- Definitions and explanations
- Difference between accounting and auditing
- Accounting versus auditing – tabular comparison
Accounting is a profession that involves measuring and recording of financial transactions of an enterprise. Accounting involves the following:
- Recording entries of income and expense transactions in the books of accounts of an enterprise
- Recording entries of transactions effecting assets and liabilities of the enterprise in its books of accounts
- Drawing up detailed financial statements of the enterprise from books of accounts
Accounting requires compliance with mandated accounting standards and rules. These are prescribed by accounting and regulatory boards and mandated by jurisdictional law.
Basic accounting is also followed by advanced accounting functions such as analysis of financial statements, preparation of analysis reports, preparation of budget reports etc.
Auditing is a function which involves verifying the financial records and statements of an enterprise to determine whether they represent a true and fair view of the financial position of the enterprise.
Auditing involves the following:
- Vouching of transactional entries in books of accounts with documentary evidence
- Verifying the correctness of accounting treatment given to the transactions
- Verifying whether mandated accounting standards and rules have been adhered to
- Verifying whether financial statements drawn up from the books of accounts represent a true and fair view of the financial state of the enterprise
External audit is carried out by professionally certified auditors who are externally appointed by the enterprise. They verify the reliability of the financial statements of the enterprise. Internal audit is carried out by in house employees or outsourced professionals who verify the internal controls surrounding accounting processes of the enterprise.
Auditing is completed with preparation of an audit report which highlights the main observations of the auditor along with the auditor’s opinion on the reliability of financial statements of the enterprise.
The main points of difference between accounting and auditing have been detailed below:
- Accounting is the function of measuring and recording financial transactions of an entity in its books of accounts.
- Auditing involves verifying the accuracy and correctness of these accounting entries and financial statements prepared on their basis.
- The purpose of accounting is to show the profitability and financial position of an enterprise.
- The purpose of auditing is to analyse and report whether the prepared financial statements reflect a true and fair view of the financial position of the enterprise.
- Accounting is a continuous process which is performed everyday to record transactions.
- Auditing is generally carried out specific intervals. This may be quarterly or annually depending on the jurisdictional law governing the enterprise.
- Accounting is the first step whereby books of accounts and financial statements are generated.
- Auditing is the subsequent step whereby the accuracy and correctness of these books of accounts and financial statements are assessed.
5. Compliance requirements
- Accounting is required to comply with accounting standards and rules.
- Auditing checks compliance with accounting standards but is governed by a separate set of auditing standards and rules.
6. Performed by
- Accounting function can be performed in house by an employed accountant or can be outsourced to an accounting firm. There is generally no mandatory qualification requirement.
- Auditing is carried out by professionally certified auditors who are externally appointed by the enterprise. Auditors mandatory require to be certified to be able to perform an audit.
7. End result
- The end result of accounting function is preparation of financial statements of the enterprise.
- The end result of auditing is the preparation of audit report wherein the audit gives his opinion on the accuracy and reliability of the financial statements of the enterprise.
- Accounting can be of many forms – GAAP accounting, cost accounting and management accounting.
- Auditing is primarily of two types – external audit and internal audit.
A tabular comparison of accounting and auditing is given below:
|Recording financial transactions and preparation of financial statements there from||Inspecting financial statements to verify whether they show true and fair view|
|To report financial position of the enterprise||To verify reliability of financial statements|
|Continuous process||Performed at specific intervals – quarterly or annually|
|First step prior to commencement of auditing function||Subsequent step after performance of accounting function|
|Accounting standards and rules||Auditing standards and rules|
|Accountants – in-house or outsourced||Auditors – professionally certified in case of external audit|
|Financial statements||Audit report|
|Financial accounting (i.e., GAAP accounting), cost accounting, management accounting||Statutory (external audit) and internal audit|
Both accounting and auditing are integral functions of the finance aspect of an enterprise. Accounting and auditing complement each other – with accounting being meaningless without auditing to verify its reliability and auditing being impossible without completion of accounting function.
Accounting in adherence to standards is generally regulated by accounting and regulatory boards such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Accounting Standards Board in the USA. Auditing similarly is also regulated by auditing boards such as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in the USA.