Accounting for a Non-Specialist

This is a basic text providing self-guided training for nonspecialists who need an appreciation of the purposes and use of accounting information. It covers the basic principles of financial and management accounting for those who do not require detailed theoretical or technical knowledge. The text will provide a grounding and outline understanding to enable the reader to contribute in the workplace or to progress to further financial studies. The text demonstrates the subjectivity and limitations of financial information and explains the involvement of the non-financial manager in the accounting process. It has been written assuming no prior financial knowledge, and without the use of accounting jargon.

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The book is suitable for those interested in the accounts of profit-making organisations or not-for-profit organisations. It also gives equal weight to manufacturing and service organisations.

The text is divided into three parts.
Part 1 explains the scope of the text, who it is for and how to use it effectively.
Part 2 begins with a review of the types of people who might use accounting statements and the sort of information that they might need. It then introduces and reviews the main financial accounting statements: the profit and loss account/income statement (or income and expenditure account in not-for-profit organisations), the balance sheet and the cash flow statement. The final chapters of this section explain the basic techniques used to interpret the information contained within these financial statements.
Part 3 covers management accounting and the use of financial information to manage a business. It reviews the analysis and build-up of cost before going on to demonstrate the use of costs in management decision-making. This section concludes with a discussion of the use of budgetary planning and control.
The final section of the text contains a glossary of the major financial and management accounting terms used in the book, extracted from the Official Terminology of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.