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Definition of basic terms of business accounting in terms of total assets , the operating assets , the financial assets and the cash register .

The accounting ( RW or REWE ) or (more rarely) Accounting is a branch of business administration and is a systematic way, monitoring and informational densification of the costs associated with the operational performance process money and power currents.

For one thing money and are flows of goods in a company documented to to outsiders accountable to take (external accounting), for example in relation to the tax office , the banks or payers in healthcare . On the other hand, the accounting should also provide the entrepreneur with the data that are necessary for controlling and planning the company (internal accounting). In the school and vocational training of several German federal states, accounting is taught in the subject of commercial management and control (KSK).

Areas of accounting

Accounting is divided into the following four sub-areas:

external accounting

External accounting (accounting) depicts the company's financial situation externally. It shows the company's asset, financial and earnings position in the annual financial statements ( balance sheet , profit and loss account ), the cash flow statement and other instruments that are not necessarily number-oriented, such as the notes and the management report . The legal basis in Germany is the Commercial Code (HGB) and in Austria the company code (UGB)

The bookkeeping is the part of the accounting system that records the business transactions occurring in the company (e.g. the purchase of goods and the sale of products).

Internal accounting

Internal accounting, also known as controlling, deals with the planning , control and coordination of evaluated company processes with a view to maximizing the company's success. The information determined in this way is intended to serve as an objective basis for management decisions. These are the sources of the success of a company, in particular by means of cost accounting and capital budgeting , analyzed and a controlling concept expanded.

In principle, internal accounting is not tied to the commercial and tax law and disclosure requirements of external accounting, which is why it can also work with different and additional valuation approaches. In addition to different evaluation approaches for factor prices , different costs are classified under the term imputed costs . Imputed costs may interest (incl. Risk) management income , depreciation etc. be rent. Furthermore, in contrast to external accounting, the analysis is predominantly future-oriented, i.e. i.e., it operates with standard and planned values. As a rule, the components of overall success are also determined and analyzed at the level of the individual products and services.

Business statistics and comparative calculation

Planning calculation

The planning calculation deals with company and business-related forecast calculations using business methods. It serves to prepare decisions for various areas and strategies of the company.

Legal basis of external accounting


The most important legal basis for accounting in Germany for the individual and consolidated financial statements under commercial law is the Commercial Code ( §§ 238 ff. HGB ). The recommendations of the German Accounting Standards Committee (DRSC) are also relevant in certain cases in the context of group accounting . The individual financial statements under commercial law - to be prepared by every businessman - have the function of assessing the owners' distribution claims; the consolidated financial statements have an information function in particular and are not used for dividend payments or tax assessment. Furthermore, capital market-oriented group parent companies based in one of the member states of the EU have to prepare their consolidated financial statements according to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which exempts these companies in Germany from group accounting according to the HGB.

For the purposes of tax assessment, tradespeople who are either merchants within the meaning of the HGB or who meet certain size criteria (according to Section 141 AO) must prepare an independent tax balance sheet based on the individual financial statements according to the HGB ( principle of relevance ). In addition to the HGB, the provisions of tax law must be observed, in particular the Income Tax Act (EStG) and the Corporation Tax Act (KStG) and the associated implementing regulations .


In Switzerland, invoices must at least be prepared in accordance with the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR). In order to obtain greater transparency for investors, the specialist recommendations for accounting (FER or Swiss GAAP FER , not to be confused with IFRS) were introduced as a minimum standard according to which companies structure and structure their balance sheets and income statements. In Switzerland in particular, the problem of hidden reserves must also be considered.

See also


  • Adolf G. Coenenberg et al. a .: Annual financial statements and annual financial statements analysis: business, commercial, tax and international fundamentals; HGB, IAS / IFRS, US-GAAP, DRS . 22nd edition. Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag , Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-7910-3182-8 .
  • Michael Griga, Raymund Krauleidis: Creating and reading balance sheets for dummies. 2nd edition, Wiley-VCH, 2010, ISBN 978-3-527-70598-6 .
  • Gerhard Scherrer: Accounting according to the new HGB. 3rd edition, Vahlen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8006-3787-4 .
  • Volker Schultz: Basic knowledge of accounting: bookkeeping, accounting, cost accounting, controlling. Beck-Wirtschaftsberater im dtv, Volume 50957. 8th edition, CH Beck, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-423-50957-2 .
  • Jürgen Weber, Barbara E. Weißenberger: Introduction to accounting: accounting and cost accounting. 8th edition, Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-7910-2923-8 .
  • Jochen Langenbeck: cost and performance accounting. 2nd edition, Herne 2011, ISBN 978-3-482-58672-9 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Accounting  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Accounting  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Scripts and teaching material

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sönke Peters (founder), Rolf Brühl, Johannes N. Stelling: Business Administration. Introduction . 12th revised edition. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich et al. 2005, ISBN 3-486-57685-2 ( Google Books ).