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A Short Primer on Accounting Jon Ashley Corinne Mahoney Sandy Montgomery Accountancy Definition Different types of Accounting Rules that Govern Accountancy Desirable Characteristics of Accounting Information Types of Accounting Questions that a Librarian Might Receive

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a short primer on accounting
A Short Primer on Accounting

Jon AshleyCorinne Mahoney

Sandy Montgomery

  • Definition
  • Different types of Accounting
  • Rules that Govern Accountancy
  • Desirable Characteristics of Accounting Information
types of accounting questions that a librarian might receive
Types of Accounting Questions that a Librarian Might Receive
  • Accounting as a Career
  • CPA Exam
  • Auditing: internal and external
  • The nature of accounting as a career
  • Interpretation of Standards
  • Tax questions
accounting terms

Income Statement (P&L)

Accounting Terms

Net Income

Accounts Payable



  • Accounting Dictionary-Accounting Glossary of Accounting Terms (VentureLine): http://www.ventureline.com/glossary.asp
  • Accounting Terms and Glossary (Finet Holdings): http://www.finet.com.hk/accounting/dictionary.htm
  • Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Accounting : Available at UNC in print and via NetLibrary as an eBook.

Balance Sheet

Accounts Receivable



Retained Earnings




Accounting Resources

  • Accounting Standards
  • Handbooks and Dictionaries
  • Professional Associations
  • Indexes/Databases
  • Websites
  • Annual Reports
Accounting Standards

Definition: Accounting standards are authoritative statements of how particular types of transaction and other events should be reflected in financial statements. (definition from International Accounting Standards Board)


GAAP: Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

What do they look like?

  • FASB Statement No. 34
  • FAS 142
  • APB Opinion No. 30
  • SOP 03-4, Reporting Financial Highlights and Schedule of Investments by Nonregistered Investment Partnerships
organizations that set or regulate standards
Organizations that set or regulate standards


  • AICPA—American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: Issues auditing and other standards for the profession http://www.aicpa.org/index.htm
  • FASB—Financial Accounting Standards Board: Sets authoritative accounting standards for the private sector http://www.fasb.org/


  • IASB—International Accounting Standards Board: The leading promulgator of international accounting standards. http://www.iasb.org/
    • Information on IASB standards and international accounting is also available at IAS Plus maintained by Deloitte. http://www.iasplus.com/

Country Specific

  • IAS Plus provides a list of authoritative resources by country. http://www.iasplus.com/country/country.htm
standards print resources
Standards: Print Resources
  • FASB Original Pronouncements Accounting Standards
  • AICPA Professional Standards
  • Miller GAAP Guide (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles): Provides a restatement and interpretation of the FASB standards.
  • Miller GAAS Guide (Generally Accepted Auditing Standards): Provides an overview of common auditing practice.
  • Miller Governmental GAAP Guide: Covers government accounting.
  • Wiley'sInterpretation and Application of International Accounting Standards : IAS: Provides a summary and interpretation of the IASC's international standards.
accounting handbooks manuals
Accounting Handbooks & Manuals
  • AICPA Audit and Accounting Manual: One-volume manual that explains and demonstrates useful techniques and procedures for conducting compilation, review, and audit engagements
  • Accountants' Handbook by Carmichael, Lilien, and Mellman. Vol. 1: Financial Accounting and General Topics; Vol. 2: Specialized Industries and Special Topics.
  • Accounting Trends & Techniques: annual survey of accounting practices from the AICPA
professional associations
Professional Associations
  • American Accounting Association (AAA): http://aaahq.org/index.cfm
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA):http://www.aicpa.org/index.htm
  • Institute of Management Accountants (IMA): Publishes Statements on Management Accounting http://www.imanet.org/ima/index.asp
  • National Association of Small Business Accountants:http://www.smallbizaccountants.com/
    • List of Associations available on Rutgers University Libraries’ Accounting Research Guide: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/rr_gateway/research_guides/busi/account.shtml#C
accounting literature
Accounting Literature

Accounting Specific:

  • Accounting & Tax Index (Print): Comprehensive list of books, articles, government documents, and professional reports about accounting, auditing and taxation.
  • Accounting Research Network: Indexes working papers in Accounting.


  • CCH Tax Research NetWork
  • Federal Tax Code: http://assembler.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode26/usc_sup_01_26.html

General Business Resources with coverage of Accounting:

  • ABI/Inform Global
  • Business & Industry
  • Factiva
  • Lexis/Nexis Academic
  • Mergent Online*
accounting websites
Accounting Websites
  • Rutgers Accounting Web: Excellent portal to accounting resources on the Internethttp://accounting.rutgers.edu/raw/
  • CPAnet: a resource directory of websites that are of interest to the accounting profession. CPAnet includes over 800 links to various accounting related websites http://www.cpanet.com/
  • Tax Links: IRS revenue rulings since 1954 http://www.taxlinks.com/
  • AICPA State: Link to resources at the state level http://www.aicpa.org/states/stmap.htm
company reports
Company Reports

SEC Filings & Forms (EDGAR): All companies, foreign and domestic, are required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR. Anyone can access and download this information for free. http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml

Barron’s Annual Report Service: A free service that provides quick access to annual reports and other information on select companies. http://barronsonline.ar.wilink.com/asp/BAR5_search_ENG.asp


The way we use our numbers can have large consequences. For example:

Enron – Arthur Andersen - WorldCom – HealthSouth - Tyco - Parmalat – Mirant – Duke Energy – Global Crossing - Halliburton – Adelphia – Lucent Technologies – Xerox - Shell Oil - Fannie Mae - Freddie Mac - Social Security

  • PR problem – how can we trust our numbers?
    • Independent and trustworthy auditors
    • Greater transparency
    • More government oversight (?)
      • Sarbanes-Oxley & recent backlash
    • Proactive vs. reactive accounting
  • How to account for derivatives?
  • How to measure fair value?
  • How to expense stock options?
  • How to account for rises and losses in pensions?
  • What constitutes “real” earnings?
  • Pressure for non-profits to conform to Sarbanes-Oxley standards
relationship to other topics accounting in some way influences the following

Government Agencies

Mergers & Acquisitions

Decision Making

Relationship to Other TopicsAccounting in some way influences the following: