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Accounting practices have been used for decades now since the first farmer has kept track of the number of sheeps or cows he has owned and the first merchants tracked inventory and kept records of their profits and losses. From these humble and smart beginnings, accounting has grown to become one of the leading business sectors in the world today. Accounting is a system by which financial information is identified, recorded, analysed, summarized, and reported for the use of decision makers. Put simply, accounting is the language of business.
An accounting system tracks down all the financial activities of an organization (whether it’s the great Fortune 500 company, a small independent book publisher, a non-profit theatre, or a government agency), which shows them when and where all the money has flown out of the organisation and commitments which have been made. This helps in the decision making process by allowing managers to evaluate organizational performance, by indicating the financial risks and benefits of choosing one strategy over another, and by spotlighting current weaknesses and opportunities. Accountants are responsible for four core functions:
Despite the variety and dynamic nature of the field, accounting has always had a branding issue. The name Accounting itself gets stuck in public opinion as a boring, burdened career loaded with math geeks who love crunching and playing with numbers. In fact, accounting is often ranked as one of the most desirable professions available—including being ranked as one of the top 25 jobs in 2016 by U.S.
News & World Report. In 2016, CareerCast.com ranked the career of “accountant” in the top 50 best jobs in terms of work environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands, and low level of stress. Salaries are also strong for accountants. In 2015, accountants and auditors earned a median salary of $67,190, according to the U.S. Department of Labour, earnings that are much higher than the national average ($48,320) for all careers. Opportunities in the accounting industry exist at every career level, although accountants and auditors are the prime movers in this field.
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