Accounting Regulation Aim: To show the rules Accountants have to follow to ensure compliance with the Companies Acts The Accounting Profession You will remember from the Junior Cert that the Companies Office is the government office which controls the setting up and operations of Limited Companies. One obligation companies have is to submit their accounts each year. The amount of detail to be submitted depends on the size of the company. The Stock Exchange also requires regular reporting of financial information. The Accounting Profession is self regulated, meaning Accountants developed a series of rules called Statements of Standard Accounting Practice (SSAPs’). The Accounting Standards Board (ASB) is the current regulatory body and has produced Financial Reporting Standards (FRS’) which are rules Accountants should comply with, though they are not legal binding. But if an Accountant does not comply, they could be punished by the ASB. The ASB aims to ensure consistency in how Accountants report. The Book keeper in a firm enters daily transactions in the books. The Accountant takes that information to produce documents which are used to judge how the firm is being run (Final Accounts, Cash Flow Statements etc). The Auditor is independent experts who inspect the books to ensure the accounts show a “True and Fair View” of the financial position of the firm. The Auditor issues a report after their work. An unqualified report states that the accounts are “True and Fair”, but a qualified report shows the Auditor is not satisfied as information is either missing, incorrect, or questionable. Accounting Concepts These are the rules which govern the way accountants report financial information: 1. Prudence Concept: be conservative, ie anticipate losses but don’t reckon on incomes until they are certain 2. Accruals Concept: incomes and expenses should be matched to the period when they are incurred 3. Consistency Concept: treat items in the same way each year eg depreciate straight line 15% every year 4. Going Concern Concept: items are valued as if the business is not likely to close in the immediate future 5. Entity Concept: the firm is legally separate from the owners Accounting Bases and Policies An Accounting Base is a way of implementing the concepts. There may be a number of different bases for how to handle a situation. Eg depreciate Straight Line 15% or Reducing Balance 20%. The base a company chooses to use is known as its Accounting Policy.