Accountancy (British English) or accounting (American English) is the process by which financial information about a business is recorded, classified, summarized, interpreted, and communicated.
Auditing, a related but separate discipline, is the process of an independent review of financial statements in order to express an opinion as to the fairness and adherence to generally accepted accounting principles.
Practitioners of accountancy are known as accountants. Also, refer to Chartered Accountant and their equivalent in English speaking world as well as Certified Public Accountant in U.S.A.
Accountancy attempts to create accurate financial reports that are useful to managers, regulators, and other stakeholders such as shareholders, creditors, or owners. The day-to-day record-keeping involved in this process is known as bookkeeping.
At the heart of modern accountancy is the double-entry book-keeping system. This system involves making at least two entries for every transaction: a debit in one account, and a corresponding credit in another account. The sum of all debits should always equal the sum of all credits. This provides an easy way to check for errors. This system was first used in medieval Europe, although claims have been made that the system dates back to Ancient Greece.
According to critics of standard accounting practices, it has changed little since. Accounting reform measures of some kind have been taken in each generation to attempt to keep book-keeping relevant to capital assets or production capacity. However, these have not changed the basic principles, which are supposed to be independent of economics as such.