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Accounting & Corporate Finance
Origin of Accounting Modern accounting is traced to the work of an Italian monk, Luca Pacioli, whose publication in A.D. 1494 described the double-entry system, which continues to be the fundamental structure for contemporary accounting systems in all types of entities. When double-entry accounting is used, the balance sheet identifies both the resources controlled by the entity and those parties who have claims to those assets.

Accountants help entities be successful, ethical, responsible participants in society. Their major activities include observation, measurement, and communication. These activities are analytical in nature and draw on several other disciplines (e.g., economics, mathematics, statistics, behavioral science, law, history, and language/communication).

Accountants identify, analyze, record, and accumulate facts, estimates, forecasts, and other data about the unit's activities; then they translate these data into information that can be useful for a specific purpose.

The Role of the Accountant

The accountant evaluates records drawn up by the bookkeeper and shows the results of this investigation as losses and gains, leakages, economies, or changes in value, so as to reveal the progress or failures of the business and also its future limitations and possibilities. Accountants must also be able to draw up a set of financial records and prescribe the system of accounts that will most easily give the desired information; they must be capable of arriving at a comprehensive view of the economic and the legal aspects of a business, envisaging the effect of every sort of transaction on the profit-and-loss statement; and they must recognize and classify all other factors that enter into the determination of the true condition of the business (e.g., statistics or memoranda relating to production; properties and financial records representing investments, expenditures, receipts, fiscal changes, and present standing). Cost accounting shows the actual cost, over a certain period of time, of particular services rendered or of articles produced; by this system unprofitable venture, services, departments, and methods may be discovered.


Financing is the decision of which resources or funds are to be brought into the business from external investors and creditors in order to be invested in profitable projects. The first external source of finance is debt, which includes loans from banks and bonds purchased by bondholders. The debt creditors take less risk of nonrepayment because the business must repay them if there are funds available to do so when the debt becomes due. The second external source of finance is equity, which includes common stock and preferred stock. The equity investors in the business take more business risk and may not receive payment until the creditors are repaid and the management of the business decides to distribute funds back to the investors. The goal of the financing decision is to obtain all the resources necessary, to make all the investments that yield a return in excess of the cost of the funds invested or the required rate of return, and to obtain these funds at the lowest average cost, so as to reduce the required rate of return and increase the net present value of the projects selected.