When researching common accounting activities, you may come across managerial accounting and financial accounting. They are two common types of accounting activities conducted by businesses. While similar, though, managerial accounting and financial accounting aren’t the same. As a business owner, you should learn the differences between these two accounting activities so that you can keep your financial records in perfect order.
What Is Managerial Accounting?
The term “managerial accounting” refers to all internal financial activities used to record and track a business’s transactions. It’s generally used to improve a business’s operations and, therefore, increase its profits. Budgeting, for instance, is a common managerial accounting activity. Businesses must look at their past expenses to estimate how much money they’ll spend on similar products and services in the future. Using this information, as well as income data, businesses can create a budget that’s aligned with their objectives.
As explained by Chron, managerial accounting focuses on processes as opposed to financial-based metrics like cash flow. Businesses use this data to make managerial decisions that affect their bottom line.
What Is Financial Accounting?
In comparison, the term “financial accounting” refers to all external financial activities used to record and track a business’s transactions. Also known as cost accounting, it’s a more broad type of accounting that covers all recording activities, specifically those involving income and expenses.
Financial accounting activities are specified in the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This universal framework contains processes used for financial accounting, including their respective standards and rules that professional accountants should follow.
The key thing to remember is that managerial accounting is used internally within a business, whereas financial accounting is used for individuals or entities outside of a business. With financial accounting, internal workers, such as accountants, often prepare reports. But they prepare those reports for individuals or entities outside of their business, which is in stark contrast to managerial accounting.
Common types of financial reports created during financial accounting include income statements, balance sheets and equity statements.
Managerial accounting and financial accounting are used by businesses to keep track of their financial records. The difference is that managerial accounting focuses on improving managerial operations, whereas financial accounting focuses consists of more traditional accounting activities like tracking income and expenses as well as creating balance sheets and equity statements.
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