Accounting concepts


The term ‘concept’ is used to denote accounting postulates, i.e., basic assumptions or conditions upon the edifice of which the accounting super-structure is based. The following are the common accounting concepts adopted by many business concerns.

1. Business Entity Concept

2. Money Measurement Concept

3. Going Concern Concept

4. Dual Aspect Concept

5. Periodicity Concept

6. Historical Cost Concept

7. Matching Concept

8. Realisation Concept

9. Accrual Concept

10. Objective Evidence Concept




i) Business Entity Concept:

A business unit is an organization of persons established to accomplish an economic goal. Business entity concept implies that the business unit is separate and distinct from the persons who provide the required capital to it. This concept can be expressed through an accounting equation, viz., Assets = Liabilities + Capital. The equation clearly shows that the business itself owns the assets and in turn owes to various claimants. It is worth mentioning here that the business entity concept as applied in accounting for sole trading units is different from the legal concept. The expenses, income, assets and liabilities not related to the sole proprietorship business are excluded from accounting. However, a sole proprietor is personally liable and required to utilize non-business assets or private assets also to settle the business creditors as per law. Thus, in the case of sole proprietorship, business and non-business assets and liabilities are treated alike in the eyes of law. In the case of a partnership, firm, for paying the business liabilities the business assets are used first and it any surplus remains thereafter, it can be used for paying off the private liabilities of each partner. Similarly, the private assets are first used to pay off the private liabilities of partners and if any surplus remains, it is treated as part of the firm’s property and is used for paying the firm’s liabilities. In the case of a company, its existence does not depend on the life span of any shareholder.

ii) Money Measurement Concept:

In accounting all events and transactions are recode in terms of money. Money is considered as a common denominator, by means of which various facts, events and transactions about a business can be expressed in terms of numbers. In other words, facts,  events and transactions which cannot be expressed in monetary terms are not recorded in accounting. Hence, the accounting does not give a complete picture of all the transactions of a business unit. This concept does not also take care of the effects of inflation because it assumes a stable value for measuring.

iii) Going Concern Concept:

Under this concept, the transactions are recorded assuming that the business will exist for a longer period of time, i.e., a business unit is considered to be a going concern and not a liquidated one. Keeping this in view, the suppliers and other companies enter into business transactions with the business unit. This assumption supports the concept of valuing the assets at historical cost or replacement cost. This concept also supports the treatment of prepaid expenses as assets, although they may be practically unsaleable. 


iv) Dual Aspect Concept:

According to this basic concept of accounting, every transaction has a two-fold aspect, Viz., certain benefits and 2. Receiving certain benefits. The basic principle of double entry system is that every debit has a corresponding and equal amount of credit. This is the underlying assumption of this concept. The accounting equation viz., Assets = Capital + Liabilities or Capital = Assets – Liabilities, will further clarify this concept, i.e., at any point of time the total assets of the business unit are equal to its total liabilities. Liabilities here relate both to the outsiders and the owners. Liabilities to the owners are considered as capital.

V) Periodicity Concept:

Under this concept, the life of the business is segmented into different periods and accordingly the result of each period is ascertained. Though the business is assumed to be continuing in future (as per going concern concept), the measurement of income and studying the financial position of the business for a shorter and definite period will help in taking corrective steps at the appropriate time. Each segmented period is called “accounting period” and the same is normally a year. The businessman has to analyse and evaluate the results ascertained periodically. At the end of an accounting period, an Income Statement is prepared to ascertain the profit or loss made during that accounting period and Balance Sheet is prepared which depicts the financial position of the business as on the last day of that period. During the course of preparation of these statements capital revenue items are to be necessarily distinguished. 


vi) Historical Cost Concept:

According to this concept, the transactions are recorded in the books of account with the respective amounts involved. For example, if an asset is purchases, it is entered in the accounting record at the price paid to acquire the same and that cost is considered to be the base for all future accounting. It means that the asset is recorded at cost at the time of purchase but it may be methodically reduced in its value by way of charging depreciation. However, in the light of inflationary conditions, the application of this concept is considered highly irrelevant for judging the financial position of the business.

vii) Matching Concept:

The essence of the matching concept lies in the view that all costs which are associated to a particular period should be compared with the revenues associated to the same period to obtain the net income of the business. Under this concept, the accounting period concept is relevant and it is this concept (matching concept) which necessitated the provisions of different adjustments for recording outstanding expenses, prepaid expenses, outstanding incomes, incomes received in advance, etc., during the course of preparing the financial statements at the end of the accounting period.

viii) Realisation Concept:

This concept assumes or recognizes revenue when a sale is made. Sale is considered to be complete when the ownership and property are transferred from the seller to the buyer and the consideration is paid in full. However, there are two exceptions to this concept, viz., 1. Hire purchase system where the ownership is transferred to the buyer when the last instalment is paid and 2. Contract accounts, in which the contractor is liable to pay only when the whole contract is completed, the profit is calculated on the basis of work certified each year. 


ix) Accrual Concept:

According to this concept the revenue is recognized on its realization and not on its actual receipt. Similarly the costs are recognized when they are incurred and not when payment is made. This assumption makes it necessary to give certain adjustments in the preparation of income statement regarding revenues and costs. But under cash accounting system, the revenues and costs are recognized only when they are actually received or paid. Hence, the combination of both cash and accrual system is preferable to get rid of the limitations of each system.

x) Objective Evidence Concept:

This concept ensures that all accounting must be based on objective evidence, i.e., every transaction recorded in the books of account must have a verifiable document in support of its, existence. Only then, the transactions can be verified by the auditors and declared as true or otherwise. The verifiable evidence for the transactions should be free from the personal bias, i.e., it should be objective in nature and not subjective. However, in reality the subjectivity cannot be avoided in the aspects like provision for bad and doubtful debts, provision for depreciation, valuation of inventory, etc., and the accountants are required to disclose the regulations followed.












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