Top Basic Accounting Principles

There are four basic accounting principles, four accounting assumptions,and four accounting constraints in accounting rules that businesses use to record and report their financial information.

These set of rules is called GAAP

(Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)

and are issued by the FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board).

GAAPS is the foundation we use to help in handling the different accounting issues we face as business owners.

These rules are guidelines to help us make our financial presentations more consistent, comparable, meaningful, and informative.

4 Basic Accounting Principles:

  1. The Historical Cost Principle

    This principle states that we are required to record most of our assets at their original costs with no adjustments for increases in market value. This accounting principle makes sure we don’t put our own perceived value on our assets.

  2. The Revenue Recognition Principle

    This accounting principle is the basis for accrual accounting.  It requires us to record revenue when the goods have been sold or the service has been provided.

  3. The Matching Principle

    This basic accounting principle requires us to use accrual accounting also. It requires us to match our expenses with our revenues. A very common example of this accounting principle is to report employees’ wages in the week the employees worked not in the week they are paid.

  4. The Disclosure Principle

    This accounting principle requires us to disclose all pertinent financial information about our business in an understandable form. This information is presented in the main body of our financial statements, in the footnotes of our financial statements, or as supplementary information.

Four Accounting Assumptions:

There would be no way to cover all the principles, assumptions, and constraints that make up GAAPS on this one page, but I did want to mention a few assumptions that I think are very important to our small businesses…

  1. The Business or Economic Entity Assumption

    This assumption requires us as small business owners to keep all of our business transactions separate from our personal transactions. One of the first things you should do when you start your small business is open up a business checking account and only use it to pay and record all of your business transactions.

  2. Monetary Assumption

    This assumption requires us to record and present all business transactions in a monetary unit such as the dollar.

  3. Time Period Assumption

    This accounting principle assumes that all of our business operations can be recorded and separated in to different time periods such as months, quarters, and years.

  4. Going Concern Assumption

    Assumes that our business will continue operating and will not be closed or sold in the foreseeable future.

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