ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
Financial accounting measures, classifies, and summarizes in report form those activities and that information which relate to the enterprise as a whole for use by parties both internal and external to a business enterprise. Managerial accounting also measures, classifies, and summarizes in report form enterprise activities, but the communication is for the use of internal, managerial parties, and relates more to subsystems of the entity. Managerial accounting is management decision oriented and directed more toward product line, division, and profit center reporting.
Financial statements generally refer to the four basic financial statements: balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows, and statement of changes in owners’ or stockholders’ equity. Financial reporting is a broader concept; it includes the basic financial statements and any other means of communicating financial and economic data to interested external parties. Examples of financial reporting other than financial statements are annual reports, prospectuses, reports filed with the government, news releases, management forecasts or plans, and descriptions of an enterprise’s social or environmental impact.
If a company’s financial performance is measured accurately, fairly, and on a timely basis, the right managers and companies are able to attract investment capital. To provide unreliable and irrelevant information leads to poor capital allocation which adversely affects the securities market.
The objective of general purpose financial reporting is to provide financial information about the reporting entity that is useful to present and potential equity investors, lenders, and other creditors in decisions about providing resources to the entity through equity investments and loans or other forms of credit. Information that is decision-useful to capital providers (investors) may also be useful to other users of financial reporting who are not investors.
Investors are interested in financial reporting because it provides information that is useful for making decisions (referred to as the decision-usefulness approach). When making these decisions, investors are interested in assessing the company’s (1) ability to generate net cash inflows and (2) management’s ability to protect and enhance the capital providers’ investments. Financial reporting should therefore help investors assess the amounts, timing, and uncertainty of prospective cash inflows from dividends or interest, and the proceeds from the sale, redemption, or maturity of securities or loans. In order for investors to make these assessments, the economic resources of an enterprise, the claims to those resources, and the changes in them must be understood.
A common set of standards applied by all businesses and entities provides financial statements which are reasonably comparable. Without a common set of standards, each enterprise could, and would, develop its own theory structure and set of practices, resulting in noncomparability among enterprises.
General-purpose financial statements are not likely to satisfy the specific needs of all interested parties. Since the needs of interested parties such as creditors, managers, owners, governmental agencies, and financial analysts vary considerably, it is unlikely that one set of financial statements is equally appropriate for these varied uses.
Questions Chapter 1 (Continued)
The SEC has the power to prescribe, in whatever detail it desires, the accounting practices and principles to be employed by the companies that fall within its jurisdiction. Because the SEC receives audited financial statements from nearly all companies that issue securities to the public or are listed on the stock exchanges, it is greatly interested in the content, accuracy, and credibility of the statements. For many years the SEC relied on the AICPA to regulate the profession and develop...
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