Legal Aspect of the Business Accounting
Accounting is the practice of recording or settling accounts in financial transactions and determining income and expenses for tax and other financial purposes. In a legal setting, it is often used to determine the nature and extent of damages in a lawsuit, or can even be a remedy in some cases.
There are several types of accounting commonly used, which include, among others:
Accrual: the accrual method shows expenses incurred and income earned for a given period of time whether or not such expenses and income have been actually paid or received by that time.
Cash: the cash method records income and expenses only when monies have actually been received or paid out.
Completed Contract: the completed contract method reports gains or losses on certain long-term contracts. Gross income and expenses are recognized in the tax year the contract is completed.
Installment: the installment method of accounting is a way regulated utilities calculate depreciation for income tax purposes.
The accounting profession, which is largely self-regulated, suffered through a series of scandals since the late 1990's. These controversies required the FASB and the SEC, as well as other regulatory organizations, to consider new rules designed to improve financial reporting. Between 1996 and 2002, investors lost an estimated $200 billion in earnings restatements and stock meltdowns following failures in auditing processes.
Accounting Legal Aspects
- Accountancy - Definition
Accountancy is the process of communicating financial information about a business entity to users such as shareholders and managers. The communication is generally in the form of financial statements that show in money terms the economic resources under the control of management; the art lies in selecting the information that is relevant to the user and is reliable.
- Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases
The list below provides links to financial reporting related enforcement actions concerning civil lawsuits brought by the Commission in federal court and notices and orders concerning the institution and/or settlement of administrative proceedings. This list only highlights certain actions and is not meant to be a complete and exhaustive compilation of all of the actions that fall into this category.
- Accounting Terminology Guide
The NYSSCPA has prepared a terminology glossary as an educational tool for journalists who report on and interpret financial information.
- Ethical and Legal Obligations for Accounting
The SEC was established in 1934 by Congress to help ensure stability in the market and protect investors. The Securities Exchange Act was also established in 1934, both of which were used to protect investors and help keep the securities market ethical.
- Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)
The mission of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is to establish and improve standards of financial accounting and reporting that foster financial reporting by nongovernmental entities that provides decision-useful information to investors and other users of financial reports.
- Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB)
The mission of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board is to establish and improve standards of state and local governmental accounting and financial reporting that will result in useful information for users of financial reports and guide and educate the public, including issuers, auditors, and users of those financial reports.
- IFRS Foundation
The IFRS Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit private sector organization working in the public interest to develop a single set of international financial reporting standards through its standard-setting body, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).
- Malpractice: Tax/Accounting Style - PCAOB
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a private-sector, nonprofit corporation created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to oversee the auditors of companies in order to protect investors and the public interest by promoting informative, fair, and independent audit reports.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook - U.S. Department of Labor
The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. This handbook was published by the Bureau.
- Office of the Chief Accountant
The Office of the Chief Accountant is responsible for establishing and enforcing accounting and auditing policy to enhance the transparency and relevancy of financial reporting, and for improving the professional performance of public company auditors in order to ensure that financial statements used for investment decisions are presented fairly and have credibility.
- U.S. GAAP Codification of Accounting Standards
In the U.S., generally accepted accounting principles, commonly abbreviated as US GAAP or simply GAAP, are accounting rules used to prepare, present, and report financial statements for a wide variety of entities, including publicly-traded and privately-held companies, non-profit organizations, and governments. Generally GAAP includes local applicable Accounting Framework, related accounting law, rules and Accounting Standard.
- Balance Sheets
A balance sheet is a snapshot of a business' financial condition at a specific moment in time, usually at the close of an accounting period. This site provides a definition and description of balance sheets in basic accounting.
- Cash Flow Forecasting
Cash Flow forecasts help you to build a model of the way in which cash moves within a project or organization. They help you to predict whether the sales or income you forecast will cover the costs of operation. They also allow you to analyze whether a project will be sufficiently profitable to justify the effort put into it.
- Income Statement
An explanation of the income statement, which is one of the major financial statements used by accountants and business owners.
- SEC - Beginners' Guide to Financial Statements
This brochure is designed to help gain a basic understanding of how to read financial statements and its basic parts.
- Statement of Cash Flows
Information about Cash Flow Statements and the various regulatory requirements.
- Understanding Cash Flow Analysis
Article from Iowas State University about cash flow analysis.
Articles on HG.org Related to Finance and Taxation
- Factors Elderly and Senior Investors Should KnowInvestment risk factors seniors, elders, and their friends and family should be aware of.
- Financial Fraud Schemes Victimizing Elders and Senior CitizensThere are many fraud schemes used by sellers intent on defrauding seniors and elders of their hard-earned money. Learn what they are to protect yourself.
- Business Taxes, Payroll Taxes and Trust Fund Recovery PenaltyWhen the business faces a cash flow problem, many business owners use the payroll taxes collected but not yet turned over to the IRS.
- Collecting from an Out of Business Company or EmployerCollecting on a judgment even in ideal circumstances can often be a time-consuming and complex process, and that presumes the debtor is solvent, and doing business and/or making money. When the judgment enforcement against a debtor who is a company or legal entity, which appears to be (or is) out of business, the process can be considerably more troublesome and taxing.
- Update your Credit Application Procedures TodayThe recession has two valuable lessons for credit managers: First, even the best businesses can become significant credit risks, and, second, we have all had more practical experience in extending credit and collecting on past-due receivables. This article focuses on practical tips which credit managers can implement today to reduce the likelihood of nonpayment.
- The Creditor’s Levy in CA - The Most Basic Judgment Collection ToolA levy is performed by a “levying officer”-- for a Los Angeles collection attorney, this is either the LA Sheriff, or a private process server working with the sheriff under specific legal levy instructions. A levy is best summarized as the process by which a levying officer goes out, and takes assets of the debtor involuntarily. This happens whether the debtor wants it to happen or not. The assets are either sold at auction or simply collected and paid to the creditor.
- 20 Early Warning Signs Indicating Changes in Credit ProfileAfter a vendor extends credit, it is vital that the vendor continually monitor the debtor for changes in its credit profile in order to minimize the vendor's risk of nonpayment. The following list of 20 early warning indicators, will help you see the risk coming before it happens.
- Georgia Court of Appeals Denies Grading Contractors' ClaimsA grading subcontractor was not paid for putting in the roads in a new subdivision; after the construction lender foreclosed upon the project developer, the subcontractor sought payment from the bank. After the trial court awarded the subcontractor its full claim plus attorneys fees, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed. Some very important lessons for subcontractors and lien claimants are made clear in the ruling.
- Willfulness and the Civil FBAR PenaltyIn 2008, when it was revealed that wealthy individuals around the world were utilizing accounts and trusts in Liechtenstein to evade taxes, the United States initiated a coordinated effort with foreign governments to combat tax evasion through the use of offshore trusts and accounts. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has since launched criminal investigations of several foreign banks, many of which are ongoing.
- Class Action Lawsuit Against Life Partners Will Move Forward Following Judge’s RulingA Texas judge has rejected a motion by Life Partners Holdings, Inc. to toss a class action lawsuit filed by investors who allege they were misled by the life settlements company. Three Life Partners executives were also named in the lawsuit, which alleges that the company fraudulently misrepresented the nature of life settlements that were sold to investors, making them appear more valuable than they actually were.