If you want to learn more about double-entry, take an online exam and get a certificate to prove you know what you’re talking about, consider joining the Accounting for Everyone Certified Online Bookkeeping Course and join over 12,000 others who’ve already been through it and love its simplicity. Here’s the link:
If you are new to bookkeeping and accounting then you should optin to the Accounting for Everyone 12 week online course.
Put together by Quentin Pain in 1998 the course has been available for many years and has recently been updated, although the principles of double-entry have not changed in 600 years.
But what has changed is the way you can think about the logic behind double-entry.
And that is what makes Accounting for Everyone so unique in the world of accounting and bookkeeping courses.
Here’s some fundamentals you will want to remember if you ever get stuck either in day to day bookkeeping or if you find yourself taking an accounting exam.
Next time you try to figure out which is the credit and which the debit apply the From/To principle and you will get it.
For example, entering an expense of 100 for travel paid for in cash.
And let’s look at the other side. Recording a sale of 500 paid into the bank.
The course has many brilliant snippets like this, so choose an option below and get started.
The number of online accounting courses is quite limited, and of those not many are particularly good, but Accounting for Everyone is one of the diamonds in the pack.
It was put together from over 12 years of research into the double-entry model and how it can be explained in a logical way (and trust me, it is not easy to condense 1,000+ page hard to understand text books into something ordinary humans can grasp).
So in 1998 the first edition of the book that transformed double-entry hit the shelves of Amazon: Accounting for Everyone.
Now in its sixth edition, Accounting for Everyone has helped over 12,000 students get to grips with the fundamentals in a way no other course on accounting and bookkeeping ever has.
And you can now get the whole 12 week online Accounting for Everyone course for an extremely low cost.
When you finish, there is an optional Basic Bookkeeping Certificate online exam you can take to show other people you know the basics.
You get access to all the modules immediately as well as the downloadable PDF version of the workbook and access to the online exam.
This includes the following modules:
You get to access the whole course immediately, so you can work as fast or slow as you like.
Plus you also get a downloadable version of the course workbook (150+ pages) including all the question and answer grids that enhance the Accounting for Everyone course.
And on top of that you get full access to our online Basic Bookkeeping Certification exam.
You can take this as many times as you like until you pass (unlike other courses!), but if you go through every week diligently you will have no problem passing the exam.
We show you simple memory methods not explained anywhere else on how to remember how to cope with debits and credits and getting them in the right order.
This one simple method alone has helped literally thousands of people pass their bookkeeping and accountancy exams.
So all you need to do now is decide when you want to start.
Here’s a great resource from Loris Tissino. He has developed a site to step you through double-entry including transactions and posting. I think you will find this another very useful tool.
Loris has written a piece for Accounting for Everyone describing it. Here we go:
If you are a student and want to practice bookkeeping and accounting, what can you do? If you look for explanations on the web, you’ll find lots of tutorials that teach you the basic concepts, like what an account is, how double entry works, how to prepare a trial balance or a financial statement, and so on. That’s fine, but what do you have to do to practice?
Probably you need to actually write down your journal entries, preparing a paper with some T-accounts, and manually copy the amounts from the journal to the T-accounts. To prepare the statements, you have to make dozens of (boring) sums, putting it all together in a nice paper.
If you are a bit more evoluted, you can open up a spreadsheet, and do your journal entries there. Some sorting, some filtering, some subtotals computing, and you are almost done. Better than using pen and paper, but a bit complicated, though (and things tend to get messy if you don’t pay attention to some details).
Of course, you could use some software to accomplish your task. You can find programs that are actually used by companies to do the job. The problem with this approach is that these kind of programs are not much flexible (they don’t have to). You cannot easily adapt the chart of accounts to your needs, you have to fill tons of information that are very important for the business’ life but irrelevant for what concerns your exercise, and sometimes you cannot even edit what you have previously done.
If you are a student and faced this kind of problems, you’ll be glad to know about a new web site aimed to allow you practice bookkeeping keeping everything easy. It’s LearnDoubleEntry.org. The usage is completely free, and the source code is available as free software. The good news is that you don’t have to install anything on your computer, since it is web-based. Just login, create a firm, and start bookkeeping. As you proceed, you can check the Ledger, the Trial Balance and the Financial Statement. If you make errors, you can easily correct them. You can have your transactions analysed, and you are warned if some of the results don’t look normal (like having cash with a negative balance). You can use a standard chart of accounts or prepare a new one. You can share your firm with another student, so that you can work together. And you can send a link to your teacher, if you want him/her to check it.
For those with a passion for languages and internationalization, there is also the possibility to prepare a multilanguage chart of accounts. The application is under development, but already usable enough. Of course, it is open to improvements (you can help by sending comments and reporting bugs).
Depreciation is really important yet few bother to do it. Why? because it seems so hard to do.
But the reality is that it is really very simple.
But first we need to look at what it is, and why we need to do it.
Everything you buy to use for your business is an asset. However, over time your assets generally lose value. A computer becomes obsolete, your vehicle’s mileage gets higher and higher and requires more and more spare parts. Something that you bought today, may be cheaper to buy a year from now.
There are many reasons of course. So why do we need to record the change in value to our assets? It is because we must always reflect a true picture of our business.
We may need to do that in order to get a loan, or to show our investors the value of the business as it stands today, or to value the business properly if we are going to sell it.
There is one more important thing about depreciation. It is a book value item. That is, it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with tax and limiting your liability for it. This is a common misconception.
Inland Revenue services around the world deal with asset depreciation and claiming that depreciation against tax in different ways, but the most common is by giving business owners an allowance.
When you record depreciation, you are doing so only in your books. Never ever think of depreciation as some form of allowance or tax mitigating transaction. You are simply recording what you (or some valuer) really believes the loss (or gain) in value of an asset really is.
This is a good thing. You want your books to reflect reality. In fact you are legally obliged to do so. Before we get into the transactions, here’s one last reason why you must see depreciation and allowances as different things.
In many countries, if a business makes a loss, they can put off an allowance and carry it forward to a future year. So you can get the case where a business has bought, say, a computer for 500 and values it at the end of the year at 300 (if you bought a brand new computer today, how much could you sell it for tomorrow?).
The depreciation on that computer is 40% and that is what you must record in your books (don’t worry the actual transactions are coming shortly). However, your Inland Revenue (IR) service may only let your claim a 25% allowance, so you can see that the balances will already be skewed. But that is how it should be.
A worse case is where you make a loss and decide not to claim that year. In your books the computer will be worth 300 but your IR service will still have it valued at 500. The following year you will depreciate it down to, say, 200 and because you make a profit you will want to claim your 25% allowance of… 500! which is 125.
So now your book value is 200 and the IR have it as 375. The bottom line is, unless you are a tax specialist or you are submitting your own tax returns, you need not be concerned with the IR valuation. You are only concerned with recording a true and fair picture of the value of your business.
Your chart of accounts should be set up with a group called ‘Fixed Assets’. This is where you add accounts to hold the balance of assets you have bought. Each asset account should have a depreciation account associated with it. This will hold the accumulated depreciation of assets over the years (it is often called ‘Accumulated Depreciation’ for this reason).
To see the value of your assets, subtract the accumulated depreciation from the asset balance.
The reason for keeping both balances is so that you can see at a glance what your assets originally cost you (in case you need to replace them so you get a better idea of the investment needed).
There is one thing missing from this though. Where do we record the other side of the Accumulated Depreciation amount?
The answer is in the Profit and Loss account. You can set up a new group in there specially for it. Let’s call the account This Year’s Depreciation (or even P&L Depreciation to make it clear where it is going).
So make a journal Debiting This Year’s Depreciation and Crediting Accumulated Depreciation.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it.
Using the technique taught in the Accounting for Everyone course, you are simple transferring an amount From Accumulated Depreciation To P&L Depreciation.
If you want to try this out, download the trial of Business Accountz available on Accountz.com and give it a go. Use the Green books (‘transfers’) to do this or use the traditional journal. Remember you can flip between From/To and Credit/Debit in the menu option Tools > Language (choose English – Accountant for the latter).
And if you haven’t done so already, sign up below to start the Accounting for Everyone Online Certified Bookkeeping Course. We go into depreciation in greater detail on the course, including standard ways to depreciate such as straight line depreciation and reducing balance.
The Legendary Business Owners Program is a new service from Small Business Mentor of the Year and founder of Accounting for Everyone, Quentin Pain.
Whilst only a few people ever qualify as being a well known celebrity, every business owner can become legendary for what they do either in their industry or in their locality.
That can happen in a number of ways including being featured in your local newspaper via press releases, guest articles or even advertising if you have the budget.
But Quentin’s Legendary Business Owners program ads a massive amount more to this very basic idea.
It starts with mentoring and training, goes into the technical side of things (think internet here) and then goes on to creating your message and how to broadcast and market that super effectively.
The thing is, all of us are legendary in one way or another, it’s just how we choose to use that that makes the difference between success and failure in business.
For a more detailed breakdown and contact details please visit Quentin’s Legendary Business Owners page.
I have been passionate about accounting ever since I started my first business back in 1979 in the UK. It grew quickly and became successful, and I developed a computer program during that time to run the accounts of the business.
So here we are 33 years later and a LOT wiser, plus a few more successful businesses under my belt, but you know, the best thing about it all has been the businesses I have helped. And especially, the people who run those businesses.
2013 is going to be an incredible year for small businesses and those who want to become bookkeepers. So I would just like to wish you all a super journey and a really prosperous year in your ventures.
PS. If you want to learn a little more about marketing your business go and sign up at http://QuentinPain.com
Another year is upon us and at a time of world recession, you can not do better than being a bookkeeper. The number of new startup businesses is increasing globally because of redundancies and people unwilling to work for others.
The one thing they all have in common is that they don’t want to learn or do bookkeeping. How do I know? Simple, I have trained tens of thousands of people since I first published ‘Accounting For Everyone’ in 1998, and this site is now in the top ten of bookkeeping tuition sites. yet out of a global population approaching 7 billion, only a very very small fraction are interested in the subject.
One of my missions has been to teach people how to make their businesses more successful through understanding accounting and I know from the feedback that it is greatly appreciated, but I also know that most businesses would prefer to pay someone for doing this task. And that is where you come in.
Now, how do you take advantage of this?
The simple answer is to understand marketing. I know from the many business owners I have talked to over the past 32 years that most spend less than 20% of their resources on marketing. And yet, statistics show that the most successful businesses spend upwards of 50%.
So the answer must be to either devote more time or spend more of your resources on marketing. The great thing about bookkeeping though is that once you have a full roster of clients (ie. enough to give you a full time business) then your marketing spend can come down considerably (unless of course your plans are to expand and take on additional bookkeepers).
This is great news for bookkeepers. But it means at the start you must get a grip on how to sell your business and yourself.
So let me introduce you to my other blog at QuentinPain.com. Everything I have ever learnt about running a business is being added to that site. Take a look and leave a comment if you can. I would love your feedback.
If you are not familiar with balance sheets you should take my bookkeeping course first as I don’t want to put anyone off with this article. OK, with the warning out of the way, let’s press on…
With most accounting systems, things like balance sheets are considered as reports. That is, something you need to compile on such and such a date. The same convention also applies to the profit and loss account etc. What very few people realise is that they can all be expressed as accounts. Radical thinking eh!
Balance Sheet as an Account
A balance sheet usually consists of three items:
It represents the accounting equation: Assets = Liabilities + Equity (or ALE to help you remember – imagine yourself drinking an ice cold beer on a hot summer’s day whilst entering a journal or two).
The system of double-entry is based (at its simplest level) on two things:
Your debits must equal your credits for everything to balance, hence the name balance sheet. But wait a minute, we are looking at three things on most balance sheets (ALE). How does that work?
Hence the accounting equation shown above. This is also why a horizontal balance sheet only shows two sides (you wont see this pattern in a vertically oriented balance sheet).
Profit and Loss as an Account
Let’s take a look at an extended Profit and Loss report:
It contains a whole bunch of account groups. But each group consists of accounts with either a debit or a credit balance. When you consolidate those accounts in each group you end up with either a debit or credit balance. Here we go:
The final balance of the Profit and Loss ‘account’ will be placed in the Equity section of the balance sheet. All your individual liability accounts will be summarised and placed into the Liability section, and all your assets (Bank, Cash, Debtors, Stock etc.) end up being summarised or consolidated into the Assets section.
The pattern is very simple and clear. Whether an account is some individual thing (like Stationery or Bank) or consists of a group of accounts (like Cost of Goods) you can look at them all as examples of ‘accounts’. Go that one step further and consolidate their balances into balance sheet ‘categories’ and you can see the same pattern.
So the result is quite simply that a balance sheet and a profit and loss report is at its core just another account. That is why I talk about the first rule of accounting as ‘everything is an account, and there are no special cases’. It is wonderfully elegant.
It’s been an incredibly busy month here on Accounting for Everyone, with many wonderful new comments on the various weeks course material.
It took me many years to really understand double-entry. I did it by reading all the books I could get my hands on, and talking to thousands of business owners, oh, and the odd accountant here and there 😉
There are so many idiosyncrasies in the jargon of double-entry bookkeeping, and of course different countries are bound to use slightly different terms for the same thing. Let’s take a look at a couple of those.
This is a great one. Journal = book = diary = log. I.e. a place to write something down. That’s all. But it used most commonly to describe a specific type of transaction. That is where the confusion comes in. There are no ‘special’ transactions. In just the same way there are no special accounts. All a transaction does is move money around. Period. So a transaction consists of a number of ‘entries’. Each entry affects one account. If an accountant or trained bookkeeper needs to make some correction, they say ‘just journal it’ (or something similar). This raises the ‘journal’ on a pedestal to some new height, but it is not like that. In short, you can ‘journalise’ everything and anything.
It is really understanding terms like this that will make you confident in bookkeeping, and that of course is where my bookkeeping course really hits the target (according to all the comments).
Another great one. In the UK we call it the ‘nominal’ ledger. Everywhere else it is called the ‘general’ ledger. What does it mean? Nothing. A ledger is where you place your accounts. That is all any ledger is. If you group all your customer accounts into one place, then you could name it your ‘Sales Ledger’. If you are in the US you may want to call it ‘Accounts Receivable’. Whatever you want to label it, they are all the same. A place to store accounts and look up their balances.
There are of course a number of different alternative names used around the world, but the most fundamental are covered in the course. What is important is that whatever something may be called, it does not differ in terms of how it is used in accounting and bookkeeping.
A new forum will start here in April 2011, which will be a great place for everyone to get together and discuss anything they like that is connected with bookkeeping and business (and maybe we should also have an off-topic area too). Here’s to all of us 🙂
I just had to write a thank you note to all my loyal subscribers. Thank you so much for subscribing to my bookkeeping course. Your comments have been fantastic, and the Facebook recommendations have also been overwhelming. Please DO continue to recommend this course as I know it is helping a lot of people understand something that is core to the success of any business.
As global communication and information increases, so it empowers people to take action. This in turn not only drives economies, but gives people the responsibility needed to ensure their lives are, at the very least, interesting. By that I mean, running your own business or taking control of a particular area of a business. Of course, running a business does not necessarily make you immediately happy, but what it does do is give you the tools (and money) to achieve that end more easily.
I would like to find out what proportion of subscribers and visitors to this site are in business already, thinking of starting a business, wanting to help a friend, improving their career prospects, or are simply fascinated by double-entry (no, it’s not sad, I am one of them LOL). So please add your vote to the poll on the right (you can vote for up to 2 answers). As soon as you vote you will be able to see the result for yourself too.
Feel free to add a comment below. Thanks again.
Many business owners stick stubbornly to their policies, claiming that it confuses staff if you give them some room to talk more freely to customers. One of the things I found to win over customers is to listen. And I mean listen carefully. They are the ones with the problem, and for some reason they chose to contact you. That means:
So, if when they ring, you find yourself saying: “Er, no, we don’t do that”, then it’s time to learn that your marketing is sending the wrong message, or worse, you don’t really understand the problem you think you are solving (and without a problem to solve, there is usually no business). So, if you can change, do so, and start saying YES.
I am not a fan of Alan Sugar’s management, but as he once said: I am usually right, but when 10 people are telling you you are wrong, maybe they have a point.
WInning over customers is simple if you solve their problem.
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A while back I was watching an episode of Dragons Den that reminded me of the confusion that abounds around the words: turnover, gross profit, net profit, profit margin and a bunch of other terms that have everything to do with how you view the profitability of a business.
This is your total sales figure. Literally, in money terms, how much you sold during a particular period (usually your financial year). Turonver To Date means the turnover so far this year. From this you can start to make a prediction of your total turnover for the year. If you have professional indemnity insurance you will need to know this. Most policies allow a degree of error of 50% (to make up for the uncertainty factor), but check your insurance small print. Never confuse turnover with profit. One last thing, always quote turnover excluding sales tax or VAT. If you quote turnover including tax, any potential investors will run a mile (they will see you as someone who likes to inflate figures).
If all you sell is a service. And there are no costs directly involved in supplying that service, then your gross profit is the same as your turnover. However, if you resell other peoples’ goods or services, manufacture things for resale or do have costs directly involved with what you do, then you need to remove those costs from your sales in order to arrive at your gross profit. Typically these costs will be held an account called Cost of Goods Sold (aka Cogs). If you sell mainly services, this is often shortened to simply Cost of Sales (COS). Here’s a simple example: You buy a widget at a cost of 100 and you resell it for 200. If you sell just one of these, your turnover will be 200. However, your gross profit will be 100 (because you must subtract the cost of the goods sold).
Using the previous example, the gross margin is 50%. Gross Margin = Selling Price less Cost Price divided by Selling Price multiplied by 100.
Again, using the previous example, we marked up the product from 100 to 200, which equals a 100% markup.
There are multiple versions of this! The bottom line is your turnover less all costs. Your costs are not only Cogs and overheads but also depreciation of your assets, any amortization of loans and of course your tax liability on the profit made. Accountants use different abbreviations to show exactly what degree of profit they are reporting. The most common is EDITDA.
Earnings Before Interest, Taxation, Depreciation and Amortization. In other words your turnover less Cogs, overheads and other expenses. You can quote on any subset of this. For example: EBIT = Earnings Before Interest and Taxation (so here we are including depreciation and amortization).
Learn the above and you will impress any investor (and bank manager).
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SSAP2 Disclosure of accounting policies (see
FRS10 Goodwill and intangible assets
FRS 11 Impairment of fixed assets and goodwill
FRS 12 Provisions, contingent liabilities and contingent
FRS 13 Derivatives and other financial instruments: disclosures
FRS 14 Earnings per share
FRS 15 Tangible fixed assets
FRS 16 Current tax
FRS 17 Retirement Benefits
FRS 18 Accounting policies
FRS 19 Deferred tax
Extant at 1 January 2001
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We are on the last day of 2010 and for me this year has gone way too fast. I don’t know whether it is simply because I am older – and everyone I know is also a year older! but they all say the same thing. Fast, fast fast!
Luckily in terms of bookkeeping, nothing has changed at all, apart from the fact that ‘modern’ double-entry bookkeeping is now one year older of course. But looked at in the perspective of around 600 years, that is very little indeed.
The recession continues, and pretty much everywhere in the world we are all in the so called ‘austerity’ era! For the poor, it has never gone away. For the rich, it means one less mince pie. For the rest of us, if we have a job, there is not much change really. So my advice for all those weary of the 9-5 working lifestyle… change it starting in 2011.
Start your own business. You will be working much longer hours, but the big difference is that you will be doing it because you want to do it. Once you start you will find it difficult to stop. Be warned about that. As soon as you taste the freedom of running your own business, it becomes an obsession. And that is a good thing.
One vitally important thing you must do is to ensure you surround yourself with enthusiastic and optimistic people. As Tim Smit, the founder of the Eden project in the UK says, get rid of anyone who tells you what you are doing is a waste of time (actually he encourages you to do something much worse with them!). What you are doing is you are doing something for yourself. It is by far the best way to do things. If you get it right, others will follow you. You wont be able to stop them. But you must stay focused. And you must take action.
I have read a number of great books this year. The two I absolutely recommend to anyone are:
1. Dale Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People. If everyone followed his advice, we would all be so much happier with our lives.
2. Drew Whitman: Ca$hvertising. As Lord Sugar said once on The Apprentice: “I have written many books on advertising – most of them cheque books.”. This book explodes the myth of advertising. If you ever need the answer to whether advertising is any good, read this book. Did you know that the only place worth paying a premium for in print advertising is the inside front cover? Forget right hand facing, near content, inside back cover, back cover, they are all pretty much of a muchness. The front inside cover however shows an average 30% increase in response rates. And even that is not great when you think about how much extra you have to pay. As the book says, if what you are selling is not of interest to the audience, you are wasting your money.
So, Market, Media, Message. That is all you need to know. Of all the multiple letter abbreviations (the 7 p’s, the 3 R’s the 101 Z’s etc), this is the only one that really matters.
And finally, for the message itself. Read Dan S Kennedy’s book: The Ultimate Sales Letter.
Good luck and Happy New Year.
Quentin Pain FIAB
Any accounting course will take you through the basics, but to really get ahead quickly you should sign up for our free 12 week accounting and bookkeeping course by filling in the form on the right.
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Most people new to accounting struggle with their debits and their credits, misposting them, but worse, getting them the wrong way round. I know this from the many seminars I give where my first question is always “if I take money from my bank, do I record it as a debit or a credit?”. All those who have never studied accounting before get this the wrong way round. Find out how to ensure you NEVER get it wrong with our beautiful and wonderfully simple memory tricks. Pure logic you will love.
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Quentin Pain FIAB
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For the first time you will be able to really understand debits and credits by learning a wonderfully simple concept that ensures you get them the correct way round! (and for those new to bookkeeping, I can tell you right now, everyone gets them the wrong way round at first).
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I have personally taken her course and gained my own qualifications through her. The course is distance learning and tailored precisely for the examinations you will need to pass. A 100% pass rate is guaranteed.