What is the recording function of the accounting process?

The accounting cycle is the process of accepting, recording, sorting, and crediting payments made and received within a business during a particular accounting period.

Companies generally balance their books each quarter and then again at year-end, though others may prefer to settle the books every day or every week—that’s a lot of work, but it can be done.

Based on the transactions recorded as part of the accounting cycle, financial statements such as cash-flow reports, profit-and-loss statements, and balance sheets can be prepared.

Once all the business accounts have been balanced, they are closed out for that period; new ones are then created for the next accounting period.

Steps in the accounting cycle

Depending on whom you talk to, the accounting cycle can have anywhere from seven to nine steps, based on how detailed each step is.

  1. Financial transactions occur, such as selling inventory, buying raw materials, or making lease payments.
  2. Those transactions are noted in the appropriate financial journal, depending on what money was spent or where it was spent. Debits are used to indicate money spent, and credits are used for money that is received.
  3. The transactions are then posted to the account in the general ledger, the list of all the business’s financial accounts that those transactions impact, such as rent or wages or marketing.
  4. At the end of the accounting period, you run a trial balance to see if all the numbers balance. Frequently, they won’t, so adjustments are necessary.
  5. The next step is trying to find the cause of the imbalance and correcting it.
  6. Once the accounts are balanced, financial statements are prepared.
  7. At the end of the period, the books are closed out, with new revenue and expense accounts created with zero balances. These are used for the next accounting period.

The trouble with balancing

The accounting cycle’s purpose is to ensure that all the money coming into or going out of a business is accounted for. That’s why balancing is so critical.

However, errors are frequently made when recording entries, leading to an incorrect trial balance that needs to be adjusted so that debits and credits match.

The most common reasons for an account imbalance include:

  • Forgetting a transaction
  • Posting a transaction to the wrong account
  • Posting a transaction as a debit instead of a credit, or vice versa
  • Duplicate postings
  • Posting the wrong amount

Once discovered, the error is easily corrected.

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When an accounting transaction occurs, it can be recorded in the books of an organization in a number of ways. The following comments note the most common methods available. These recordation methods all create entries in the general ledger, or else in a subsidiary ledger that then rolls into the general ledger. From there, the transactions are aggregated into the financial statements.

Journal Entries

The most basic method used to record a transaction is the journal entry, where the accountant manually enters the account numbers and debits and credits for each individual transaction. This approach is time-consuming and subject to error, and so is usually reserved for adjustments and special entries. In the following bullet points, we note the more automated approaches used in accounting software to record the more common accounting transactions.

Receipt of Supplier Invoices

When a supplier invoice is received, the accountant logs it into the accounts payable module in the accounting software. The module automatically creates a journal entry that debits the relevant expense or asset account, and credits the accounts payable liability account.

Issuance of Supplier Invoices

When an invoice is to be created for a customer, the accountant enters the relevant information about the price, unit quantity, and applicable sales tax into the billing module in the accounting software. The module automatically creates a journal entry that debits either cash or the accounts receivable account, and credits the sales account. There may also be a credit to the sales tax liability account.

Issuance of Supplier Payments

When suppliers are paid, the accountant checks off the invoice numbers to be paid in the accounts payable module in the accounting software. The software then prints checks or issues electronic payments, while also debiting the accounts payable account and crediting the cash account.

Issuance of Paychecks

When employees are to be paid, the accountant enters the pay rates and hours worked of all employees into the payroll module of the accounting software. The module automatically creates a journal entry that debits the compensation and payroll tax expense accounts, and credits cash. This can be quite a complex entry, since it may also address garnishments and other deductions, and separately record several types of payroll taxes.

What is the recording process of accounting?

The eight steps of the accounting cycle are as follows: identifying transactions, recording transactions in a journal, posting, the unadjusted trial balance, the worksheet, adjusting journal entries, financial statements, and closing the books.

Is recording a function of accounting?

Recording transactions is a critical function in accounting as it provides the basis for preparing financial statements and tax returns. It also helps in the decision-making process by providing information about the financial performance of a company.

What is the basic function of accounting process?

The main functions of accounting are to store and analyze financial information and oversee monetary transactions. Accounting is used to prepare financial statements for a company's employees, leaders, and investors. Accounting also functions to ensure the payment of funds into and out of a company.

What are the 4 functions of accounting?

The primary functions of accounting are to track, report, execute, and predict financial transactions.