What’s the accounting cycle?
Mainly, the accounting cycle is the method that divides the obligations and duties of bookkeepers and accountants in eight-steps, beginning with ‘figuring out transactions’ and ending with ‘closing the books’ for a particular accounting interval.
These days, a lot of the eight steps are executed by accounting software program applications.
The accounting cycle durations will fluctuate in accordance with a enterprise’s reporting wants, being month-to-month, quarterly, or yearly.
As soon as an accounting cycle ends, a brand new cycle begins, performing the eight-step course of yet again.
The accounting cycle allows bookkeepers and accountants to make sure precision and accuracy through the accounting course of.
The eight steps of the accounting cycle
The accounting cycle includes the next eight steps:
Step 1: Establish transactions
Step one within the accounting cycle is to determine monetary transactions that happen. If there have been no monetary transactions, there could be no want for an accounting cycle.
Monetary transactions are additionally known as financial occasions that may be measured when it comes to cash.
Companies could have quite a few monetary transactions all through an accounting cycle. The variety of transactions will rely on the sort and the dimensions of the enterprise.
Transactions can embrace, amongst others, the next:
- Buy of supplies, providers, or provides for enterprise actions.
- Sale of products (money or credit score), or providers to prospects.
- Acquisition of property reminiscent of plant and equipment, automobiles, and gear.
- Any bills incurred.
- Debt payoffs.
- Salaries and wages paid to staff.
Supply paperwork, reminiscent of invoices, receipts, contracts, depreciation schedules, and financial institution statements, are proof that the transactions have taken place.
Step 2: Journal entries
The subsequent step within the accounting cycle is to document the monetary transactions within the applicable accounting journals of the enterprise. The journal entries needs to be finished in chronological order, debiting a number of accounts, and crediting a number of accounts, making certain that the debits and credit are in steadiness.
Recording a transaction in a journal can be known as journalising the transaction.
Journals are often known as ‘books of unique entry,’ as a result of it’s the first place the place a transaction is recorded. Examples of accounting journals are:
- Normal journal.
- Money journal.
- Gross sales journal.
- Buy journal.
Though, this present day, the idea of accounting journals is just relevant to guide record-keeping as a result of computerised accounting methods now not confer with any of the accounting journals however document all of the monetary transactions in a central database.
Step 3: Posting
Within the third step within the accounting cycle, the journal entries are posted to the accounts within the normal ledger (GL).
The normal ledger is described in numerous methods, reminiscent of:
The overall ledger:
- isn’t seen as a guide of unique entry,
- supplies a abstract of all accounting actions by particular person accounts, conserving monitor of all of the monetary actions of a enterprise, and
- is the major accounting document for a enterprise.
The money account, indicating how a lot money is out there, is likely one of the mostly referenced accounts within the GL.
Step 4: Trial steadiness
The fourth step within the accounting cycle is to arrange a trial steadiness on the finish of the accounting interval (which can be month-to-month, quarterly, or yearly). The trial steadiness is ready by totalling the debits and credit from the final ledger accounts, making certain the debits equal the credit.
A trial steadiness is taken into account profitable when all of the debit and credit score balances of all the final ledger accounts are certainly in steadiness.
This step is critical to be able to detect any errors and inaccurate entries which will have taken place through the preliminary levels of the accounting cycle.
At this stage, the trial steadiness remains to be an unadjusted one. An adjusted trial steadiness is ready in step 6 after all of the adjusting entries have been recorded.
Step 5: Worksheet
When step 4 of the accounting cycle signifies that the normal ledger accounts should not in steadiness, bookkeepers or accountants should search for errors and discrepancies to be able to right them, that are carried out in step 5 of the accounting cycle.
These corrections are referred to as changes, that are tracked on a worksheet, making certain that debits and credit are equal.
Step 6: Adjusting journal entries
The changes made on the worksheet are recorded within the applicable accounting journals as adjusting entries on the finish of an accounting interval.
Along with correcting any errors, adjusting entries could also be used to match revenues and bills when utilizing the accrual accounting technique, adjusting revenues and bills to the accounting interval wherein they really occurred.
Adjusting entries are additionally used to deal with the next points:
- Accrued bills – bills that needs to be reported within the accounting interval however haven’t but been reported or paid.
- Accrued revenues – revenues that needs to be recorded within the accounting interval however have but not been reported, nor has the cash been acquired.
- Pay as you go bills – a kind of asset on the steadiness sheet, ensuing from superior funds made by a enterprise for items or providers to be acquired sooner or later.
- Deferrals – cash acquired that needs to be recorded as earnings (income) in a later accounting interval.
Adjusting entries are necessary as a result of a transaction might affect revenues or bills past the present accounting interval.
An adjusted trial steadiness is created after all of the adjusting entries for the accounting interval have been posted to the final ledger accounts. The trial steadiness isn’t a monetary assertion however an inside doc that gives monetary data to arrange the monetary statements.
Step 7: Monetary statements
The penultimate step within the accounting cycle is the preparation of the monetary statements, compiled from balances obtained from the adjusted trial steadiness.
Monetary statements embrace the next statements:
- The Stability Sheet, often known as the Assertion of Monetary Place.
- The Revenue Assertion.
- Money Circulation Assertion.
- Assertion of Modifications in Fairness, additionally known as Assertion of Retained Earnings.
Step 8: Closing the books
Within the ultimate step within the accounting cycle, all of the income and expense accounts (earnings assertion accounts) are closed and zeroed out. Internet earnings is transferred to retained earnings.
Stability sheet accounts (property, liabilities, and proprietor’s fairness) should not closed as a result of their closing balances are the opening balances for the subsequent accounting interval.
Lastly, a post-closing trial steadiness is created to make sure debits and credit are equal, enabling bookkeepers and accountants to start out a brand new accounting cycle.
 Confer with the article ‘Accounting Defined for Dummies,’ for extra details about accounting.