Apr 24, 2023

Defining Common Accounting Terms


For many business owners, the world of accounting can be a bit intimidating. Filled with numbers, reports, and specialized jargon, it can be challenging to decipher the essential accounting terms and concepts you need to know to run your business effectively. This blog post will break down some common accounting terms, so you can navigate your business’s finances with confidence.

  1. Assets

Assets are everything your business owns that has monetary value. They can be tangible (like property or equipment) or intangible (like patents or trademarks). Assets are essential for generating revenue and can be divided into two categories: current and non-current (or fixed) assets. Current assets are items that can be easily converted into cash within a year (such as inventory), while non-current assets are long-term investments that can’t be quickly liquidated (like real estate).

  1. Liabilities

Liabilities are your company’s financial obligations or debts. Like assets, they can be divided into current and non-current liabilities. Current liabilities are short-term debts that must be paid within a year, such as accounts payable or short-term loans. Non-current liabilities are long-term debts that don’t need to be paid off within a year, like mortgages or long-term loans.

  1. Equity

Equity represents the owner’s residual interest in a company’s assets after liabilities have been deducted. In simpler terms, it’s the value of ownership in a business. Equity can be affected by various factors, such as retained earnings, additional investments, or the sale of ownership shares.

  1. Revenue

Revenue, or sales, refers to the income generated from your business’s primary operations, like selling products or providing services. Revenue is essential because it’s the lifeblood of your company and the primary source of cash inflows. You can calculate your revenue by multiplying the number of units sold by the price per unit.

  1. Expenses

Expenses are the costs incurred while running your business. They can be fixed (rent, salaries, insurance) or variable (utilities, raw materials, shipping). To calculate your company’s profit, you’ll need to subtract expenses from revenue.

  1. Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable is the money owed to your business by customers who have received your products or services on credit. These outstanding invoices represent a claim against your customers and are considered a short-term asset. Managing accounts receivable is crucial for maintaining a healthy cash flow.

  1. Accounts Payable

Accounts payable represents the money your business owes to suppliers or vendors for goods and services received on credit. These outstanding bills are considered a short-term liability. Timely management of accounts payable is crucial for maintaining good relationships with suppliers and avoiding late fees or penalties.

  1. General Ledger

The general ledger is a comprehensive record of all your business’s financial transactions. It serves as the foundation for preparing financial statements and helps you keep track of your company’s financial health. The general ledger includes accounts for assets, liabilities, equity, revenue, and expenses.

  1. Financial Statements

Financial statements are formal records of your business’s financial activities. They provide an overview of your company’s performance and include three main components: the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. These statements allow you to assess your company’s financial health and make informed decisions about its future.


Understanding these common accounting terms is crucial for business owners looking to gain a better grasp of their business’s financial situation. By familiarizing yourself with these concepts, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions and ensure your company’s long-term success. Remember, if you’re ever unsure about your business’s finances, it’s always best to consult with a professional accountant or accounting team for guidance.