Scope of Financial Accounting: Uses and Limitations

Scope of Financial Accounting: Uses and Limitations

5 mins readComment
Jaya
Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Apr 5, 2024 14:36 IST

The scope of financial accounting is in three parts. It includes recording financial transactions, reporting them for internal as well as external users and indicating the financial health of the company.

scope of financial accounting

Table of Content

We have already explained what is financial accounting and the objectives of financial accounting. We will now, discuss the scope of financial accounting in detail.

Financial accounting records and summarizes business transactions. Accountants reports these in financial statements for external use. This helps investors and creditors understand the business's financial health. Financial accounting follows accounting standards like GAAP or IFRS to ensure accuracy and transparency.

Scope of Financial Accounting

The scope of financial accounting is mainly segregated into the following three parts:

1. Recording, Classifying, Summarizing, Analyzing, and Interpreting Transactions

  • Financial accounting begins with the documentation of financial activities in any business. This involves recording everything from daily sales and purchases to significant investments. This ensures that every financial transaction is captured which helps in creating a comprehensive financial record. 
  • After this, the data undergoes classification in which similar transactions are grouped together. This makes the information more manageable and meaningful.
  • The next stage involves summarizing this categorized data into a structured format. This is done through financial statements. 
  • After this, data analysis performed where accountants and financial analysts go through the summarized data. They use various tools and techniques to identify trends, ratios, and insights that is useful for the business.
  • Finally, this analysis is interpreted. Raw data is transformed into actionable insights. Accountants interpret this financial data to draw conclusions about the company's financial health. They identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This comprehensive process from recording to interpretation is the basis of financial accounting. Businesses are able to understand their financial standing and based on that, they make informed decisions.

2. Financial Reporting for Users

  • Financial accounting involves the process of creating financial reports that can be referred by users outside the company. 
  • Unlike internal reports used by management for operational decisions, these reports indicate the financial status and performance of the business to external users.
  • Investors, creditors, government agencies, and the general public rely on financial statements to assess the company's financial status. According to this, they make decisions related to investment, lending, regulation, and policy-making. 
  • Different financial statements indicate different aspects of financial state of the company as mentioned below:
    • The balance sheet provides a summary of company’s assets, liabilities, and equity at a particular time. 
    • The income statement reveals the company’s profitability over a period. 
    • Cash flow statement shows how the company manages its cash, highlighting liquidity and operational efficiency. 

3. Indicating Financial Health

  • The main objective of financial accounting is to present an accurate state of the financial health of the business. 
  • This involves several financial aspects, including profitability, which indicates the company's ability to generate income relative to its expenses. 
  • It reflects the capacity of the company to cover its short-term obligations. This assesses the company's ability to meet long-term debts; and the overall financial position.
  • By conveying this information through financial statements, financial accounting fulfills regulatory and compliance requirements. 
  • Stakeholders use this detailed financial information to make important business decisions, from investing in the company to extending credit, negotiating contracts, or formulating economic policies.

Uses of Financial Accounting

Following points highlight the uses of financial accounting:

  • It helps investors and creditors in assessing the financial health of company for their investment or lending decisions.
  • Financial accounting ensures that businesses report their financial activities accurately while adhering to accounting standards and regulations.
  • It is important for companies to calculate and report taxes accurately, ensuring they pay the correct amount.
  • Managers can assess the company's growth, profitability, and areas for improvement over time.
  • Financial accounting provides the historical data necessary for businesses to create future financial plans and allocate resources efficiently.
  • Through financial accounting, company can share its financial status with shareholders, investors, and the public.
  • Financial accounting helps in making decision on where to invest or cut back based on financial analysis.
  • Through financial accounting, companies can identify financial risks early. This allows for proactive mitigation strategies.
  • Financial accounting offers essential financial data for evaluating the implications of potential transactions.
  • It ensures that accurate financial statements are available for review by potential lenders

Limitations of Financial Accounting

While financial accounting provides a summary of the company’s finances, it does have its limitations. Let us take a look at these in a summarized manner:

  • Focuses on Historical Data: Financial accounting mainly deals with past transactions. This limits its ability to predict future financial performance.
  • Lacks Non-Financial Information: It does not include non-financial factors like employee satisfaction or market competition. This can impact a company's valuation.
  • Adheres to Standards Strictly: The strict adherence to accounting standards may not always reflect the actual economic situation of a business.
  • Subject to Manipulation: Financial statements can be manipulated through legal accounting practices. This can mislead stakeholders.
  • Ignores Inflation: Financial accounting does not account for the effects of inflation on reported financial results.
  • Time and Cost Intensive: The process of preparing financial statements according to regulatory standards can be time-consuming and costly.
  • Provides Limited Scope for Analysis: It offers a limited scope for analysis by focusing primarily on financial aspects, overlooking operational efficiencies.
  • Periodic Reporting: Financial accounting reports are generated at fixed intervals, which may not provide timely information for decision-making.
  • Emphasis on Quantitative Data: It emphasizes quantitative data but it does overlook the qualitative aspects that could affect a company's financial health.

FAQs

Can financial accounting help in decision-making?

Yes, by providing accurate financial data, it aids external stakeholders in making investment, lending, and policy decisions.

Does financial accounting consider non-financial information?

No, its primary focus is on quantitative financial data, and it generally does not include non-financial factors directly in the reports.

How does financial accounting ensure transparency and trust?

By adhering to established accounting standards and principles, it ensures that financial reports are accurate, reliable, and comparable across businesses.

What role does financial accounting play in regulatory compliance?

It ensures that companies comply with legal requirements and accounting standards, facilitating accurate tax reporting and statutory filings.

How often are financial statements prepared and reported?

Financial statements are typically prepared annually and quarterly to meet regulatory requirements and provide timely information to stakeholders.

About the Author
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Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content

Jaya is a writer with an experience of over 5 years in content creation and marketing. Her writing style is versatile since she likes to write as per the requirement of the domain. She has worked on Technology, Fina... Read Full Bio