Managing finances, in both the public and private sectors of society, is supported by the services of general accountancy. Accountants manage the record-keeping of the earnings and expenses of their customers. While all accountants are trained in the foundational aspects of accounting procedures, the field offers opportunities for accounting specialization.
Accounting is the active process of managing financial activities. It provides a systematic approach that is generally accepted in business practices of asset, liability, expense and income record-keeping and verification. Accountants record to date all of the financial elements of an individual or company's financial obligations. Reported in a standardized format that is easy to track, accountants prepare their information to be used and interpreted by several entities, such as for taxation and mortgage lending.
Early records of accounting practices were seen in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Accounting practices are also mentioned in the Bible, as well as in the Koran. Accounting played an important role in the management of agriculture and trade. The first complex system of accounting was recorded by Ibn Taymiyyah in the 1100s, an Islamic scholar who detailed the complex accounting system of Umar, the companion of Prophet Muhammad and the second caliph of Islam. Ibn Taymiyyah's writing became a standard and a model of accounting throughout the Islamic world.
Accounting is a very broad field with several different branches. The field of accounting covers the duties of bookkeeping and auditing, as well as taxation and financial accounting. Accountants can pursue studies in lean, management, cost and financial accounting, or they can choose to study public, external or internal accounting. Accounting also as a forensic and social branch, which both play an important role in society developments. Outside of the United States, accountants can become chartered accountants, where they become members under a Royal Charter to work in British territories and Ireland. Chartered accountants can work publicly or in a private accounting practice.
After studying the different types of accounting, accountants can acquire different job titles. Accountants can work as financial accountants, who prepare and manage the financial data and statements of a company, as well as provide a variety of financial management services throughout the year. Accountants can also work as budget analysts, who develop financial planning procedures for businesses. Taxation and management are other areas requiring accountancy, where tax accountants prepare businesses for tax accountability, and management accountants provide cost analysis and cost control support. Lastly, accountants can work as internal auditors, who keep a close watch on the financial activities of companies, to lessen the occurrence of misappropriation of funds and fraudulent practices. Auditors also work hard to align companies with governmental policies.
Accountants work in a variety of settings. Accountants that work on the government level, can choose to work in their local or state government, or even in the federal government. These accountants work on budgets and analyze the processes of government spending and financial management. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a very popular destination for accountants working in government. Accountants may decide to become members of a public accountant firm, where they work as public accountants. Public accountant firms are hired by individuals, business and government entities, for the purposes of managing their financial expenditures and for recording and processing earnings and expenses. Corporate accountants are employed by corporations who need full-time accountants to prepare their monthly, quarterly and yearly financial statements. They also acquire the duty of processing financial information for domestic and international deals, as well as tax preparation and cost management. Accountants can also choose to develop their own accounting business, as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Accountants often choose this option to develop a close-knit clientele. They also appreciate the independence of self-employment, which also commands a greater commitment of time and energy for its long-term success.